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Another gorgeous NLC display…

My, summer 2013, with these early noctilucent cloud displays you are really spoiling us…

Bit late writing this up, I know, but been busy. There was another lovely display of noctilucent clouds – NLC for short – last week, which had skywatchers drooling over its beauty. I saw it too, but almost didn’t. I was THIS (imagine a finger and thumb almost pinching together… no, closer together than that…  a bit closer… there you go) close to missing it, because it didn’t kick off until gone 2am, and I went up to the castle at 11am and, having watched this (below) minor, “Hmmm, not bad, but nothing special…” display drifting low across the NE sky, scraping its belly across the top of the hills…

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…I decided to head home, very tired and convinced nothing would appear in the north… And as I turned towards the castle, camera bag over my shoulder, tripod clutched firmly in hand, I decided to take  one last look over my shoulder, to see if there was any sign of *anything* in the north -

And there it was, the unmistakeable glow from a good NLC display just starting to push through the twilight…

It’s a glow that can’t be easily described.It doesn’t really have a colour, no real shapes can be seen within it, the sky just looks… wrong… it shines, almost like tracing paper being lit from behind by a torch. There’s nothing to see when it starts, but it tells experienced NLC watchers that Something Is About To Happen. And, seeing that glow, I headed back to my observing site, set up my camera again, and waited – and it didn’t disappoint. I shudder to think of how I would have felt the next morning if I’d gone home early, only to read delighted Tweets and Facebook posts from my fellow NLC watchers describing what a beautiful show I’d missed…!

But I didn’t – phew! – and I stayed out for another hour, enjoying a really lovely display. Not as good as some I’ve seen, but really good for this early point in the Season, and one, long, comet tail-like feature photopgraphed sooo well… :-)

Here are a selection of images from the night of June 4/5 2013…

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8sh

(NOTE: those colours have been enhanced a lot to bring out the subtle details and structures in the clouds. Occasionally NLC can be bright blue white, but this particular display wasn’t… Maybe tonight…!)

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(Note: that’s also been colour enhanced and sharpened)

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(NOTE: THAT one has, obviously I think, been messed about with so much in Photoshop that it sobbed and begged for mercy…! If you want to know what it actually looked like to the naked eye, here you are, next photo…)

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So, yes, a great night – and as I was out so long I managed to see three, yes, THREE different space station passes! Have never managed that before!

I tried again last night, June 6/7, but saw nothing during my 23.30-01.30 observing session. Maybe tonight… :-)

 

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