I had already crawled into bed last night about 11:30pm and took a peek out the bedroom window and noticed that it was very clear out when I remembered that the summer solstice is one of the best, or only, times that we get a chance to see a somewhat rare phenomena – noctilucent clouds. Sooooooo….. I got dressed again, put on my boots, and grabbed my cameras. Off I headed east and south of town to find a nice dark place to hopefully capture these clouds. I had been out almost an hour before a slight wisp of what looked to be the clouds I was after. I had driven on a bunch of back roads hoping for a nice view that would show the clouds off nicely and fog was forming on many low lying spots. It was a gorgeous night and I came across this large prairie lake and quickly pulled off the road and scrambled to get my gear set up, being extra careful to make all the settings how I needed them. I did not want to mess this image up! I had two cameras going and alternated between them as each was taking 20-30 second exposures. This image is actually 5 images stitched together and could be printed very large if someone was so inclined. I currently have it sized to 2.3m(90″) and it looks very nice indeed. The humidity was amazing and listening to owls hoot and the odd duck call, I honestly wish I could have just stayed out all night, only it makes it tough to get up and get things done today! I finally closed my eyes back in bed just after 3am. GREAT NIGHT!!
Night clouds or noctilucent clouds are tenuous cloud-like phenomena that are the “ragged edge” of a much brighter and pervasive polar cloud layer called polar mesospheric clouds in the upper atmosphere, visible in a deep twilight. They are made of crystals of water ice. Noctilucent roughly means night shining in Latin. They are most commonly observed in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator. They can only be observed when the Sun is below the horizon.
They are the highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere, located in the mesosphere at altitudes of around 76 to 85 kilometres (47 to 53 mi). They are normally too faint to be seen, and are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow. Noctilucent clouds are not fully understood and are a recently discovered meteorological phenomenon; there is no record of their observation before 1885.
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[Olympus E-M5, Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm Macro]