(ORDO NEWS) — On May 17, NASA’s AIM spacecraft discovered the first silver clouds (NLCs) of this year. The first bright blue spots were barely noticeable. However, since then, the clouds have thickened rapidly. Recent images from orbit show a growing cluster of silvery clouds rotating directly inside the Arctic Circle.
NLCs are the highest clouds of the Earth. Sown by meteoroids, they hover at the edge of space more than 80 km above the ground. Clouds form when shreds of water vapor rise into the mesosphere in summer, allowing water to crystallize around spots of meteor smoke. Last summer, they spread far south to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, setting records for observations at low latitudes.
Now is the beginning of the 2020 season, so the clouds are still concentrated around the North Pole. However, people in Europe are starting to see them.
Silvery clouds are likened to a large “geophysical light bulb” because they turn on sharply, reaching almost full intensity within ~ 10 days. Thus, by early June, we can expect the clouds to spread further south with a significant increase in brightness.
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