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08.16.16 - ScienceCasts: Electric Blue Sunsets

NLCs are Earth's highest clouds. Seeded by meteoroids, they float at the edge of space more than 50 miles above the planet's surface. The clouds are very cold and filled with tiny ice crystals. Those tiny crystals do a good job of scattering blue light from the rising or setting sun—hence their electric blue color.

Noctilucent clouds appear during summer because, ironically, that is the only time the upper atmosphere at high latitudes is cold enough to crystalize molecules of water around specks of meteor dust. The role of meteor dust in forming NLCs is one of many discoveries made by AIM, which NASA launched in 2007 to study the mysterious clouds.

James Russell, principal investigator for AIM at Hampton University says, "These clouds continue to reveal intimate details about how the atmosphere works. Each season yields new information.”

04.11.2014 - ScienceCast: Unexpected Teleconnections in Noctilucent Clouds
Length: 4:13
SOFIE PMC Profile 2012

NASA's AIM spacecraft is discovering unexpected "teleconnections" in Earth's atmosphere that link weather and climate across vast distances. “Earth's poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles. Turns out, that's not so far apart. New data from NASA's AIM spacecraft have revealed "teleconnections" in Earth's atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest.”

06.07.13 - Noctilucent Clouds Get an Early Start
NASA Science News

Noctilucent clouds have surprised researchers by appearing early this year. The unexpected apparition of electric-blue night-shining clouds hints at a change in the "teleconnections" of Earth's atmosphere.



VIMEO viewing and download video:

12.15.09 - NASA's AIM Satellite and Models are Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious "Night-Shining" Clouds
View Video of 2009 Season

03.01.08 - CBS Evening News
Glow-In-The-Dark Clouds?
They were first seen more than a century ago, clouds that seem to glow in the dark. Now they're showing up more and more often, and some are trying to find out why. Byron Pitts reports.

01.17.08 - "Why? Tell Me Why!: Night Shining Clouds"
Discovery Channel News Video
Kasey-Dee Gardner

2007 AGU Press Event: Presentor Videos
AIM Multimedia



More @ AIM

eClips and YouTube Videos

STS-119 Man-made NLC


More @ NASA

Movie Files explaining Langley's Atmospheric Science Missions

Atmospheric Science Research Videos

NASA GSFC Conceptual Image Lab Animations

AIM Launch Videos at NASA.GOV
Launch day videos: April 25, 2007


More on the Web

NLC Time-Lapse Videos
Time-lapse photographs of NLC clouds produce beautiful effects of moving and forming clouds. These movies are created by Jacek Stegman at Stockholm University's Department of Meteorology, Sweden.
View NLC time-lapse movie gallery

YouTube Videos
NASA and related videos about the AIM Mission and Night Shining Clouds

AIM Launch Video on YouTube


NASA's Sun-Earth Education Forum Logo

The AIM mission is a part of
NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.

Responsible Official: James M. Russell III

Web Curator: Emily M. W. Hill
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