A mystical and rare cloud formation appeared in the sky of Wonthaggi, in the Gippsland area of Victoria, Australia on Monday, November 3, at approximately 1:00pm. The unusual cloud is actually known as a “Fallstreak Hole” or cloud punch holes.

The cloud was infused with color, taking the shape of a hole in the sky. The scene surprised and bewildered spectators on the ground, and caused a flurry of concern on social media, some describing the formation as ‘rapture’ clouds. Social media users made a storm of posts to talk about the event, and to theorize what the cloud was.

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On twitter, Cameron Thornton asked: What’s going on over Wongthaggi?

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Posted by Cameron Thornton on Twitter.

Scientifically, the reason for this phenomenon is, as the Tech Times reported:

“This rare cloud formation occurs when water droplets in clouds freeze into ice crystals, then start to fall. A gap created in the clouds allows sunshine to pass through, which is refracted and reflected among ice crystals and creates a rainbow.”

Michael Efron, of the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, told Fairfax Media:

“It looks like a fallstreak cloud, also known as a punch hole cloud. They form when the water temperature in the cloud is below freezing, but the water has not yet frozen due to a lack of ice nucleation particles. In this case, when the water does start to freeze, it falls down to the surface … so you’re left with this cloud surrounding it, this clear area.”

The first photos of the rare phenomenon were reported by ABC audience members, who posted many pictures on their social media profiles. But soon, various websites reported the event with more photos and sometimes supernatural theories to explain them.

Here are some of the photos of the Fallstreak Hole as shared by ABC audience members:

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The Fallstreak Hole captured over Moe. (Audience Submitted: Lori Leskie)

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The Fallstreak Hole as seen from Trafalgar. (Audience submitted: Jan Eriksson)

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(Audience Submitted: Nancy Waddington)

Under the hashtag: #weirdrainbow, 3AW Melbourne posted the following photo, saying how it’s resemblant of the spaceships in popular film “Independence Day.”

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Maximo also posted the following image on Twitter:

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Tim Smith posted another one on Twitter as well:

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On Phillip Island, Ben Stewart, IT consultant from Melbourne, was spending time with his family when they suddenly saw the bizarre cloud formation in the sky. Stewart told Daily Mail Australia that they stood staring at the sky for some time, trying to discover what it was. He described the scene:

“We just looked up and there was this thing that looked like something out of Independence Day. Other people spotted it as well, and most of the theories as to what caused it had to do with an aircraft or helicopter, definitely man-made.

One of my friends did say in jest that it was the rapture. It definitely looked out-of-place in the sky. I guess now we’re all just waiting for the mothership to come.”

Clouds inclosing the hole were located just over three miles above the ground, according to Tech Times. Frequently, these clouds are initiated by airplanes flying through clouds, because propellers or wings of aircraft may lead to such shapes.

The Daily Mail reported that there have been other recent sightings of Fallstreak Hole clouds, with one forming over Perth in early October. The same cloud formation appeared over Northern California last May, causing a lot of noise about UFO’s and related conspiracies.

During an interview with Perth Now, a spokesman from the Bureau of Meteorology talked about the cloud formation, saying:

“It doesn’t occur often so it’s no surprise that it’s causing quite a stir.”

PerthNow on Twitter posted the following image too:

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You can watch a short Video, posted online by Jason Prekop on his YouTube, of the fallstreak hole:

More information about Fallstreak Holes can be found on Wikipedia.

Sources:

(1) ABC

(2) NOAA

(3) Science Magazine

(4) News.com.au