This unusual cloud phenomenon was captured across the UK this week – and we might see it again

·2 min read
Photo credit: Juhani Viitanen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Juhani Viitanen - Getty Images

Rare noctilucent clouds that glow in the dark are currently lighting up much of the northern hemisphere — and the recent display is the most vibrant in 15 years.

The wispy ghost-like clouds, which appear on summer nights after the sun has disappeared beyond the horizon, have been spotted right around the UK. In the early hours of Tuesday morning (5th June), many people took to Twitter to share the breathtaking phenomenon.

According to the Met Office, these night-shining clouds are the rarest, driest and highest clouds on Earth, occupying the layer of atmosphere known as the Mesosphere. Best known for their silvery, blue tones, noctilucent clouds become visible about the same time as stars and stay visible after dark because they are still reflecting sunlight due to their great height.

"They are seen less often in the southern hemisphere as there is very little land and very few people there. Only the southern tip of Argentina and Chile, and the Antarctic are at the correct latitude," says the Met Office. "Like many clouds, noctilucent clouds need water vapour, dust, and very low temperatures to form. Low temperatures are easily attainable in the Mesosphere, but water vapour and dust are in short supply."

Photo credit: Anita Nicholson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anita Nicholson - Getty Images

While they are not visible all the time, your best bet at spotting the clouds is between the end of May and the start of August every year. Make sure to wait until most of the sky has grown dark to see them. Have you been lucky enough to spot any yet?

Take a look at some of the incredible images below...

You Might Also Like