Breathtaking night-shining clouds

Wonderful video showing noctilucent – or night-shining – clouds recorded on July 1 and 4. These clouds shine in the darkness, typically on summer nights.

Photographer and videographer Adrien Mauduit posted this video at EarthSky Facebook this week. He’s been working with Project PoSSUM – a research, training and education program supported by NASA – whose goal is the study of noctilucent clouds, also called NLCs or night-shining clouds. In other words, these clouds are seen at night, shining in the darkness. PoSSUM’s 2017 noctilucent cloud airborne campaign recently kicked off, based in the remote town of High Level in northern Alberta, Canada. Mauduit, who is based in Denmark, is also in Alberta, helping the project by acquiring ground imagery. He wrote that the project:

… includes still images, but also time-lapse films that reveals the structure and evolution of the clouds in a breath-taking fashion.

You might think they look like the waves of the ocean or the bottom of a pool, and that’s exactly what this wondrous natural spectacle looks like. These ice particles reflect the light from the sun as they are sandwiched by different layers of the upper mesosphere. This, in turn, allows their delicate and elusive fluid mechanics to be witnessed and understood better; hence, the goal of the project.

In this gorgeous 4K video, you will discover the different fine structures NLC’s can take against the night sky (you can see stars moving in the background, their shakiness coming from image stabilization): Waves, billows, knots, bands, lacunous holes and veritable storms are waiting for you!

The imagery here has been recorded with Sony a7rII, Sony a7s and Canon 6D, as well as a wide array of different lenses (Post processing in Lr, Sequence), on the nights of July 1st and 4th in High Level, Alberta, Canada.

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The Project PoSSUM team on July 5, 2017 in the remote town of High Level, Alberta, Canada. Photo via Adrien Mauduit.

Bottom line: Video of noctilucent clouds seen on July 1 and 4, 2017.

Deborah Byrd