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Did 'Cloud Angel' Appear After Pope's Selection?

Experts may have a more earthly explanation

(WPTV/Facebook)

Some South Florida residents thought they witnessed a miraculous sign from above on Wednesday, when a cloud bearing a striking resemblance to an angel appeared shortly after a new pope was selected at the Vatican, according to WPTV in Florida. Many grabbed cameras to document the visage, snapping shots of the pink-hued cloud, which many WPTV viewers believed was a message from God.

Still, some experts think there's a more earthly explanation for the cloud phenomenon. NBC News spoke with Ian Loxley, photo gallery editor for the Cloud Appreciation Society, who explained, "It could be cirrus, if high enough; however, it appears to be lower than the background altocumulus, which is the teaser. My best shot would be a virga remnant from an aircraft contrail."

So, why do people think they saw an otherworldly shape in the cloud? As Alan Boyle, science editor for NBC News, explains, humans experience a type of pattern recognition known as pareidolia (a Greek word meaning "wrong shape"), meaning we are so prone to recognizing faces and other human patterns, that we often associate them to inanimate objects. Consider for a moment folks who see the face of Jesus in a piece of burnt toast or even the man in the moon.

As for whether the cloud is a virga remnant or a sign of God's approval of a pope's selection -- well, we'll leave that to the eye of the beholder.

RELATED ON SKYE: What Creatures Do You See in These Clouds?

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Veteran

Ya, it's an Angel... only if you took LOTS of acid in the 60's.

August 05 2013 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Luvzsocal

Many grabbed cameras to document the visage, snapping shots of the pink-hued cloud...
Where are the other shots?
Are is this the only photo shopped one they have?

July 31 2013 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Luvzsocal

Many grabbed cameras to document the visage, snapping shots of the pink-hued cloud...
Where are the other pictures?
Just this photo shopped one?

July 31 2013 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nick

Somebody tell this Alan Boyle idiot, there are other pictures much better than this picture. I've seen many clouds that look exactly like angels. It's amazing how these "skeptics" discredit people by giving freaking psychological names to the phenomena. WE KNOW GOD EXISTS AND NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU STUPID SKEPTICS LIKE TO DISCREDIT PEOPLE, YOU WILL BURN UP IN GOD'S WRATH

May 13 2013 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Velocity105

Yeah BS. That's not an airplane contrail remnant, it's too close to the ground and exhaust plumes from jets usually disperse in just a few minutes. This one is really something different and at an odd time. It will be interesting to see the behavior and accomplishments of the new Pope after such a phenomenon.

March 17 2013 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spidermanamii

Its just a gas trail! Get over it!

March 17 2013 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
agnesharasymyk

beautiful picture for sure

March 16 2013 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
agnesharasymyk

beautiful picture anyway!!!!

March 16 2013 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sherryalv

I'm in awe of god's!!

March 16 2013 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
barry_edmund

Yes we are in our last days with false prophecy.

March 16 2013 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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