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NLC-watching from Kendal – the agony of Cumbrian amateur astronomy

After almost a week of pelting us with rain, rain, more rain, and even more rain, last night the force field of black cloud that has been covering the South Lakes was finally switched off, allowing us a glimpse of the night sky. And, as darkness fell, there, low in the north, was a pretty decent display of NLC, noctilucent cloud! Yaaay! Finally!!!

So, of course I hared up to Kendal Castle, hoping to get some pictures, but, yep, you guessed it – as I arrived at the top of the hill the cloud was already sweeping in, obliterating the NLC from view, and by the time I had my camera set up and ready to start clicking away the NLC was just about covered. But in the remaining gaps I could see, with my naked eye and binoculars, really pretty and quite dramatic structure – whirls, streamers and cross-hatch patterns of silvery blue light, suggesting that there was a really, really good display going on behind the cloud…

Yes, I did stick a heartfelt single finger straight up at the sky and swear qute violently and angrily at it. It didn’t make the cloud go away, but it made me feel better. A little.

That was around midnight. For the next hour and a half the NLC played hide and seek with me, and won every time. Time and time again a gap would appear in the wall of cloud covering the northern sky, allowing me a brief glimpse of the NLC display, before closing-up again and triggering another outburst of cussin’ and cursing…

It was ridiculous, it really was, and what made it even worse was reading reports on Twitter from other observers who were blessed with clear skies, who were loving what they were seeing. That’s a real curse of the modern age, you know. In Ye Olden Days, before ‘internet, if we missed something due to bad weaher we just shrugged our shoulders, sighed “Oh well” and went down the pub or back to the TV. But now, oh, now we can torment and torture ourselves to the brink of insanity by reading other people’s reports of how BRILLIANT it (whatever ‘it’ is) is from where they are. Nightmare.

Anyway, eventually I had a bit of a better view, of at least the top half of the display, but cloud stubbornly refused to lift off the horizon so I never saw the whole thing in all its glory, but what I could see suggested that a heck of a display was taking place behind all the crud…

… so when the cloud eventually blotted out the whole of the northern sky, and I headed home, I was well and truly hacked off with the way things had gone.

Looking back through my photos, I’m pretty lucky to have seen anything, it was such a rubbish night, and I am pleased with how they’ve turned out.

Tonight’s forecast is for much better weather, so I’ll be up at the Castle again, camera at the ready, hoping for another big display. Wish me luck!

…and if you hear a tortured voice crying “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” from over our horizon around OO.OO BST you’ll know the Cumbrian clouds have done it again.


One Response

  1. […] im nördlichen U.K. eine besonders gute Show, wie Fotos hier, hier, hier, hier und hier sowie ein Bericht (unnötig knatschig, angesichts der Bildergebnisse …) […]

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