Unusual and enigmatic noctilucent (night shining) clouds. An image that beautifully captures the radiant electric blue colour and the wonderful swirls, eddies and streaks characteristic of this phenomenon. Taken at Bo’ness, Scotland, at 1:30am on the 25th June 2004 on Fuji Provia400F slide film and digitised.
Rarely sighted 50 years ago and now sometimes observed during the short twilit nights of summer at high latitudes, these clouds of ice crystals are found almost into the realms of outer space at 80km above the Earth’s surface. They are so high that they remain illuminated by the Sun which lies below the horizon for the observer on the ground and pose a puzzle for atmospheric scientists who struggle to explain how the water to create them got so high into the Earth’s atmosphere.