Noctilucent Clouds

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noctilucent clouds

Living in northern Europe has a few drawbacks when it comes to astrophotography. The high latitude means we struggle to see many of the best constellations. And for a couple of months a year, the summer sky stays blue throughout the night, making astrophotography impossible. But with the drawbacks come one or two beautiful phenomenon as compensation. Along with auroras, midsummer displays of noctilucent clouds are only seen at higher latitudes.

noctilucent clouds panoramic

On the long summer evenings of June and July, a river of electric blue clouds will sometimes appear around local midnight. These ‘night shining’ clouds, believed to be seeded by meteor dust on the edge of space, are illuminated by sunlight travelling clear over the Arctic.

With midnight approaching on the July 7th, the unmistakable sight began to appear through the twilight. I wanted to capture the movement of the clouds by taking a series of images to create a time-lapse video. The time-lapse itself, taken between 12:30 and 1:30am local time, is made up of around 300 individual photos taken 10-15 seconds apart. These were then stitched together using PhotoLapse making the sequences into short video. It’s only brief, but it shows how the clouds flow in a river-like motion from the north. (The red lights seen at the bottom of the frame are those of Bilsdale transmitter, around 50 miles/80km away).

Click here to download HD version of the video.

Details: Nikon D7000Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 1.2 seconds at iso 200.


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