Nacreous Clouds - Beauty & the Dark Side

 

I've been so excited this week to enjoy a never-to-be-forgotten natural phenomenon...

At the beginning of the week, the north of the UK experienced rare nacreous clouds in the sky, across a wide area...

These are stunning, iridescent rainbow clouds - which gently shimmer and move, high up in the atmosphere...

Nacreous clouds seen from East Yorkshire, 2 Feb 2016

My husband actually called me on the evening of 1st February, and told me to look at the skies, as something wonderful and colourful was happening...

The clouds were edged with dozens of little rainbows, and strange glows of green and blue shone out of gaps in the clouds...

First glimpse at the nacreous clouds - sunset on 1st Feb 2016

First glimpse at the nacreous clouds - sunset on 1st Feb 2016

The photos don't do the spectacle justice - it was amazing, and so beautiful. I didn't know what it was so went to look up 'rainbow clouds' to find out all about them...

Rainbow clouds, 1st Feb 2016, East Yorkshire

The 'rainbow clouds' are actually called 'nacreous clouds' and also known as 'mother-of-pearl clouds'. They usually form in polar regions, very high up in the stratosphere where the air is extremely cold.

The rainbow effect is created by the sunlight (when the sun is low in the sky, at sunrise and sunset) refracting against thousands of tiny ice crystals...

It's hard to describe how beautiful it was to see - but also very sad to discover that something that I'd enjoyed as an experience of pure beauty - a proof that nature is amazing - could actually have a dark side...

Because it is believed that these beautiful clouds, actually contribute to damaging our fragile ozone layer.

But even with this in mind, it was difficult not to be in complete awe at the wonderful spectacle I caught the following morning... out in the fields early, walking the dog, I was able to watch the skies shimmer, undulate and glow with every colour of the rainbow...

A magical moment on the morning of 2 Feb 2016

It honestly felt like the heavens had opened it was so utterly beautiful - and lasted for over an hour...

Spectacular nacreous clouds over East Yorkshire, 2 February 2016

The clouds seem to have been connected with Storm Henry, which was battering the country at the time.

Although I caught another glimpse of them in the early afternoon of that same day, as the storm moved off, the clouds disappeared, and I've had to since content myself with the everyday spectacles of sunrises, sunsets and interesting cloud formations.

It was an awesome thing to see though (ranking with the northern lights for excitement - which, incidentally, I've still to experience) and hard to convey the colours, glow, movement and shimmer in photos, and words...

Keep watching the skies - there are some wonderful things out there....

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