Friday, June 29, 2007

Mysterious clouds shining out of polar regions

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A new NASA satellite has recorded the first detailed images from space of a mysterious type of cloud called “night-shining” or “noctilucent.” The clouds are on the move, brightening and creeping out of polar regions, and researchers don't know why.

"These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed," said atmospheric scientists James Russell III of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

The clouds form 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, in an upper layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere. The puffs of water vapor and crystals appear during summer months above the Northern Hemisphere's pole as well the Southern Hemisphere’s pole in summer.

Source : LiveScience




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