There are other after-dark marvels out there…
Sometimes, you’re presented with something unexpected. A highly unusual and peculiar set of atmospheric circumstances come together to result in what can only be described as a phenomena.
By their very nature, these more unusual phenomena are difficult to predict and plan for. It becomes more a case of being in the right place at the right time – but of course the more you’re out and about in the small hours, the more lucky you’re likely to be! Here are some of the phenomena
and what causes them…
Zodiacal light – or False Dawn – is a phenomenon of triangular light that emanates high into the atmosphere. These come from the direction of sunrise or sunset and can be caught during twilight and the first hours of darkness during the evening in the spring equinox, and dawn in the autumn equinox. It takes incredibly clear skies for miles into the horizon, and an element of luck to catch this stunning spectacle. The sunlight reflects off particles of ice, and interplanetary dust within the plane of the solar system, called cosmic dust.
Noctilucent clouds are made of dust particles in ice crystals and only visible in deep twilight. Best viewed at mid-northern latitudes (50-65 degrees) in the lingering summer nautical twilight.
Nacreous – or Mother of Pearl – clouds are made up of ice crystals high up in the stratosphere (15 to 25km) reflecting sunset causing this amazing phenomena.
The clouds are colourful by appearance and can last for hours before sunset, and into twilight, sometimes dancing and shimmering like aurora.
They’re also extremely rare. To be in with a chance of shooting such an unusual occurrence, you will need to be situated within mid-to-high latitude locations, and the stratosphere temperature must be -78°C or colder. But once seen, Mother of Pearl clouds will never be forgotten!
This optical phenomena is caused by ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere at a certain angle to the moon, and can be seen on cold, clear nights when the moon is full.