NLC Photo gallery: Summer 2008
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Summer 2009
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  Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you've probably spotted a noctilucent cloud. Although noctilucent clouds appear most often at arctic latitudes, they have been sighted in recent years as far south as Colorado, Utah and possibly Virginia. NLCs are seasonal, appearing most often in late spring and summer. In the northern hemisphere, the best time to look would be between mid-May and the end of August. See also 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008
  Photographer, Location Images Comments

Mark Seibold,
Mount Tabor in Central Portland Oregon
Jul. 23, 2009
#1, #2, more

I ensconced myself on top of Mount Tabor in central Portland Oregon to render a pastel sketch of the two day old crescent moon observed through a Nexstar 5i Cassegrain as one of my usual works. As I was showing the public the moon setting onto Portland's West Hills through the telescope, I noticed a strange silver light in what appeared as the north-northwest sky lighting up with I thought was aurora borealis. I then realized that I was seeing the most amazing display of noctilucent clouds that I had ever witnessed. Perhaps my first ever. I had to drop the pastel chalks, grab the camera and take a vantage point on the slopes of the west of Mt Tabor over the large reservoir with the city skyline to the west. It was at 10:15PM PDT, an hour and a half after sunset in dark sky with only a hint of twilight glow at the horizons edge. **The pastel artwork was inhibited by the photography but should follow soon.

Vince Varnas,
Portland, Oregon
Jul. 23, 2009

For the third time this month, we had noctilucent clouds over Portland, Oregon. I photographed them from my roof top. They were brightest at 9:54 P.M. They started out as iridescent white around 9:40 P.M. and became iridescent blue at 9:54 P.M., when I took this photo. I used a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 17-40mm, f/4L lens at about 30mm setting. I set my camera at 400 ISO and center-weighted the meter for a 1.5 sec. exposure and at f/4

Benjamin Monjay,
Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Jul. 23, 2009
#1, #2, #3

The best display of NLC's that I have ever seen! I took these at the North end of the Hillsboro Airport, Oregon (KHIO).

Brian Chilcoat,
Spokane, Washington, USA
Jul. 23, 2009

Captured with Sony DSC-W170, ISO 100, f/4.0 2"

Paul Wagner,
Portland, Oregon, USA.
Jul. 23, 2009
#1, #2

We stepped out to catch the ISS/Shuttle flyover, but that performance was outstaged by one of the most spectacular NLC displays I've ever witnessed! Photo details: Casio Exilim, 6MP, night mode.

Andrew Robb,
Beaverton Oregon USA
Jul. 23, 2009
#1, #2, #3, #4

They're back! NLC's are back over Oregon in full force. They came through like a storm, they were the brightest I've seen yet over the Portland area, and they really had a nice variety of forms. What a Sight! Canon EOS 30" exposure

more images: from Andrew Nawrot of Portland, Oregon; from Verene Lystad of Seattle, Washington; from Ray Gilmore of Gig Harbor Washington; from Austin James of Redmond, Oregon; from Linda Neilsen of Seattle area, Washington


Northern Lights Photo Gallery: A solar wind stream hit Earth on May 20th causing a mild geomagnetic storm and Northern Lights around the Arctic Circle. The auroras of May 21st were so bright, they were visible in the twilight blue sky above Nunavik, Quebec.

"The sky is blue at 1 o'clock in the morning when I took these pictures," says photographer Sylvain Serre. "At our latitude at this time of year, it is blue all night long--and it's never a dark blue. So, at 1 o'clock in the morning, the sky is bright and I can see only a few stars."

In spite of this extra glare, Serre was able to see the auroras. "I saw them with my unaided eyes. The clouds made it difficult, but the clouds were moving slowly while the northern lights were moving faster." This, plus the green color of the auroras, made it possible to sort things out.