Earth Strange

Eerie otherworldly blue clouds descend over Antarctica

Each year, an eerie mass of bright blue clouds descends over Antarctica, as sunlight is reflected though dense layers of ice crystals to create a brilliant, glowing haze that can be seen from space.

But according to new images recorded by NASA, those otherworldly clouds made their annual appearance way earlier than expected this year, and scientists are struggling to explain why we got a two-week head-start on the South Pole’s ‘night-shining’ event. The phenomenon that causes noctilucent – or night-shining – clouds to appear over the South Pole each year is not fully understood, but it appears to be connected to seasonal changes taking place at lower altitudes – and possibly even that catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa back in 1883.

NASA tracks the movements of noctilucent clouds using their AIM (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere) spacecraft, and while they’re seen in both the southern and northern hemispheres, their electric blue glow only appears over Antarctica through the months of November and December.


Cool time to be in Antarctica. Did Buzz Aldrin know something about this?

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