Feather-Shaped Cloud Appears In Northwest China
We all love watching the skies during a nice sunny day with some intermittent clouds, because we can let our imagination roam free while searching for hidden meanings in those fluffy tufts of mist. When we were kids, we used to find stuff like bears and hearts, but it seems that the people over in the north west of China always find the most unusual shapes!
Citizens from China’s Xi’an city had quite a pleasant surprise in the sky above them when they noticed a cloud shaped like a massive feather! The people gasped in admiration, saying that it is like an angel’s feather falling from the sky.
Knowing the technology that we have today, we think it is pretty safe to say that the phenomenon was caused by the trail of a jet plane. Those are called contrails, line-shaped clouds produced by aircraft engine exhaust, typically at aircraft cruise altitudes several miles above the Earth's surface. Contrails are composed primarily of water, in the form of ice crystals.
Depending on the temperature and humidity at the altitude the contrails form, they may be visible for only a few seconds or minutes, or may persist for hours and spread to be several miles wide, eventually resembling natural cirrus or altocumulus clouds. Persistent contrails are of particular interest to scientists because they increase the cloudiness of the atmosphere.