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HomeScienceRare ‘hole in the sky’ pictured over British town

Rare ‘hole in the sky’ pictured over British town

Rare ‘hole in the sky’ pictured over British town
Rare ‘hole in the sky’ pictured over British town
The fallstreak hole was snapped over Shepton Mallet in Somerset. (Credits: Jason Bryant / Apex)

A rare hole in the sky has been pictured over a British town.

Known as a fallstreak hole or cavum hole, it was snapped over Shepton Mallet in Somerset this week.

It is a large gap usually circular or elliptical that can appear in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.

These so-called holes are formed when water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water, in a supercooled state, has not frozen yet due to the lack of ice nucleation.

When ice crystals do form, a domino effect is set off due to the Bergeron process (the process by which precipitation is initiated in a mixed cloud with temperature below freezing), causing the water droplets around the crystals to evaporate leaving a large, often circular, hole in the cloud.

The cavum hole over Somerset
The holes are formed when water temperature in the clouds is below freezing but the water, in a supercooled state, has not frozen yet (Credits: Jason Bryant / Apex)

The result, as you can see from these pictures, is quite photogenic.