Nacreous Clouds Video

Here are some later shots captured as stills from my Sony Hi-8 video using a Hauppage TV card. I had forgotten that I had this footage as it had become mislaid in a dark corner. I only found it again recently when tidying up. These shots span a period from 1800 to 1815 GMT.

Low clouds had obscured the display for a while, but a few breaks were visible and the bright clouds with highly saturated colours were visible in the gaps. Unfortunately the video camera does not see the colour saturation and the results are more pastel like than the true display.
Low cloud and lack of a tripod prevented further use of slide film so I tried the video instead.
As well as the very low fast moving black clouds there was some intermediate thin stratus cloud layers moving in and hiding some of the display. However, the nacreous clouds were bright enough to shine through the cloud layer showing up as a ghostly salmon pink patch of light.
Low black clouds made photography difficult. Colour saturation on the video is not as striking as on the colour slide images. The video camera sees bright coloured clouds as whiter than they really are, and the cameras auto colour balance has been fooled a bit causing the background blue sky to change colour from shot to shot.
In between the fast moving dark clouds tantalising glimpses of the display.
Closer detail of the final stage of the display with more oranges and reds in the main cloud but still some blues and greens in the thinnest parts of the cloud.
Zoom detail of the leading/trailing edge of the cloud which was showing an almost compete rainbow across the short axis and had a region of very high contrast bright white with swirls at the sharpest end. IT was by this stage getting quite dark and the low clouds finally closed in and hid the display.

Here are some links to other pages dealing with nacreous clouds:

Jonathon Shanklin's view from Cambridge and notes on the atmospheric phenomena that gives rise to Nacreous cloud displays.

John Bolton's view of the display from Flixton, Manchester.

Lee Montgomerie's view of the display from Leeds (due south of me). I estimate from the features on his images compared with mine that we were looking at different views of the same clouds and that the clouds were between 15km and 20km high at that time.

Gallery of Nacreous cloud photos spanning several years at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics which shows the wide range of colours and shapes possible. Displays are more common at higher latitudes where the right atmospheric conditions occur more frequently.

And here are links to other interesting atmospheric phenomena like haloes and glories. They also have some info about nacreous clouds and other rare optical phenomena in the atmosphere.

HALO display simulator by Les Cowley and Michael Schroeder which allows your PC to generate these unusual patterns.


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Last modified 22nd Jan 2013