Happy Valentine’s Day

This heart-shaped atmospheric apparition is a lenticular cloud captured over the mountains of New Zealand. As you can see in the companion video, the cloud itself remains stationary over the mountain. This is a key feature of lenticular clouds, which form when air flowing over/around an obstacle drops below the dew point. This causes moisture in the air to condense for a time before it descends and warms once more. Thus, even though air is continuously flowing past, what we see is a stationary, lens-shaped cloud. Happy Valentine’s Day from FYFD!  (Image credit: M. Kunze, video; via APOD)

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