How to spot Noctilucent Clouds (An Alternative to Aurora)

This article is going to discuss Noctilucent Clouds and how to spot them. These are literally clouds that shine during astronomical twilight as you can see in the footage at the bottom of the article.

I originally captured this footage using just my mobile phone on a small tripod. Noctilucent clouds can look quite beautiful and have a rarity on par with the Aurora Borealis.

Noctilucent clouds are mainly visible to observers fifty to seventy degrees north or south of the equator. Some people do not consider a Noctilucent Clouds to be an astronomical feature at all.

As Noctilucent Clouds form seventy-six to eighty-five kilometres up they are at a level too high for weather balloons but too low for satellites. So, it is worth observing them if you can like many astronomical objects noctilucent clouds have a season. This is between late May and early August in the northern hemisphere and November to February in the southern hemisphere. This is a great thing to try to spot while setting up your astronomical equipment during the longer summer evenings. Later you should consider observing the summer triangle!

To view Noctilucent Clouds you need to wait until the Sun is six degrees below the horizon usually between an hour and a half to two hours after sunset then look north. Then hopefully if this is one of those evenings where the noctilucent clouds form you will see glowing very faint and tenuous clouds in the sky.

A nice feature about trying to see this noctilucent clouds is you do not need much equipment to see them. A simple pair of binoculars will bring out some nice detail and a DSLR, mirrorless camera with ISO 800 will pick up some good detail.

Or as you can see in the episode below a simple mobile phone camera on night mode can pick up Noctilucent Clouds.

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