The bizarrely shaped lenticular clouds that form around mountain peaks can easily be mistaken for UFOs, but their underside can be just as “surreal,” according to a video shared by researchers.
Filmed on Mount Washington in northeast New Hampshire, it features a thick cloud cap sliding within reach of the ground, like a low-hanging ceiling.
The time-lapse was recorded from a window of the Mount Washington Observatory as sustained winds reached 55 mph, observatory officials said in a Nov. 10 Facebook post.
“Today we saw an exciting variety of lenticular and cap clouds in our area…usually a sign of turbulence and high wind speeds,” the observatory wrote.
Cap clouds and lenticular clouds form, according to the National Park Service, “when winds are driven up and over a topographical barrier, such as a mountain, that is oriented perpendicular to the wind direction.”
“Whereas cap clouds form directly over a mountain peak, lens clouds typically form on the leeward side of the mountain,” reports Ownyourweather.com.
“Cap clouds have a flat, dome-shaped shape, while lenticular clouds have a layered or stacked shape in the shape of a lens or saucer.”
The summit of Mount Washington stands at 6,288 feet and has a visibility of 130 miles on a clear day, reports New Hampshire State Parks.
The “private, non-profit” observatory at the top is known for recording weather extremes, including “the fastest surface wind speed ever recorded by humans: 231 miles per hour” in 1934.
The observatory’s video of the passing cloud has garnered 10,000 views and more than 1,200 reactions and comments, including people reporting that from a distance the clouds resemble an “incoming spacecraft.”
“Surreal! You can almost feel the pillowy cloud flowing over you in the video,” Judy Rowe posted on Facebook.
“Just reach up and touch the sky!” wrote Charlotte Lang.