Thursday, June 13, 2024

Noctilucent Clouds over Poland | Earth Science

Noctilucent Clouds over Poland | Earth Science

Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are spilling out of the Arctic to lower latitudes. Astrophotographer Marek Nikodem spotted the electric-blue clouds at midnight, June 11-12, 2024, over Szubin, Poland (+53N). 

Nikodem: "These are our first noctilucent clouds of the season here in Poland. It was a very nice display."

NASA scientists study and model the Sun to better understand what it does and why. The Sun has its ups and downs and cycles between them regularly. Roughly every 11 years, at the height of its cycle, the Sun’s magnetic poles flip—on Earth, that would be like if the North and South Poles swapped places every decade—and the Sun transitions from sluggish to active and stormy. At its quietest, the Sun is at solar minimum; during solar maximum, the Sun blazes with bright flares and solar eruptions.

December 2019 marked the beginning of Solar Cycle 25, and the Sun’s activity will once again ramp up until solar maximum, predicted for 2025. This high solar activity is warming Earth's upper atmosphere and breaking apart water molecules required to form noctilucent ices. However, for reasons researchers do not fully understand, Solar Max does not always extinquish the clouds. The appearance of NLCs over Poland suggests that 2024 may be a year when night-shining clouds defy the Sun.

Image Credit & Copyright: Marek Nikodem

Marek's Instagram Page:

Caption Credits: SpaceWeather/NASA

Image Dates: June 11-12, 2024

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