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Weird Cloud ‘Coils’ Captured by Earth-Observing Satellite

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 allmars.net 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 / allmars.net.

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 currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kevin Frushour March 28, 2013, 8:26 PM


  • Aqua4U March 28, 2013, 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, 10:44 PM
  • Jason Kurant March 29, 2013, 12:03 AM

    Isn’t that a standing wave?

    • Patrick Donnelly March 29, 2013, 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, 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, 12:22 AM

    HAARP!! Geo engineering Chemtrails.

    Are you people serious.

  • Patrick Donnelly March 29, 2013, 6:04 AM

    Electricity keeps the layers in the atmosphere separated?

  • JustJimBean March 29, 2013, 9:28 AM

    That’s pretty awesome.

  • icepack March 29, 2013, 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, 4:14 PM

    They are gravity waves, left in the wake of the Marion island: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_wave
    Here are similar gravity waves from another island: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wave_cloud.jpg

  • Leigh Schuttler March 29, 2013, 5:49 PM

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

  • Me March 30, 2013, 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, 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, 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, 6:42 PM


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

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

  • Jeff Riddle March 31, 2013, 12:53 PM

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

  • Patrik Repka April 2, 2013, 10:28 PM
  • Jaren Kamerer April 4, 2013, 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, 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):” http://sheepalert.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/100-jahre-wolken-und-chemtrails-heute