The secrets of night shining clouds
2012-06-20 0:00

By Shireen Gonzaga | EarthSky.org



After sunset, when the sun is below the horizon but visible from the clouds’ high altitude, sunlight illuminates them, causing them to glow in a dark night sky.

Glowing silver-blue clouds that sometimes light up summer night skies in polar regions, after sunset and before sunrise, are called noctilucent clouds. Scientists studying these clouds, using data from NASA’s AIM (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere) satellite have found that year-to-year changes in noctilucent clouds are closely linked to weather and climate across the globe. One major discovery they’ve made is that weather conditions in one hemisphere can have a profound effect on the other hemisphere.

Also known as night shining clouds, noctilucent clouds form in the highest reaches of the atmosphere called the mesosphere, as much as 50 miles (80 km) above the Earth’s surface. They’re usually seen during summer in polar regions. After sunset or before sunrise, when the sun is below the ground horizon but visible from the high altitude of noctilucent clouds, sunlight illuminates these clouds, causing them to glow in the dark night sky. Noctilucent clouds are thought to be made of ice crystals that form on fine dust particles from meteors; they can only form when temperatures are incredibly low and when there’s water available to form ice crystals.

[...]

NASA’s AIM (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere) satellite has been observing noctilucent clouds since 2007, gathering data that will help scientists understand the characteristics of these extreme high altitude clouds that are closely linked to weather and climate across the globe.



A composite image, taken by AIM, of noctilucent clouds above the Southern Pole on December 31, 2009. Image credit: NASA/HU/VT/CU LASP



Noctilucent clouds over the Southern Hemisphere on January 30, 2010, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA.



[...]

Read the full article at: earthsky.org
Top Image: Source: EarthSky.orgNoctilucent clouds, Soomaa National Park, Estonia. Image credit: Martin Koitmäe via Wikimedia Commons.






Video from: YouTube.com








Related Articles
Bizarre, Giant Tubular Cloud Rolling Across the Sea
World’s Pyramids Beaming Energy To Mysterious Space Cloud
Giant Tsunami-Shaped Clouds Roll Across Alabama Sky
Lightning bolts illuminate the ash cloud from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain in Chile (img)
CERN Experiment Confirms Cosmic Rays Influence Clouds - Global Warming Next?
Bizarre cloud behaviour - high altitude winds? Space weather? (Video 2)
Bizarre cloud behaviour - high altitude winds? Space weather? (Video 1)
Interesting Clouds over Kansas City
Mysterious cloud formations (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
2015-02-28 22:37
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin. A Staged Shooting? ... Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly? The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Holocaust, Hate Speech and Were the Germans so Stupid?
2015-02-28 20:31
Description form YouTube: This is an updated version of the video which was taken down by YouTube following a spurious copyright-infringement claim. It addresses issues regarding claims that Zyklon B in liquid form gives off fumes at temperatures below 0º C. As the world approaches the brink of a new Middle East crisis this time involving Syria, clearly at the behind-the-scenes ...
The Jewish Roots of Leonard Nimoy and What the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Symbol Really Means
2015-02-28 0:20
Leonard Nimoy first saw what became the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as a child, long before “Star Trek” even existed. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston. The man who would play Spock saw the gesture as part of a blessing, and it never left him. “Something ...
Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
2015-02-27 22:46
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
California Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated
2015-02-27 21:55
Parents in California are distraught after losing their infant son after being vaccinated. He died in his sleep and was taken to the hospital already deceased. Hospital staff ruled his death as sudden infant death syndrome. The couple was told an autopsy was required to be performed on their son. After returning home, waiting to get an update, they never received ...
More News »