NLCs Gain Territory

Posted July 15, 2009 by User 1

Noctilucent Clouds, or NLCs, are the highest flying of all clouds floating in wispy formation on the edge of space. First seen in 1885 after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, these clouds have stumped scientists for years. Even today, their origins are still not completely known. See the Wikipedia article for more information:

This year, 2009, has already become a remarkable year for them. It is believed by most that years of solar minimum, especially now ( are when displays really take off. Science has so far not yet us down. The appearance of the clouds are also believed to be related to climate change ( as the first of them coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Until the past few decades, these clouds have been only seen confined to high latitudes 50+ degrees from the equator. However, they are now increasingly being spotted at latitudes down to 35-40 degrees. This could be due to climate change, as mentioned above. However, the full reason is still shrouded in mystery.

How do you spot them? Look outside 1-2 hours before sunrise or after sunset in the direction of the sun. If you get lucky, they will be visible being colored in a deep hue of blue. On some occasions, they may be seen stretching from the horizon to zenith (overhead). has a remarkable set of user-contributed images here:


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