Imaggeo On Monday: Catching a glimpse of the Mesosphere

Imaggeo On Monday: Catching a glimpse of the Mesosphere

In the midst of summer when the sun does not set at high latitudes one can sometimes catch a glimpse of the mesosphere shortly after sunset or before sunrise. These thin veils, known as noctilucent clouds, are the highest known cloud-like structures forming at about 80km above the surface. At this height, they are still lit by the sun and can be seen from lower latitudes many hundreds of kilometers away.


They come to life in time lapse photography and provide us a way to watch the intricate flows and wave patterns taking shape in the mesosphere. In this particular case, there is also a band of low (tropospheric) clouds clearly moving in the opposite direction and contrasting nicely with the gradually evolving structures above.


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Description by Michiel Baatsen, after the description on


Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at

This guest post was contributed by a scientist, student or a professional in the Earth, planetary or space sciences. The EGU blogs welcome guest contributions, so if you've got a great idea for a post or fancy trying your hand at science communication, please contact the blog editor or the EGU Communications Officer to pitch your idea.

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