Friday, 8 July 2011

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds, are tenuous cloud-like phenomena that are the "ragged-edge" of a much brighter and pervasive polar cloud layer called polar mesospheric clouds in the upper atmosphere, visible in a deep twilight. They are made of crystals of water ice. The name means roughly night shining in Latin. They are most commonly observed in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator.

They are the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere, located in the mesosphere at altitudes of around 76 to 85 kilometers (47 to 53 mi). They are normally too faint to be seen, and are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth's shadow. Noctilucent clouds are not fully understood and are a recently discovered meteorological phenomenon; there is no evidence that they were observed before 1885.
To learn more or to report sighting go the NLC Observers homepage at

Last night (7th July 2011), there was the best NLC display I have ever seen. The display lasted for over two hours and was from the horizon to the zenith.

This NLC display in the earlier hours of July 3rd 2010 was very short lived only lasting for 35 minutes between 01:00 to 01:35.

23:00 25th July 2009

Noctilucent clouds can form only under very restrictive conditions; their occurrence can be used as a sensitive guide to changes in the upper atmosphere. Since their discovery the occurrence of noctilucent clouds has been increasing in frequency, brightness and extent. It is theorised that this increase is connected to climate change.

No comments:

Post a Comment