Residents in a Chinese city have been shocked to spot a mysterious cluster of lights that resemble an illuminating UFO in the night sky.
Social media footage shows the colourful lights glowing above the skyscrapers on Saturday evening in China’s southern metropolitan city Shenzhen.
A stunned onlooker can be heard saying: ‘There is a UFO in the sky. This is so strange.’
Other local residents also rushed to share videos and images online, capturing the mysterious lights.
The unusual scene quickly became a trending topic on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, as curious social media users likened the cluster of lights to a shining UFO.
The illuminating dots can be seen beaming in shades of yellow, red and blue and gathering across the dark sky in a shape that is reminiscent of a map.
One commenter wrote: ‘It is definitely a UFO.’
Another one said: ‘It looks like some object is hiding behind the clouds with all those lights.’
But the local weather authorities later identified the strange scene as light pillars, an atmospheric optical phenomenon that occurs when natural or artificial light reflects off flat ice crystals in the air.
The officials said in a social media post: ‘We call these ‘warm night light pillars’. They form in conditions that are even more particular than regular light pillars.
‘[The formation] not only requires the existence of high-altitude clouds and the absence of low- and medium-altitude clouds. It also needs high humidity in the air, high atmospheric visibility, low wind, as well as ice crystals.
‘It wouldn’t occur unless all of the elements were present. You guys who spotted this scene were really lucky,’ the authorities said.