UFO-like cloud seen in the sky in Turkey - Here's how it formed

The brilliant color is all thanks to the timing of the image being captured.
Ameya Paleja
UFO shaped cloud
UFO shaped cloud

A flying saucer-like cloud was seen in the sky over Bursa in Turkey last week. Even if, at first glance, it appeared like an alien spacecraft was about to make a landing, there is a reasonably good explanation for what really happened, The Washington Post reported. Before we get to the why, let's look at what happened.

At first glance, the cloud appears like an unidentified flying object looking for space to land on the planet. The imagery is pretty dramatic, and with the right background, the score could make for an excellent introduction seen in an alien-themed movie.

Naturally, the video went viral on social media, and some even began questioning the legitimacy of the image if it were doctored in some way. However, even in this age of image filters, this is a perfectly natural occurrence, referred to as a lenticular cloud, and was captured without any filters. We know this since we have multiple sources capturing the images, and they all look the same.

The location of the cloud formation

Before we get into the details of a lenticular cloud and its formation, we need to understand the topography of the location where it was seen. Bursa is located about 50 miles (80 km) south of the capital city of Istanbul and across the Sea of Marmara. It is also located at the foothills of Mount Uludag, which stands tall at 8,343 feet (2,542 m).

Peculiar cloud formations are a common sight when there is a high-rising structure, such as a mountain. Even the nearly 1,400 feet high Rock of Gibraltar at the southwestern tip of Europe is known to cause some uniquely shaped clouds.

The dramatic cloud sighting in Turkey

However dramatic, the sighting in Turkey is a textbook example of a lenticular cloud. A lenticular cloud is a stationary cloud that usually forms in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere, typically in parallel to the wind direction.

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Under normal circumstances, the layers of a lenticular cloud remain separated. However, when a large obstacle such as Mount Uludag is present where these clouds form, the air from the lower layers can be pushed upward, losing the perfectly layered structure of the cloud.

Even though lenticular clouds appear to remain stationary, they are formed in windy environments. The circular puck-like shapes is formed due to air being pushed upwards due to the mountain, and after the cloud passes over the obstruction, the effect does disappear.

The cloud looks so spectacular because it formed earlier in the day and caught the sunlight before Sun came above the horizon. Similar cloud formations can be over the Rockies, Andes, and even in the eastern U.S..

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