Noctilucent Clouds

July 06, 2001


Provided by: Wolfgang Hamburg, AKM e.V
Summary authors & editors: Wolfgang Hamburg

This panorama taken from Bernitt in northern Germany on June 25, 2001 about 15 minutes after local midnite shows noctilucent clouds (NLC), a summertime phenomena of the upper atmosphere occuring in northern latitudes. NLCs form at very high altitudes - around 82 km above sea level - and are quite separate phenomenon from normal weather or tropospheric clouds. Thought to be ice crystals condensing on meteoritic dust, they form in the cold, summer polar mesopause, but their high altitude and formation in a very dry part of the atmosphere makes their precise nature somewhat a mystery.

Casio QV-2800UX digital camera at IS080 (equiv), F3.2, 10s and focal length 40mm (equiv to 35mm films)

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