Noctilucent Clouds Over London

It’s been an unusually good season for observing noctilucent clouds. We’ve already posted two articles on them this month.


And now from Spaceweather we have a spectacular light show over London.

NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS OVER LONDON: On June 21st, something rare and magical happened in London. The skies of the great city filled with noctilucent clouds (NLCs). Phil Halper noticed the display, grabbed a camera, and raced from one landmark to another, hurriedly recording pictures like this:

“Even the bright lights of the London Eye on the river Thames couldn’t drown out the display,” says Halper. “These were the most spectacular NLCs I’ve ever seen.”

If NLCs look alien–that’s because they are. The clouds are seeded by meteoroids. They form every year around this time when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up to the mesosphere, allowing water to crystallize around specks of meteor smoke.

Full article and more pictures at Spaceweather.

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June 24, 2020 2:48 am

“Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are often visible in the extreme upper atmosphere (80-85 km altitude) well after sunset in the late spring and summer at high northern latitudes”

Spectacular and beautiful.
Thank you.

As for latitude and time of year I had thought it was 60 deg and early june to mid august. That’s what Benson Fogle says in his nlc paper. Anyway, here is a bibliography on the subject.

Patrick MJD
June 24, 2020 2:52 am

Must be the reduction in CO2 emissions.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 24, 2020 3:24 am


Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 24, 2020 4:50 am

Clearly the sky is falling.

Samuel C Cogar
June 24, 2020 4:25 am

From Dr Roy Spencer’s Blog: “ Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are often visible in the extreme upper atmosphere (80-85 km altitude) well after sunset in the late spring and summer

Late spring and summer, …… HUH?

That makes sense, ……. its summer solstice time in the Northern Hemisphere.

June 24, 2020 5:26 am

Voldemort . . .

Just Jenn
June 24, 2020 6:07 am




Our blue dot is really awesome isn’t it?

June 24, 2020 8:20 am

Noctilucent Clouds? I think the atmosphere is on fire, like what happened in this blockbuster movie 😉 :

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  beng135
June 24, 2020 9:05 am

We always called that show “Voyage to See What’s on the Bottom”.

These days we can see “what’s at the top”. Really spectacular. Thanks for the photos and the effort it took to get so many.

Question: is this likely to continue for a year or is it very transient?

June 24, 2020 9:00 am

We had them further west In Devon as well, allowing me to remark to my wife ‘Ah! look, Noctilucent Clouds”

to which she was completely indifferent to my WUWT knowledge but enjoyed the shapes and colours of the clouds!


June 24, 2020 12:34 pm

Been looking for them for days sweet ZILCH (60N), unusually late for up here nr SPB.

Suddenly they arrived.
Must have been Boris and his (late Covid) quarantine that made them run away east.

Bill Treuren
June 24, 2020 8:35 pm

With the aid of modern digital photography one can generate some extraordinary effects. filters, settings and photoshop can make a slight expression of those wonderful colours rather exceptional.

Just saying, I know I have a site I photograph regularly often well into dusk and some of the colours can be quite unlike the reality. remember the night vision of a human is largely black and white for sensitivity reasons the camera has the opportunity to reveal the colours we miss.

Craig from Oz
June 24, 2020 11:13 pm

Not fooling me.

I have read my John Wyndham. I shall be stocking up on guide dogs and industrial gardening equipment on the way home from work tonight. You might mock now, but one day in the future you will be begging to be saved by a passive aggressive man armed with a hedge trimmer and a well trained Labrador.

Just you wait! 😀

Matt G
June 27, 2020 6:30 pm

Noctilucent Clouds were often seen during the Little Ice Age over most of Europe and are known especially to occur during lower latitudes during low solar activity.

There has been a trend of increased sightings and increasingly colder mesospheric temperatures over the past few decades. The trend has been increasingly marked over the last few years and some scientists refer to them as a sign of an ice age on its way because of how solar activity interacts with the mesosphere.

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