Nacreous noctilucent cloud formed by rocket trail

Nacreous noctilucent cloud formed by rocket trail

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This image is part of the feature Weird Cloud Atlas

Credit: FRANK ZULLO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Artificial cloud. View of a spectacular nocti- lucent cloud after sunset. This "cloud" was formed from the exhaust of a missile launched from a distant firing range. Noctilucent clouds are those which reflect the Sun's light after it has set, which requires that they be at high altitude. The uppermost parts of this cloud are iridescent (nacreous), having the appearance of mother-of- pearl. Natural nacreous clouds occur at altitudes of 20-25 kilometres. The lower parts of this cloud are redder due to the scattering of blue light by the large amount of dust and water in the lower atmosphere. Its convoluted shape is due to the differing wind speeds at different altitudes.

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Keywords: climate, cloud, cloud types, clouds, iridescent cloud, man-made, meteorology, missile, missile trail, nacreous cloud, noctilucent, noctilucent cloud, rocket trail, weather

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