Weird Cloud ‘Coils’ Captured by Earth-Observing Satellite

by Nancy Atkinson on March 28, 2013

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Coil-like shapes in clouds, created by their passage over the Prince Edward Islands in the south Indian Ocean. Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS.

Coil-like shapes in clouds, created by their passage over the Prince Edward Islands in the south Indian Ocean. Credit: NASA/Terra/MODIS.

These are some of the strangest looking clouds I’ve seen from the fleet of Earth-observing satellites. These coil-like or bow-wave-shaped clouds were created by the clouds passing over the Prince Edward Islands, in the south Indian Ocean. It was taken by the Terra satellite with the MODIS instrument (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on March 26, 2013.

Update: Vitaliy Egorov from the Russian website has sent us an animation of these coil clouds as seen by the Russian satellite Elektro-L:

Animation is made up of 17 frames made satellite “Electro-L” from 12:30 to 20:30 GMT March 26, 2013 at 1 frame per 30 minutes. Photo: Roscosmos / NTSOMZ / Electro-L /

The images are taken from a different angle than the Terra satellite. You can see more at Egorov’s website.

NASA says MODIS is playing a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our environment.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Kevin Frushour March 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM


Aqua4U March 28, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Some 1,200 miles (1,900 km) southeast of Cape Town with lots of rain and wind… no wonder? But that _is_ an interesting image! Reflexive pressure gradient pulsations?

Bill McLaughlin March 28, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Jason Kurant March 29, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Isn’t that a standing wave?

Patrick Donnelly March 29, 2013 at 6:06 AM

Standing waves … err .. stand. They would be over the island, but this persists long after. It seems to have memory, which is absurd.

David Henderson March 29, 2013 at 3:45 AM

Something is going on. All this strange clouds and other things in the sky that have never been seen before.

grant March 29, 2013 at 12:22 AM

HAARP!! Geo engineering Chemtrails.

Are you people serious.

Patrick Donnelly March 29, 2013 at 6:04 AM

Electricity keeps the layers in the atmosphere separated?

JustJimBean March 29, 2013 at 9:28 AM

That’s pretty awesome.

icepack March 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM

imo, there is a mountain peak, where the “waves” start. it is a air-ocean. similar dropping a stone into a lake.

Maksim Kakitsev March 29, 2013 at 4:14 PM

They are gravity waves, left in the wake of the Marion island:
Here are similar gravity waves from another island:

Leigh Schuttler March 29, 2013 at 5:49 PM

That’s what I was thinking……..are you the only other person on here who has thought of that??

Renee Lucinda Summerton March 30, 2013 at 4:19 AM

I also thought so….

Me March 30, 2013 at 1:52 AM

I started off my 1st yr in collage in meteorology. I have never ever in my 35 yrs. observing weather, seen this cloud formation before. Although it has not been my work for yrs.. I do dabble w/weather. Coils of all things. Awesome!

tashad March 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Geo engerneering chemtrails its not strange to those of us who are sprayed on a regular basis there killing us and the earth

Joseph A Blanchard March 30, 2013 at 6:33 PM

alot of people know what this is but for people who dont look into it. we have been watching these things planet wide create storm that destroy homes..who know what they are doing with that much power and how it effected people

Sharath March 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM


Danilo Il Padrino March 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Why do people sleep? The GEO-ENGINEERING climate is real !

Jeff Riddle March 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM

This is an energy vortex ,connected to the event and the golden age

Patrik Repka April 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Jaren Kamerer April 4, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Look into H.A.A.R.P and NEXRAD for the answers to this “mystery”. It is all part of an elaborate global weather modification/defense project. Project Cloverleaf.

sh April 5, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Yep, geo-engineering with f. e. scalar-technologie. 100 years ago this has been a special event, but nowadays we have it daily.

“Special shapes of clouds are described for some time. They arise from a variety of fronts, atmospheric disturbances, or special configurations. Characteristic way, figure 23 was taken during a partial solar eclipse in May 1900 in Potsdam (DE):”

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: