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Look - up in the sky! It's a...lenticular cloud?

April 24, 2008 | 12:01 am


Yep, that UFO-shaped swirl is, in fact, a cloud. Reader Richard Kaufman, an elementary science teacher in Irvine, shot the photo while on a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his wife. (She spotted the cloud, he snapped the pix.)

Occasionally mistaken for space ships, lenticular clouds actually have a fascinating bit of science behind them, having to do with mountains, moisture content and air flow.  They've also got a very cool name: altocumulus standing lenticularis. More great pix of lenticular clouds here.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Richard Kaufman / Your Scene