NASA photographed noctilucent clouds

The mission of the Space Agency, named PMC Turbo, was held in July for five days. During this time, NASA cameras, mounted on a balloon, captured a rare atmospheric phenomenon – mesospheric clouds, also known as noctilucent clouds. Now came out a report on this mission.

Noctilucent clouds are extremely rarefied clouds that arise in the mesosphere at an altitude of 80 kilometers. They consist of ice crystals, but the nature of their nuclei is still not fully known. Meteorologists prefer a hypothesis, whose consonants are meteorite remains. The clouds form in the summer between 43 and 65 degrees north and south latitude. In this case, they are visible only at dusk after sunset, when the low layers of the atmosphere are in the terrestrial shadow.

The formation of noctilucent clouds is influenced by atmospheric gravitational waves formed as a result of flow of mountain streams by mountain streams. These waves, passing through the storm areas, can twist into a tornado, so their study is important for meteorology.

On July 8, NASA launched a large balloon into the mesosphere. He was attached to the cargo with seven high-resolution cameras and a lidar. All cameras formed a mosaic that covered 160 kilometers. The ball was sent from the Esrange missile test site (Sweden), five days later he arrived in Nunavut (Canada). During the flight, the cameras made six million photographs, totaling 120 terabytes.

Bernd Kaifler (Bernd Kaifler), who participated in the development of the experimental installation, said that the researchers received at this stage:

“We already know the two-dimensional structure of waves, based on the photographs, but to make a complete description, the third dimension is necessary. Lidar data allowed us to establish a vertical wave structure that we would not have received using only images. ”

Later, PMC Turbo information will serve to refine the weather forecast and a better understanding of the processes taking place in the upper atmosphere not only of the Earth, but also of other planets – for example, Mars, where silvery clouds also form.