Noctilucent nirvana

Well you wait for noctilucent cloud season to start and then they appear three nights in a row! I missed Tuesday night’s display so here are some images (click them to enlarge) captured from Bristol from Wednesday (17th) night between 10:30 and 11:45 local time. The clouds last night were full of contrast and were tinged with the classic electric blue colour. An impressive sight looming over the horizon, like something from a movie. If the last few weeks of displays are anything to go by this is going to be a good summer for NLCs.


A wider angle looking at the whole display:

A shot with a zoom lens to reveal some of the fine detail in the clouds:NLC_170609_3


  1. How can we discern noctilucent clouds from other blue-tinted clouds? Recently, I imaged a large display of mammatus clouds, and there were several very unusual-looking clouds just beneath them that appeared to “glow” a blue color.

  2. Hi Tavi,
    NLCs appear an hour or so after sunset or before sunrise. As they emerge from the twilight they appear to glow by themselves very distinctly (with a bright white/blue colour) against the darker sky. Other ‘normal’ clouds will be silhouetted against the sky, and often the NLCs themselves, appearing much darker; as can be seen lower down in some of the images above. If the mammatus cloud image you are referring to is the lovely one on your blog post dated June 2nd then I don’t think they were NLCs, as it looks as if the Sun is either still just above the horizon or not far enough below it in that picture.
    Hope this helps,
    All the best,

  3. Approximately 1 month ago, at roughly 2:15 am eastern time, following a very rainy gray day, i happened to look outside and observe a gradual steady increase from a relatively totally dark night to seeing the sky light up to the point that trees were casting shadows and then gradually diminish back to darkness. This happened in the course of 5 or so minutes. Any insight as to what I may have witnessed?

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