Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Aliens over Al Ain? Residents spot rarely seen 'fallstreak hole'

Also known as a hole punch cloud, it is often attributed to UFOs

The fallstreak, or punch hole cloud, appeared above the skies in Al Ain on Sunday morning. Experts say it has not been seen in the UAE for a decade. Courtesy: David
The fallstreak, or punch hole cloud, appeared above the skies in Al Ain on Sunday morning. Experts say it has not been seen in the UAE for a decade. Courtesy: David

A rare cloud sometimes mistaken for an alien invasion was sighted over Al Ain on Sunday.

The fallstreak hole, also known as a hole punch cloud, is a large circular gap that forms in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.

The unusual phenomenon happens when supercool droplets that have not yet frozen mix with ice crystals caused by planes passing through the cloud.

The ice crystals then start to fall, causing water droplets around them to evaporate. This process leaves a large hole in the cloud.

The sky above Al Ain sometimes has interesting views, unusual or dramatic types of clouds, so we pay a bit of attention to what is going on above us

David, Al Ain resident

Although science has already answered the question of what a fallstreak hole is, because of their rarity and unusual appearance, they are often attributed to unidentified flying objects.

The cloud that appeared over Al Ain early on Sunday was pictured and shared by residents living in the city.

Resident David, who did not want to give his full name, saw the cloud at around 7.30am when he was walking his son to school.

“I knew what it was,” David, who shared his picture with the Cloud Appreciation Society Facebook group, told The National.

“The sky above Al Ain sometimes has interesting views, unusual or dramatic types of clouds, so we pay a bit of attention to what is going on above us."

He said the cloud started to disappear after about 15 minutes.

Sharjah astronomer and meteorologist Ebrahim Al Jarwan said the phenomenon has not been seen in the UAE for a decade.

“It can stays for two hours but generally it lasts between half an hour to one hour,” he said.

The cloud was seen in Al Ain and neighbouring Buraimi in Oman.

Updated: March 19, 2019 02:31 PM

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