Admiring the Universe - a fine-art photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland, with interests in landscape, nature and astrophotography

2024-06-13 Noctilucent Clouds (1)

2024-06-13 Noctilucent Clouds (1)
Noctilucent clouds occur high in the Earth's atmosphere in the mesosphere around 80 kilometers (50 miles) above the surface. Characterized by their thin, wispy appearance and their ability to glow with a blue or silvery hue at night, they are most commonly observed during summer twilight hours when the Sun is below the horizon but still illuminating them from below.

Their appearance is due to the extreme cold temperatures in the mesosphere during the summer months, which allow ice crystals to form on suspended dust particles floating in the atmosphere. These ice crystals reflect sunlight when hit from below, causing the clouds to glow. The dust particles may originate from various sources, including micrometeorites falling to Earth from space, volcanic eruptions, or even human activities such as rocket launches.

Recent studies using NASA's AIM satellite data have shown that noctilucent clouds are becoming more frequent due to climate change, specifically due to increasing methane emissions.

I spent a happy hour or so out watching the display gradually evolve, starting to the right but then the regular tropospheric clouds began to dissipate to the left, leaving some interesting interwined weave structures in red/orange amongst the electric blue.


Camera: FUJIFILM X-H2 ISO: 640
Focal Length: 23mm (35mm-e) Aperture: f/2.2
Shutter Speed: 1s


GPS location: 56.302149, -3.704617