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Noctilucent Cloud Observations 11/June/2020


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About this observation
Ronan Newman
Time of observation
11/06/2020 - 23:15
Observing location
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
Canon 5D
ISO 160
1'6 seconds
A few photos from last night's exceptional Noctilucent Cloud display. These high altitude clouds form at 83km (the Mesosphere) high and are bathed in the Sunlight from below our horizon while over the last few days bright displays are being reported around northern Europe.
Two reasons behind why the displays are more apparent is because, in 2020 we are in a now in a deep Solar minimum and Extreme solar ultraviolet light (EUV) from the Sun is drastically reduced while also temperatures in the Mesosphere at polar latitudes is also very low. These temperatures have been breaking 14-year records in the last few days due to increased carbon dioxide (C02) causing cooling and methane (CH4) increasing water molecules, these gases get to this altitude via adiabatic expansion in the atmosphere.
The display started at 1115 with the first photo in bright twilight, that looked like high Cirrus. I knew also I would have to make my own judgement as most of the country was under thick cloud. But by 1145 it was fully apparent that this was large display with octopus like tendril of cloud emanating surprisingly from the north east horizon. I took some photos around the historical Mayo town of Killala where in the foreground was the 1000 year old Round Tower and the Cathedral of St Patrick, one of Ireland’s smallest cathedrals but also one of its oldest. If you want to learn more about this topic you can watch a talk I gave to Astronomy Ireland in 2018 entitled "Noctilucent Clouds: Ice at the Edge of Space" that examines their historical significance and the science behind them. @ Thanks for reading.
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