Night Shining Clouds a Summer treat to look out for

Badger’s view for June


Night shining or Noctilucent clouds are a phenomenon visible looking to the North during the summer months an hour or so after sunset and before sunrise.

Only visible during summer months, noctilucent clouds generally appear as bright blue/white patterns when the Sun is below the observer's horizon, although other colours can also be visible. With the Sun only just below the horizon during summer these clouds in the mesosphere at altitudes of around 76 to 85 km (47 to 53 mi) are still in sunlight. 


Noctilucent clouds are composed of tiny crystals of water ice higher than any other clouds in the atmosphere formed on dust particles. The sources of both the dust and the water vapour in the upper atmosphere are not known with certainty. The dust is believed to come from micrometeors, although particulates from volcanoes and dust from the troposphere are also possibilities.