Rare 'rainbow UFO' clouds spotted floating over Aberdeenshire skies

Nacreous clouds over north-east provide skywatchers with amazing light show.

Rainbow Clouds: Nacreous clouds could bee seen as far as Inverness.
Keith McClelland

These mysterious, iridescent clouds are often mistaken for UFOs when they form high in the earth's atmosphere, but this is not the sign of an alien invasion.

The incredible technicoloured light show was created by nacreous cloud formations, sometimes known as mother-of-pearl clouds.

The rare phenomenon, viewed by hundreds in the north-east skies on Sunday, provided a vibrant and colourful light show which left many staring up to the sky in awe.

The event is triggered by the diffraction of light through tiny ice particles that are blasted some 20 miles up into the stratosphere by strong winds.

The unusual sight, last seen in the area over a decade ago, could be seen as far away as Inverness.

Keith McClelland, who lives in Kirkhill, Inverness said: "I have never seen anything like it. It was weird, like petrol on water, with the rainbow effect that you get but in the sky.

"When I woke up at 8am I thought that there was something wrong with my eyes but I called my wife to have a look and we went out to take pictures.

"We wondered what on earth it was. We have been to the Arctic Circle so we have seen strange phenomena in the sky before.

"We didn’t think it was a UFO, like some people did, but we did think it was incredibly strange."

STV weatherman Sean Batty explained: "They are seen in the winter months but they are very rare, especially here.

"They form in the stratosphere due to tiny ice crystals; moisture that has entered when a strong wind pushes air up mountains. These ice crystals are blasted up, which creates the rainbow effect."

According to Sean, nacreous clouds are most visible shortly after sunset or before dawn when they blaze unbelievably bright with slowly shifting iridescent colours.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.