Citizens in the seaside town of Wonthaggi, Australia were treated to a terrifying sight on 3 November when they awoke to find a cloud formation unlike any other they'd seen before.
The circular oval-shaped formation reminded almost all the residents of just one thing: Independence Day.
With the circular disc seemingly rising out from the rest of the cloud the rainbow-crested object looked almost certain to produce a giant alien craft.
Twitter quickly became awash with concerned messages declaring either the rapture had started or that aliens had finally arrived.
— M McKenzie-Murray (@feed_the_chooks) November 3, 2014
Photo: Looks like the end of the world is currently happening in Wonthaggi, Australia… http://t.co/r93EHwhWyM— Maximo (@maximosis) November 3, 2014
Thankfully despite a barrage of concerned tweets from local citizens, the cloud was in fact a harmless -- albeit rare -- occurrence known as a fallstreak cloud.
Meteorologist Michael Efron explained to local media the cause of these strange clouds:
"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."Suggest a correction