A Noctilucent Paisley Pattern by Gary Chittick
This photo captures the mind-bogglingly distant pattern of noctilucent, or "night-shining" clouds. These clouds form far above the weather-producing clouds that we’re used to seeing—some 80 kilometres above Earth’s surface in a region of the atmosphere named the "mesosphere."
The photographer, Gary Chittick, is a keen noctilucent cloud watcher and managed to capture this shot, framing these ethereal clouds along with his hometown of Paisley, as well as several more down-to-earth clouds.
"I was delighted to see them forming and brightening as I got to my location."
We can see why – noctilucent clouds aren’t just far out in their distance but also in their formation. They’re composed of ice crystals, which may form on dust from meteorites. They can generally only be observed in twilight when most of the sky is shrouded in darkness, but the sun’s rays can still reach the upper atmosphere to illuminate them from below. This meant that Gary had to stay up late to get this unique shot!
Photo location: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Photographer based: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Camera: OPPO Find X5 Pro