Wanna see NLC’s ? Noctilucent clouds ?


Wanna see NLC’s ? Noctilucent clouds ? Run out right now if it’s near dawn right now and you have a clear North West horizon. Beautiful !!

Noctilucent clouds


I should mention that you don’t have to be in the UK to see these. Pretty much anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere there’s a good chance you’ll get a similar view over the next couple of days, if you can find a good Northern horizon, and a clear sky, and you look out more or less any time of night – it perhaps especially between 1 and 3 am – just before the dawn breaks.

Big thanks to Jamie Cooper for giving me an alert tonight. He will get much better pictures than mine, of course.

Mine would be better if my iPhone 13 Pro Max wasn’t so useless at focussing in low light. Does anyone else have this problem ? I’m constantly wondering why the thing now has 3 lenses instead of one – but the older models with just one lens take better photos !!! Strangely enough my iPhone 13 focusses quite well in Video mode, but fails on still astro photos.

Anyway – these NLC’s are beautiful – always showing this silvery pearlescent colour in a sky in which normal clouds are either black or red.

In this zoom you can begin to see the characteristic ‘ripple’ structure. NLC’s might look a bit like like cirrus clouds – but they’re not clouds as we normally know them at all.


Brian May: Noctilucent clouds ZOOM – 5 July 2022

Cirrus – the highest normal clouds sit at about 20,000 feet maximum. These NLC’s are more than ten times as high – around 250,000 feet. That’s why they’re lit up by the Sun’s rays when the Sun is well below the horizon – and the sky along with any normal clouds is relatively dark.

There’s been some discussion about NLC’s being the result of Modern Man and his pollution. Why ? Because there are no ancient records of them being seen. Those ‘shepherds watching their flocks by night’ – if they really did that in Biblical times – would definitely have noticed this beautiful phenomenon – but we don’t see any references to it. What think you, folks ? 

Notice the Pleiades near the top of the picture ?

Do NLC’s appear in the Southern Hemisphere ? If anybody has seen them, please let me know !