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JUNE 17/18TH

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NLCs
 

June 17/18th 23.49 BST. In my log book I wrote...''A monster NLC display appeared during bright twilight in the evening sky reaching the zenith as far as Arcturus. It was pure white, and so bright, that it was a higher value than a type 5 display - off the scale!. It was observed widely over Europe also. When the Sun lowered and the sky darkened the electric blue glow from the clouds was out of this world, beyond description, I was saying ''oh my God'' over and over again to a friend on the phone''. Visible from 23.30 - 03.30 BST and exhibiting breathtaking structure in the form of intense blue-white bands, waves/herringbone, small and large scale whirls, knots, and lacunosus holes. Images 15 to 26 show the different phases of this ever-changing display. I immediately went outside and found a handy field, dashed over the barbed wire fence, and set-up the camera. The orange-red glow on the field was caused by a row of street lights behind me which pointed in the opposite direction, it looks like that with the naked eye so naturally it would turn out very prominent in the exposures. I think it adds to the images.

These are 28mm wide angle. I wasn't alone in the field, there was a heard of Cows, you can see one of them to the R. As with all major NLC displays it was difficult to get the correct exposure due to the raid motion of these clouds which propagate through the Mesosphere 83km high at approx 400mph. This image looks slightly soft because the NLCs have drifted during the very short exposure, since it was twilight you can appreciate how bright this must have been. The area at centre was so intense and silver that it threatens to overexpose the image. Above, the display was turning vivid blue with greater brilliance by the min. Note the unusual elongated lens-shaped or lenticular-shaped lacunosus holes and strange forms at top. This was already 100 degrees high in the sky and a casual glance overhead revealed blue waves at the zenith. Dark patchy Trop cloud drifted across the sky from L to R (W to E) making for a nice contrasty scene.