Lenticular cloud formations, seen over Rocky Mountain Natural Park in Colorado, are tinted brilliant colors due to the setting sun in early January. These clouds are characterized by their smooth, symmetrical oval or round shapes, and because of this, are often referred to as “flying saucer” or “UFO” clouds.
When moist, quickly moving air is pushed upwards by winds, these lenticular clouds are formed. These formations only occur in mountain ranges, as in the mountain’s higher altitude, the moist air’s water droplets cool and expand, and the water vapor condenses. The air then proceeds over the mountain top and descends to uniformly humid air conditions.
Photographer Richard H. Hahn stated, “the significance of this particular atmospheric event was the dramatic shape and color of the cloud. It really did look like the ‘mother ship’ UFO. It was ominous and breathtaking.”