Friday, June 29, 2012

Polar Mesospheric Clouds: Space Station astronaut captures mysterious 'night shining' clouds over Tibetan plateau

Space Station astronauts captured images of rare 'night shining' clouds as the craft passed over the Tibetan Plateau - high-altitude clouds which appear as delicate, shining threads against the darkness of space.

The clouds can only be seen from aircraft in flight, from the Space Station, or rarely from the ground at twilight - and shine at night because the ice crystals are lit up by the sun from beneath the visible horizon.

The clouds - called 'polar mesospheric' clouds or 'noctilucent', night-shining clouds were photographed on June 13 by the crew of the ISS using a Nikon D2X.

In both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, during their respective late spring and early summer seasons, polar mesospheric clouds are at the peak of their visibility. Read More