A full moon illuminated large holes in the clouds over Alabama, leading some to speculate about an extraterrestrial cause.
“Aliens? Nope,” meteorologist Conley Isom said.
Photos show large, circular holes in the clouds, backlit by the light of the Nov. 27 full moon.
“They have opened the portal!” one person wrote on Facebook.
Meteorologist James Spann said he received lots of messages about the mysterious cloud formation, so he debunked the alien myths and explained that people were seeing fallstreak clouds, also known as hole punch clouds.
When planes pass through a cold patch of clouds, they bring ice crystals that cause water droplets to freeze and fall to the ground, according to the National Weather Service.
Circular or elliptical holes are left behind, and they can grow wider as more droplets begin to freeze and become too heavy to stay in the sky.
“This is nothing new… and really not that rare,” Spann said in a Facebook post. “The fallstreak hole (on Nov. 27) was easily seen thanks to (the) full moon above.”
The explanation that planes can create the holes didn’t ease some people’s minds.
“Triggered by small aircraft. Need you say more,” one person said.
Others compared it to a Marvel scene, the “Poltergeist” movie, or a religious event. Many responded with their own photos of the event, taken in Alabama and elsewhere.
“That’s just where mother ship was watching us,” another person wrote.
Some people weren’t joking about their disbelief of Spann’s meteorology explanation.
Spann took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to post a screengrab of a direct message that accused him of spreading lies about the fallstreak clouds.
Skygazers could also see a halo around the full moon, which is visible when light refracts off ice crystals in the sky, according to Space.com.