Stunning Noctilucent Clouds Shine Brightly in the UK

by Nancy Atkinson on July 1, 2011

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Panoramic view of Noctilucent Clouds from Kendal Castle in the UK. Credit: Stu Atkinson

Mysterious “night shining” or Noctilucent Clouds are beautiful to behold, and here are some gorgeous examples what skywatchers in the UK have been experiencing. Stu Atkinson took this stunning panoramic view from Kendal Castle. (Click image for access to a larger version). NLCs are usually seen during the summertime, appearing at sunset. They are thin, wavy ice clouds that form at very high altitudes and reflect sunlight long after the Sun has dropped below the horizon. Scientists don’t know exactly why they form, and they seem to be appearing more and more in recent times.

See more below.

Science writer Will Gater also had a great view of NLCs this morning. Click the image to see his animation, or see more of his images and animations at his website post.

NLCs seen over the UK on July 1, 2011. Click to see animation. Credit: Will Gater

Another view of Noctilucent Clouds from Kendal Castle in the UK on July 1, 2011. Credit: Stu Atkinson

See more from Stu Atkinson at his Cumbrian Sky website.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Vic Singsnap Packman July 1, 2011 at 5:49 PM

How can these be taken today July 1st. in England ,it wont be dark for another 3 hours.

Anonymous July 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Cause they were taken in the AM, says morning in the story!!

Catherine Campbell July 1, 2011 at 9:13 PM


Ken Lord July 2, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Not just in the UK … At about 10:30pm local time tonight (July 1st) I noticed some bright noctilucent clouds in the northern sky here in Pitt Meadws BC (outskirts of Vancouver BC). Probably the first time i’ve noticed such clouds before. I ran out and got some shots. I’ll update this comment with a couple links shortly.

Ken Lord July 2, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Two images of tonight’s Noctilucent clouds as seen from Pitt Meadows BC, Canada, at about 10:39pm local time.

Ken Lord July 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM

And I do believe there was just some more noctilucent clouds in the early morning twilight, more of a set of multiple long linear clouds, but they had the same eerie appearance, were above all the other clouds, and have become much harder to see as the sun rises.

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