Hole Punch Cloud – Not UFO – Spotted over Moscow | Meteorology News

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Hole Punch Cloud – Not UFO – Spotted over Moscow

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A rare cloud formation was spotted over Moscow this week, inciting widespread discussion of UFO sightings throughout the city – concerns which spread across the globe instantly via the internet.  The British tabloid The Sun reported as a “Mystery UFO Halo” over Moscow although it was likely simply an interesting phenomenon created by planes flying through layers of thin high-altitude clouds.

A "hole punch cloud" as seen over Moscow last week.  Such clouds are rare and awe-inspiring as their cause is still somewhat mysterious.

A "hole punch cloud" as seen over Moscow last week. Such clouds are rare and awe-inspiring as their cause is still somewhat mysterious.

Hole punch clouds are often attention-grabbers, as they are relatively rare.  When they do form, they tend to persist and are large enough to be seen for miles around.

The foundation of a hole punch cloud is traditionally a mid- or high-altitude cloud type such as cirrus or cirro-stratus.  Such clouds generally form above 20,000 feet or so in the atmosphere.  The National Weather Service has explained that such clouds are frequently composed of both ice crystals and super-cooled water droplets – water that is below the freezing temperature but still exists in liquid form.  When such a delicate balance occurs, only a slight disruption of this delicate balance may lead to a striking result.

This hole punch cloud is a particularly vibrant example of both the foundational cloud form and the evaporation of the water droplets in the surrounding environment.  Some hold punch clouds are even referred to as "crop circles in the sky."

This hole punch cloud is a particularly vibrant example of both the foundational cloud form and the evaporation of the water droplets in the surrounding environment. Some hold punch clouds are even referred to as "crop circles in the sky."

A hole punch cloud photographed over Alabama in 2003.  Photo Source:  Gary Beeler, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama.

A hole punch cloud photographed over Alabama in 2003. Photo Source: Gary Beeler, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama.

Frequently, the ice crystals may slowly grow and expand at the expense of the liquid droplets.  But when the balance is disrupted, the droplets may freeze instantly and thus permit the liquid droplets in the environment to evaporate, resulting in a “hole” in the cloud.

Another hole punch cloud, this one photographed over Colorado in 2007.   Photo source:  Colorado Uerlings:  http://www.neatorama.com

Another hole punch cloud, this one photographed over Colorado in 2007. Photo source: Colorado Uerlings: http://www.neatorama.com

It is believed that a cloud may be disrupted in this manner when a a jet flies through the thin cloud layer.  Such a disruption may spur the quick freezing of liquid droplets and evaporation of other droplets.  This would create the void in the space in which the jet passed through the layer.

While the source of hole punch clouds may be somewhat uncertain, they are certain to cause quite a vigorous discussion.

UPDATE (10/19/09):  The cause of the Moscow hole punch cloud may have been discovered:  cloud seeding.  See Moscow Testing Cloud Seeding; Promises Winter Without Snow.

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48 Comments

  1. the moscow hole punch cloud is not the normal type of hole punch cloud that you find and even then is there a normal type? when looking around the net i have found photos of many different types including a pentagram, cigar shapes, chains of these attached together.

    the other thing is the moscow ufo or halo cloud started off as a true hole punch cloud would not someone in that city have noticed it or mentioned it? hole punch clouds or fallstreak holes start off as a hole in the sky. the moscow hole punch cloud does not appear to.

    so the real question is how was the moscow hole punch cloud formed into a doughnut shape? the meteorology explanation is only an idea, it is not a fact and no one really knows how they are formed. what science tells us makes no sense. how do they form pentagrams (http://www.xearththeory.com/punch_hole_clouds_fallstreak_holes.html) and oblongs?
    was the doughnut shape created by whatever creates a normal hole punch cloud but this time it was seen in a different form. does this show that the meteorology explanation for the moscow hole punch cloud is not correct.

    please can someone on this site explain how all the different shapes are formed and especially the doughnut shape? it is an interesting test case for the standard theory :) the proof of a good theory is that it can explain most related things.

    that same website has a webpage (http://www.xearththeory.com/how_why_what_are_punch_hole_clouds_fallstreak_holes.html) that has a very different idea which seems to be that the ice particles are not the cause but an effect, a by product of what actually creates the hole punch clouds

    all ideas need to be considered and it would be good to have a weather person give their thoughts on this

  2. please fine the latest news about moscow sky hole

  3. what hole? there was no hole in the moscow “hole punch cloud.” how bout those small things zipping out of the cloud? rare bird species that fly really fast?

  4. wow that is really cool. Where i am from (China) There aren’t many of these there.

  5. Last night my friend and husband saw a ringed shaped hole in the sky we did take a picture of it haven’t seen it yet and fear it was to dark. My friend commented that it looked like a crop circle. The animals were making lots of noise anyway I called the media to ask them about this and they said it was a circus cloud but are cloud wasn’t a band and you could see the moon but nothing else later when it was gone you could see other stuff that weren’t visble before. I am just trying to figure out what in the He** that was it isn’t anything I have ever seen before.

  6. I looked at the picture but only threw the view on the camera their seems to be a bunch of circular demintions going in a circle and then my battery died so I have to buy a new battery to view the picture again it’s very unusual the circles that I didn’t see with my naked eye are in the picture.

  7. Things changed. First in news when it happenedit was described as triangular in shape,and about a mile in breadth. The reports compared it to similar sightings of triangular shapes unexplained over Phoenix or somewhere out West. Then all has been quiet,,, no more have I heard of the mystery. no word even from Russian security, the report said…
    Reminds me of the contrails crossing the sky – even chris-scrossing FROM HORIZON TO HORIZON! What???
    High Roller Kutter, SJHR MC Texas

  8. [...] La chute des cristaux est parfois visible, sous forme de longs lambeaux fibreux. De tels nuages ne sont pas propres à une région géographique; ils ont été photographiés partout dans le monde. [...]

  9. All I can say is wow! Never seen such a cloud formation in my life, truly stunning! No wonder people thought it was a UFO!

    Weather Station Reviews

  10. I have a photo of two possibly three ‘punch hole’ clouds over the airport of Kotzebue, Alaska. I was lucky, as I just arrived by helicopter by Bering Air and pilot Terence Day, so I photographed them, not knowing they were as labeled, but indeed I thought them to be significant. William Sidmore

  11. Incidentally, there were no flights at that time as we were already on the ground for about thirty minutes and as I looked up, as I was waiting for my pilot in his meeting in the hanger, I saw these punch-holes develope in a very thin cloud structure. They were fascinating!

  12. I love how people refuse reality and try so hard to hold on to ridiculous theories and lambast those who embrace reality.

  13. This document was sposed to be informative but, alas, needs more detail.

  14. Actually observed a Hole Punch Cloud formation around 3:30 am in Columbia SC on Oct. 27, 201. To see a huge circle surround a full moon was awesome and spectacular but eerie. I didn’t think to record it because at the time I didn’t realize I was observing a rare phenomenon!

  15. “People all over Sacramento saw a UFO punch through the clouds and then disappear today. The official story? IT’S A PLANE. Missile? It’s a plane. UFO? It’s a plane. Everything is a plane!”

    Local News Story:
    http://www.kcra.com/weather/25977668/detail.html

    Pictures of Cloud Hole by witnesses:

    http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/5890/punchholedec12010sacram.jpg
    http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/5890/punchholedec12010sacram.jpg
    http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/5890/punchholedec12010sacram.jpg
    http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/5890/punchholedec12010sacram.jpg

  16. A small cluster of these occurred near the lower Potomac on Thursday evening, December 23rd; it was visible from the East, in Southern Maryland.
    I usually would foto this sort of thing, and I thought of stopping, but I didn’t know of the rarity. I saw these formations from some distance, so the outfall curtain (in profile) was more noticeable than the cloud hole. But the curtain was a lovely, sweeping plume which appeared to be denser at the periphery than centrally – which makes sense if it began as a focused center and proceeded outward.
    If anyone photographed these, please share!

  17. Suddenly this “phenomenon” appears. No such thing before these New World Order reptles started screwing with the weather with HAARP and ChemTrails and pretending starwar games with the dumb plate they built to supposedly find the time warp. These reptiles are WaRPED. I don’t believe a word of this nonsense! They’re trying to find new ways to collect taxes to siphon the money into their pockets.

  18. scalar weapons maybe?

  19. I saw this with a few friends.
    First we saw the clouds seem to part into a circle.
    Then what looked to be a plane maybe? not exactly but could have been.
    The wired thing is it dropped vertically for a while I mean straight down.
    Then it seemed more like the flight of a plane it flew level.
    It was really straight down not an illusion we all saw it.
    But just as it fell about 2000 ft. it went away from the area and then gone. We were talking and saying what the H$$L was that.
    Then before we noticed maybe a minute it was gone.
    Very strange and we have no idea what we saw.
    I do not believe in UFOs but we never did make out that it was a plane it looked different,
    I have never ever seen anything like that.

    David
    Ft Lauderdale FL,

  20. What are ‘supposedly’ the only things ‘we are supposed’ to find in our skies? BIrds, Planes, and Weather (cloud, wind, rain, etc).
    So of COURSE the media is going to tell the people it is one of those. Oh and weather balloons and meteors those are also to be found in our skies. They publish and promote such theories and explanations so that people will buy in and believe what they say. And question things no more. It’s a program, to control our beliefs and perspectives. To keep humanity’s consciousness in a box where they can manipulate people to their agendas.
    So many people seem to just believe whatever the media tells em because if it’s published by the media and so called scientists then it must be true.. well you folks are in for quite a wake up call when it becomes blatantly obvious to you that the picture of our world these programs (govt., media, entertainment, society) have painted, is an outright lie!

  21. I live close to Milwaukee & Chicago and I’ve seen these 2 or 3 times a year. Sometimes the circles are nearly perfect and other times a little deformed. Anyway they are beautiful.

  22. The Moscow cloud was indeed rare. Firstly it was photographed, as the replies abobe show many are seen when the camera is not available.

    The second rarity is that there was a warmer layer directly below the hole. This caused the central fallstreak to thaw back into water as the outer edges were still forming, resulting in a centre of cloud just below the main cloud, a doughnut ring of cleared cloud and the host cloud to form an interesting image.

  23. hello, they see my new video on youtube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTsCsaC2h1s
    thanks for looking

  24. The mechanism producing punch hole clouds, as described by science is correct, only jets are seldom associated with them. The earth gives off energy that continuosly changes the weather. Holes as well as lentilar clouds are caused by the same phenomenon, and often occur in the atmosphere above mountains and even over islands that lie below sea level! – Ancient Science and Cosmology by Gerhard Kemmerer.

  25. In regards to the different shapes, cigar, pentagon etc, these are formed by the natural dynamics of air, as well as the energy out of the earth, which competes for space producing sided shapes. For a visual representation of this activity look at photos of the surface of the sun and see the shapes of the ‘granules.’ gerhardsk@hotmail.com

  26. this blog is full of crap and misleading information.Airplanes causing this????????????Again, crap crap crap.

  27. It never fails; every time some sort of anomalous cloud formation gets photographed some idiot says that HAARP caused it. I’ll come a lot closer to believing the theories regarding UFOs causing these sky-holes than I ever will to believing that they are caused by HAARP. There is no HAARP. There are no such things as “chemtrails;” only first-graders make up such silly names for things. The correct word for the trails left by jet planes is CONTRAILS. They form when the warm exhaust from the planes’ engines gets exposed to the cold air aloft. Said warm exhaust quickly cools and condenses into cloud material. You’d get the same result from driving a car at those altitudes. HAARP is nothing but a conspiracy theory created by overly eco-friendly morons who are looking for something to scapegoat. My advice to people like zappoo Zaapa: don’t believe every stupid conspiracy theory you read, because most of them so ridiculous they could be featured subjects on Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!

    That being said, I’ve been a cloud photographer for about five years. I look forward to running across one of these exotic cloud formations.

  28. Uh alright Chessie girl, Go drink some fluoride and go back to sleep. Before you say such things do research and think for yourself. But first you actually have to research, turn off dancing with the stars and start seeking the truth!

  29. I am from New Zealand and the cloud punch holes are fairly common where I live, as are the UFO type lenticular clouds.

  30. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

  31. that one in moscow looks different from the examples they have given.

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