British people have spotted some strange multicoloured clouds in the sky

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Rare Nacreous Clouds in Britain
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British people have spotted some strange multicoloured clouds in the sky
REDCAR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence can be seen in high-level Nacreous clouds above a fisherman's hut in an area known as South Gare on February 2, 2016 in Redcar, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals in the clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence can be seen in high-level Nacreous clouds above fishing boats in an area known as South Gare on February 2, 2016 in Redcar, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals in the clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: A man stands on top of a hill as ice particle iridescence is seen in high-level Nacreous clouds on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence can be seen in high-level Nacreous clouds above industrial works on Teesside on February 2, 2016 in Redcar, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals in the clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence can be seen in high-level Nacreous clouds above lobster pots stored in an area known as South Gare on February 2, 2016 in Redcar, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals in the clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence can be seen in high-level Nacreous clouds above the former SSI Steel blast furnace on February 2, 2016 in Redcar, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals in the clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence is seen in high-level Nacreous clouds visible over the pier on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence is seen in high-level Nacreous clouds visible over cliffs on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: A man stands on top of a hill as ice particle iridescence is seen in high-level Nacreous clouds on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: The bow of a fishing boat is seen against ice particle iridescence visible in high-level Nacreous clouds on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Ice particle iridescence is seen in high-level Nacreous clouds visible over cliffs on February 02, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, England. The rare effect is caused by the diffraction of sunlight in the ice crystals that form the Nacreous clouds at high altitudes. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Birds fly near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, beneath rare Nacreous clouds on the coastline.
Birds fly near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, beneath rare Nacreous clouds on the coastline.
Two ships out in the North Sea near Whitley Bay, Northumberland, as rare Nacreous clouds form over the coastline.
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LONDON — If you happen to have looked up into the sky recently and spotted strange patterns of shifting colors, don't panic — the weird bodies of lights appearing above Britain aren't UFOs, they're nacreous clouds.

The Met Office took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to share an image taken by Lea Harris of the sky over Edinburgh, UK.


Harris wasn't the only one to spot the unusual clouds.






So what exactly are nacreous clouds, anyway?

According to the Met Office, they're basically clouds that have been lit up with luminous light from below. The clouds are usually found in Northern countries during polar winter when the sun is hanging low in the sky, and their rainbow-like appearance has earned them the nickname "mother of pearl clouds".













Mashable has reached out to the Met Office for more information on the clouds' appearance over Britain, and we will update this article when we receive a response.

UPDATED 16:45 2 FEBRUARY: The Met Office have contacted Mashable with more information about the clouds.

"Currently, we are able to catch sight of them because cold air which usually circulates around polar regions in the stratosphere (the stratospheric polar vortex) has been displaced from its usual position over the north pole to be over the UK," a Met Office spokesperson said.

"Our weather forecast models indicate the cold polar vortex will remain nearby for the next few days, so we should be able to see Nacreous Clouds when the skies are clear.

"The position of the vortex shifts towards the end of the week taking the coldest air, and the Nacreous Clouds, away from above the UK."

Beautiful Nacreous Clouds in Leicestershire, UK

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