Amazing pictures of an unusual cloud formation that was drifting over the horizon like ocean waves were captured by a skywatcher.
According to Rachel Gordon, who lives in the US state of Wyoming, she snapped the pictures from her parents’ back door. She later shared them on the Wyoming via The Lens Facebook page, where they quickly gained popularity.
On Tuesday, the community of Sheridan, Wyoming, was able to observe the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability event over the Big Horn Mountains.
The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability happens when two non-miscible surfaces are “moving” on top of one another at different speeds. It happens in the case of clouds when a quicker airflow passes over the rising air beneath. The natural formation bears the names of the scientists Hermann von Helmholtz and Lord Kelvin.
These clouds, sometimes known as fluctus clouds, are thought to have inspired Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night, among other works.
You can see more photos of the phenomenon here.
According to Matt Taylor of BBC Weather, one of the things that makes Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds so beautiful is that they clearly demonstrate the mobility of the environment.
How the atmosphere moves and reacts to its surroundings, much like ocean waves do. In essence, the air is ascending and toppling over.