photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Marco Nero | profile | all galleries >> Canon Pro 1 >> Noctilucent Clouds tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent Clouds or Polar Mesopheric Clouds: This is an extroadinarily rare cloud formation that occurs out on the verge of space between 82km to 102 km from the earth's surface. Most clouds that we see occur around 10km from the surface by comparison. Noctilucent clouds appear to be luminous yet they reflect the sunlight from the other side of the earth at night, giving them a glowing appearance. Many scientists who study these clouds have waited for more than 20 years to observe them although they have been sighted more regularly in the last decade, occuring in the extreme lattitudes perhaps 4 nights per year, most of which are statistically likely to be cloudy. Especially when viewing from a major city in the North or South.

These clouds looked more like an Aurora at first so I set up my camera and tripod and began to photograph before I realised what was appearing in the sky. This was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in the atmosphere and I took over 300 pictures in under an hour.

The Pro 1, like other CCD cameras over 4MP, generates a small amount of noise during exposures over 2 seconds (even at 50 ISO) so there's some noise visible in each of these pictures. The colours and intensity are accurate though. This type of cloud is studied by the crew of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station which fly quite close to where the noctilucent cloud layer sits on the verge of space. Whenever they are seen, the astronauts desperately grab available cameras to take pictures and document them. Scientists find a great deal of value in these clouds as they may indicate the Earth's global condition and may show changes in the CO2 levels as well as indicate the levels of greenhouse gasses. Since there's less than a single's days' worth of data collectable via these clouds per year, scientists rely on amature photographers and skywatchers to obtain pictures when these extremely rare events occur.

Seems the Space Shuttle might be to blame: http://eob.gsfc.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2003/2003060314877.html
Noctulicent Clouds Appear
Noctulicent Clouds Appear
Noctilucent Clouds Brighten
Noctilucent Clouds Brighten
Noctilucent Clouds (Closeup)
Noctilucent Clouds (Closeup)
Noctilucent Clouds with Moon
Noctilucent Clouds with Moon
Marco with INOVA X5 Torch
Marco with INOVA X5 Torch
Noctilucent Clouds & Blue LED
Noctilucent Clouds & Blue LED
Noctilucent Cloud Panorama
Noctilucent Cloud Panorama
Noctilucent Clouds Distant
Noctilucent Clouds Distant