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Old Jul 19 2009, 08:46 AM   #1
StevenB
Bitsmith/Starsmith,
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Scotland
Gender: M
Fan of: Skies of Pern: what else?
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Noctilucent clouds

This summer is turning out to be a very good time to discover noctilucent clouds. These are the highest clouds in the Earth's atmosphere, almost at the edge of space. Nobody knows exactly why they occur, but they seem to be about their best around Solar minimum, and this year is turning out to be particularly good. See here for some reports of cloud sitings around the world.

It is well worth keeping an eye on the western sky after sunset to see if you can spot these rare but beautiful clouds. Lanen and I saw them a few nights ago, but we didn't see them at their best. They appear as a bunch of very faint ripples suspended in the sky around sunset. But if you wait for the sky to get darker the ripples turn electric blue. We made the mistake of going to bed too early - at the latitude of Scotland they are at their best after midnight this time of the year. At lower latitudes you might be able to see them at a more reasonable time. I'm going to keep looking for the next display. Good luck!
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