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Day 33 - Not the Aurora


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Day 33 - Not the Aurora

2 Feb 2016 6:44PM   Views : 752 Unique : 422

So i saw this phenomenon yesterday on the way home, couldn't find a spot to shoot it plus it was chucking it down.

Consquently i was really pleased to see it again this morning.


Polar Stratospheric Clouds or nacreous clouds, are clouds in the winter polar stratosphere at altitudes of 15,00025,000 meters (49,00082,000 ft). They are best observed during civil twilight when the sun is between 1 and 6 degrees below the horizon.

The stratosphere is very dry; unlike the troposphere, it rarely allows clouds to form. In the extreme cold of the polar winter, however, stratospheric clouds of different types may form, which are classified according to their physical state and chemical composition.

Due to their high altitude and the curvature of the surface of the Earth, these clouds will receive sunlight from below the horizon and reflect it to the ground, shining brightly well before dawn or after dusk.

PSCs form at very low temperatures, below −78 C (−108 F). These temperatures can occur in the lower stratosphere in polar winter. In the Antarctic, temperatures below −88 C (−126 F) frequently cause type II PSCs. Such low temperatures are rarer in the Arctic. In the Northern hemisphere, the generation of lee waves by mountains may locally cool the lower stratosphere and lead to the formation of PSCs.

Forward-scattering of sunlight within the clouds produces a pearly-white appearance. Particles within the optically thin clouds cause colored Interference fringes by diffraction. The visibility of the colors may be enhanced with a polarising filter.



saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 88 Norway
4 Feb 2016 11:24AM
See this quite often where I live. The effect is known here in Norway as Mother of Pearl clouds.


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