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The noctilucent cloud spotting season is here again

At temperate latitudes practical astronomy isn't easy during the summer with the short nights limiting opportunities to get out there with our telescopes.  One phenomenon that we can keep a look out for is the illusive noctilucent clouds.

At latitudes between 50 and 70 degrees favour views of the high altitude clouds that appear like pearly white filaments well after sunset.

Composed of tiny ice crystal less than 100nm across the clouds are located in the mesosphere at altitudes of between 76 and 85km. They are illuminated by the Sun when the surrounding atmosphere has slipped into the shadow of the Earth.

Over the past few days sightings have been made across Northern Europe and when conditions are favourable the clouds frequently remain visible for several weeks.

Those whio enjoy observing high atmospheric phenomena such as the Northern Lights often keep an eye out for noctilucent clouds during the Summertime.