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2023: the mystery of dim silvery clouds and their connection with the activity of the Sun

Added Mon, 03/07/2023
Дата публикации
Mon, 03/07/2023

The solar cycle, NASA's AIM spacecraft and mysterious silvery clouds (NLC) - all these elements have become the main characters of 2023. But what happens to these unusual clouds and why have they become less bright and rare? Let's figure out this riddle.

NLCs, or silvery clouds, are a unique phenomenon in the night sky. They form every summer when water rises to the edge of space and crystallizes around the disintegrated meteoroids, creating electric blue structures. These clouds can be observed at altitudes of more than 80 km and they have become an object of interest for many photographers and scientists.

However, something went wrong in 2023. NASA's iconic AIM spacecraft, which used to provide us with stunning images of silvery clouds, has broken down. The main battery of the ship failed, depriving it of energy and the opportunity to observe these beautiful phenomena from space. Thus, we were left without the main source of information about the NLC.

But that's not all. The clouds themselves also failed. Ruslan Merzlyakov, a photographer from Denmark, shared his experience photographing NLC and noticed that the season for him did not begin even after the summer solstice. He noted that this year the clouds have become dimmer and less common than before. What could have caused such a change?

One of the possible factors that can influence the brightness and frequency of the appearance of NLC is the activity of the Sun. In 2023, the Sun was particularly active and emitted strong ultraviolet radiation that reached the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere. These high-energy photons can hinder the formation of ice crystals in the mesosphere, which in turn suppresses the formation of NLCs.

The solar cycle is a periodic change in the activity of the Sun, which lasts about 11 years. During this period, the Sun goes through periods of increased and decreased activity. In 2023, we are at the peak of the solar cycle activity, which may explain the increased ultraviolet radiation and its negative impact on the NLC.

However, despite these assumptions, scientists are still investigating this topic and trying to find more accurate answers to questions about the causes of changes in the brightness and prevalence of NLC in 2023.

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