Insane Timelapse of a Rotating Supercell Looks Like an Alien Spaceship

Photographer and storm chaser Mike Olbinski has captured some incredible storm footage over the years (such as this apocalyptic haboob in Arizona in 2011.) But his latest timelapse was something he’s been chasing down for over four years: a rotating supercell. Mike lives in Arizona, where that type of storm doesn’t happen. But he regularly visits the US Central Plains and said on his website that he’s been hoping to capture footage of “clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth.”

To quote Mike again, “Boy, did we find it.”

On June 3, 2013 he and his team were following storms near Booker, Texas. “We chased this storm from the wrong side (north) and it took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side. And when we did…this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters.”

Watch it below:

It never turned into a tornado, thankfully.

The timelapse was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 lens.

Mike says:

It’s broken up into four parts. The first section ends because it started pouring on us. We should have been further south when we started filming but you never know how long these things will last, so I started the timelapse as soon as I could.

One thing to note early on in the first part is the way the rain is coming down on the right and actually being sucked back into the rotation. Amazing.

This video has gone viral, and unfortunately some sites aren’t crediting Mike as the photographer. But just to be clear, this is a Mike Olbinski original!

Read more on his website, and see more of his videos on his Vimeo page.

7 Replies to “Insane Timelapse of a Rotating Supercell Looks Like an Alien Spaceship”

  1. The headline for this article is so spot on. When I was staying with friends in southern central Kansas in May ’03. From about 15 to 20 miles way. It absolutely looks like a spinning alien space ship.

    As it gets closer with the correct lighting. It looked greenish in shade. And yes it sounds like a freight train, but deeper and heavier you can feel within your inner body the closer it got. In a service train depot not far from where they lived. It tossed 2 freight trains 100 feet from the tracks. It was a CAT-4.

  2. Very nice film, but when people in tornado alley describe a mesocyclone as a “flying saucer,” they really mean it. This doesn’t look very much like that.

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