A mysterious cluster of lights have been spotted shining above skyscrapers by hundreds of residents who likened it to “UFOs” and “alien spaceships”.
Video widely shared on Chinese social media reveals the colourful lights in the partly cloudy night sky in Shenzhen, a major manufacturing hub in China‘s southern province of Guangdong, on Saturday, July 25.
The lights are of red, green and yellow hues, gathering in a shape reminiscent of a map.
A man can be heard behind the camera: “It really looks like a UFO.”
The clip has been viewed more than 140,000 times on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform.
Some residents commented under the post on the unusual phenomenon.
One said: “I’ve never seen this in Shenzhen. It could well be a UFO.”
“Could it be some sort of doomsday prediction?” a second asked. “It’s usually a bad sign, isn’t it?”
But experts from the local meteorological bureau have now identified the atmospheric phenomenon as light pillars, which usually occur in colder climates when light sources such as the sun, moon or street lights reflect off ice crystals suspended in the air.
The occurrence is particularly rare above the skies of tropical Shenzhen, which is currently experiencing daily temperature highs of up to 34C.
The Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau wrote on Weibo: “We call these ‘warm evening light pillars’. They form in strict conditions even more particular than regular light pillars.
“They require the absence of low-and medium-level clouds and the existence of only high-altitude clouds.
“They can be seen on evenings with high-humility, high atmospheric visibility, and low wind. There must also be ice crystals present.
“The absence of any one of the above conditions means they cannot exist.”