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NLC display (finally!) seen from Kendal, June 19/20th 2012

The Cumbrian weather this summer so far has been ***rubbish***! Day after day, and night after night, of cloud, drizzle, heavy rain, just dreadful, and it’s ruined the 2012 Noctilucent Cloud season so far too. This time last year we’d seen several displays from here, but until last night we’d had two possible hints of traces of whispers of displays. But last night, finally, was totally clear, and chilly too, and as the Sun set, leaving the northern sky blissfully clear of cloud, the stage was set for a good display of NLC. Would one happen? As I treked up to Kendal Castle at around 11.45pm I had no idea, but with cloud set to return for the next few days at least I knew I had to try…

Once Iwas set up at the Castle I scanned the northern horizon – nothing. The north west? Nothing. But over in the NE, there was a hint of ‘something’… some faint white horizontal lines just above the hilly horizon, so I aimed my camera at that part of the sky, took an optimistic long exposure, hoping to capture any NLC hiding from my naked eye, and got this…


After that, it improved.. slowly, very slowly, and gradually more detail became visible in my long exposure photos, although it never really became a striking sight visually…

Here I’ve enhanced an image of part of the NE sky to bring out the subtle, faint and fragile detail which was totally invisible to the naked eye, so please dopn’t think it actually *looked* like this, this is just bringing out structure by stretching the image until it screamed for mercy… 🙂

Strangely, for a while there was also a hint of NLC activity in the NW while the “action” was going on in the NE…

So…. a good couple of hours of NLC-watching last night (good company too, when I was joined by fellow EAS members Simon and Phil), but it was definitely a photographic display rather than a naked eye one, and I want to stress again that because these are long exposure photographs they don’t accurately represent what I was seeing with my naked eye. This is more like what the display looked like to my naked eye at around 02.15…

Hopefully this was a curtain-raiser for a bigger, better display to ome – but not until the next cloud-fat weather front has been and gone, please…!!!

2 Responses

  1. Nice one Stuart, really nice pics there, even if, as you say, they are long exposures and not naked-eye shots. Havent seen too many here in Mull this year yet – been a couple of OK-ish NLCs but nothing too mega. And of course with each night that passes, it gets a little darker….

    The thing I like to spot at this time of year is Scorpius. This far north, you dont really see a lot – certainly never seen the “cats eyes”, but it is always fun trying to see how much you actually can see. At this latitude Antares always appears low in the sky, almost grudgingly. On a warm summers evening, seeing it reflected in some of the lochs round here, its actually quite poetic. Cloudy tonight though!! Cheers James

  2. Hi – got some (rubbish) pics of noctilucent clouds at 11.45 pm last night , seen from Cartmel. was excited – to see them 🙂

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