Have you seen noctilucent, or “night shining,” clouds?

These clouds can be seen for several hours after the sun has set. They form in the summer at high latitudes, but they are getting denser and appearing farther south. The shine at night because they are 50 miles above the ground and reflect the sun’s rays hours after the sun has disappeared on the ground. They are still above the Earth’s curve.

They are made of ice particles and might be increasing because of the build up of carbon dioxide and the warming lower atmosphere which might have caused the stratosphere to get even colder. However, this hasn’t been proven.

At any rate, have you seen them while camping or whatever?

Pictures: “Night Shining” Clouds Getting Brighter. National Geographic News.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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