People tend to freak out and sometimes come up with wild theories when they see bizarre things in the sky. This is what happened when a gap in the clouds formed above Wonthaggi in Victoria, Australia on the afternoon of Nov. 3.
Residents took photos of the large rainbow-filled hole in the clouds that some people have been calling "rapture cloud" since it emerged before 1 p.m. Netizens, like Michelle Hawkins, posted an image of it on social media.
People formed different ideas about what the rarely seen formation was. Some thought it had something to do with alien life, while others believed it could be a sign of the end of the world. There were also those who attributed the odd phenomenon to wormholes and the government manipulating the weather.
Some residents described the cloud formation as something that reminded them of Will Smith's Independence Day movie.
"We just looked up and there was this thing that looked like something out of Independence Day," said Ben Stewart, an I.T. consultant from Melbourne. He was with his family on Philip Island about 140 km south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, when they saw the odd cloud formation.
Stewart related that he and his family stared at the clouds for a while, trying to determine what the strange formation was. Stewart said that he has seen unusual weather patterns many times before as he was growing up in Northern Victoria, but the formation was among the more bizarre.
"One of my friends did say in jest that it was the rapture," he said. "It definitely looked out of place in the sky. I guess now we're all just waiting for the mothership to come."
It appears, though, that there's no reason for people to worry about an alien invasion or the end of the world. The formation is not a UFO or a sign that the world is coming to an end.
Michael Efron from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology says that the formation appears to be a fallstreak cloud, also called a punch hole cloud. It forms when the water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but has not yet frozen because there is not enough 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," Efron explained. He also said that the phenomenon can be triggered by an aircraft that flies through the area.