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SGL 2022 Challenge 5 - Noctilucent Cloud

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Apologies for the slightly late announceent of this challenge.

For the majority of SGL members the next 3 months are a difficult challenge given the short nights and, sometimes, a complete absence of "astronomical dark".  We now have a significant number of southern hemisphere members so I will try to ensure that Challenge 6 offers something for them.

We are about to come into noctilucent cloud season.  For those of you who aren't familiar with these beautiful but elusive clouds you can learn more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctilucent_cloud

Entries can be still images or animations.

Start date 1st May 2022

End date 31st July 2022

As previously the winner and runners up will receive an SGL challenge mug showing their image along with a virtual medal-of-honour for their SGL signature.

Please post entries directly into this thread

To keep the thread manageable for the judges please do not post comments about entries, emoji reactions are welcome of course.



All data must be captured and processed by you (no collaborative entries). 
Data must be captured during the challenge start & end dates. 
Multiple entries are allowed but please make a fresh post within the thread.
Multiple submissions of the same image, processed differently, will not be accepted.

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  • MartinB pinned this topic
  • 5 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, StuartT said:

interesting. I'd never heard of them. This may be a daft question, but how would I know if I've seen one? i.e. how do I know it's not just a regular cloud?

They glow in the dark!

Seriously, they do. That's the point about them - they are illuminated by the sun below the horizon. Here's a good article:



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Yep. They can appear bright and above lower-level clouds that are dark. Normally only an hour or so either side of astronomical midnight (1am). Here's a snap from last year:


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I first heard about them here, back in 2010:


I've read recently, that they require moisture and dust at certain altitudes to form. This dust was presumed to be from disintegrated meteors! Recent increases in pollution are thought to be making NLCs much more common.  I admit I'd never seen (or perhaps noticed) them until about 5 years ago.

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Last night Glendale App reported more than a few sightings. If anyone else uses the app, do you know how to add late reports of NLCs?


Looking Northwest from my location I suffer from a lot of sunglow, hence this image isn't brilliant - you can see slightly clearer on the time lapse. North is just on the edge of the forest in from the right on the image. Aurora cam setup - ZWO 178 MC run under AllSkyEye software.



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  • 2 weeks later...


All 3 of these images were taken at different focal lengths,

The image of the view from the inside of the porch door and the especially the version with the lights off was used at 18mm focal length, ISO 400, 2 second exposure, F/5.6

The closer view of the clouds was at 75mm focal length, ISO 400, 3.2 second exposure, F/5.6

All images were taken in the early hours of 12th July 2022.



Canon 600D (Camera Body)

Canon EF 18-55mm Lens, Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III (Camera Lenses)

Photoshop was used for post processing and used Camera Raw Filter.


Cheers, good luck to all, and clear skies.



Edited by WilliamAstro
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10 hours ago, Chefgage said:

This was taken hastily with my phone on the 17th June 2022 at 22:55

That's great though, almost like the street is hurtling through space and come across an edge-on galaxy.👍



Edited by BellP
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Here is an entry from the Netherlands, taken near Dorkwerd, in the province of Groningen, taken around 01:00 on June 23. Taken with my Canon EOS 90D, and 17-55 mm F/2.8 zoom. Raw file processed a little in Affinity Photo. I like the way the headlights of the car in the distance light up the mist lying over the fields.




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Early season faint and wispy noctilucent clouds over a derelict Greets Shooting House high on the moor between Swaledale and Wensleydale, N. Yorkshire.

Just before midnight June 1st.  Sky - 3.2s, f3.5, iso800, light painted foreground 3 x f6.3, 3.2s, iso400.  Canon 6D MkII, Sigma 105mm.  Processed in LR and PS.

Better when clicked.  Cheers, Paul.


IMG_8378-Edit 4K 05.jpg

Edited by clarkpm4242
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