Nacreous clouds

June 27th, 2006

Well, you wait three months for a video and then two come along at once! Today we had our first sight of nacreous clouds – beautiful bright white clouds that form in the upper atmosphere and reflect the low sun. When viewed with the naked eye (though sadly not in any photos) they have an iridescent colouring, like mother-of-pearl.

Nacreous clouds
Nacreous clouds – the bright white clouds in the centre of the picture

Anyway, I took advantage of a nice day with interesting clouds to take a timelapse video from the Ops Tower. This is just over five hours, starting at 1120 in the morning, sped up to last two-and-a-half minutes. There’s no sound. Enjoy!

nacreous clouds timelapse

As well as the clouds, if you look carefully, you should see blowing snow, a brief drop in visibility, two people skiing on the sea ice, two people digging out the door of the Miracle Span (the building that looks like an overgrown pigsty) and at least two skidoos.

Like all my videos, this one is MPEG-4 AVC (aka H.264) – if your chosen media player won’t play it, try QuickTime, Media Player Classic or Nero ShowTime.

3 Responses to “Nacreous clouds”

  1. Matthew Says:

    the Miracle Span (the building that looks like an overgrown pigsty)

    So what’s the skeletal building next to it? Is it a new building under construction or an old building which has been robbed to build others?

  2. Michael P-J Says:

    It’s a new building under construction – provisionally called New Bransfield House. When it’s finished next season, it’ll house the kitchen and dining room, food stores, bar, library, an office for visiting scientists and the post office. There’s a long-term plan to rebuild the entire base, stage by stage. The next stage is a new physical science and operations building, including a new control tower, which will be built to the left of New Bransfield as seen in the timelapse.

  3. Cy Says:

    I thought nacreous clouds had something to do with volcanic activity and orographic uplifts near mountain ranges. They look much higher than the other cloud base – are they stratospheric?

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