Mysterious, Glowing Clouds Appear Across America’s Night Skies
Zecharia 14 : 5-7
Thus the LORD my God will come,
And all the saints with You.
6 It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
7 It shall be one day
Which is known to the LORD—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
- These are rather beautiful luminous clouds that are visible at night. Wired Science reports :
Mysterious, glowing clouds previously seen almost exclusively in Earth’s polar regions have appeared in the skies over the United States and Europe over the past several days.
Formed by ice literally at the boundary where the earth’s atmosphere meets space 50 miles up, they shine because they are so high that they remain lit by the sun even after our star is below the horizon.
The clouds might be beautiful, but they could portend global changes caused by global warming. Noctilucent clouds are a fundamentally new phenomenon in the temperate mid-latitude sky, and it’s not clear why they’ve migrated down from the poles. Or why, over the last 25 years, more of them are appearing in the polar regions, too, and shining more brightly.
“That’s a real concern and question,” said James Russell, an atmospheric scientist at Hampton University and the principal investigator of an ongoing NASA satellite mission to study the clouds. “Why are they getting more numerous? Why are they getting brighter? Why are they appearing at lower latitudes?”
Noctilucent clouds were first observed in 1885 by an amateur astronomer. No observations of anything resembling noctilucent clouds before that time has ever been found. There is no lack of observations of other phenomena in the sky, so atmospheric scientists are fairly sure that the phenomenon is recent, although they are not sure why.
Over the last 125 years, scientists have learned how the clouds form. At temperatures around minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit, dust blowing up from below or falling into the atmosphere from space provides a resting spot for water vapor to condense and freeze. Right now, during the northern hemisphere’s summer, the atmosphere is heating up and expanding. At the outside edge of the atmosphere, that actually means that it’s getting colder because it’s pushed farther out into space.
The recent observations of noctilucent clouds at all kinds of latitudes provide an extra impetus to understand what is going on up there. Changes are occurring faster than scientists can understand their causes. “I suspect, as many of us feel, that it is global change, but I fear we don’t understand it,” Wickwar said. “It’s not as simple as a temperature change.”
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