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This is a rare meteorological phenomenon called a skypunch. When people see these, they think it's the end of the world. Ice crystals form above the high-altitude cirro-cumulo-stratus clouds, then fall downward, punching a hole in the cloud cover.

*The phenomenon, called a Sun-dog, happens when ice crystals appear in clouds and refract the sun's rays.

Cloud spiral in the sky. An Iridescent (Rainbow) Cloud in Himalaya. The phenomenon was observed early morning on October 18, 2009

Exactly why you should not stand under a tree in the rain. Wow - the lightning strike follows all the way along the roots... we've had a lot of lightning here in Houston the past two weeks. Glad I wasn't hanging out under that tree at the bus stop.

thesmithian: …frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures…forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef…

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Lost In History on

Cloud types--for my meteorological friends.

Last June after a stormy night, the residents of Regina in Canada woke up to a super rare cloud formation called the mammatus phenomenon.