Noctilucent clouds spotted over Scotland

Noctilucent cloud above East Lothian. Picture: Jim Hunter
Noctilucent cloud above East Lothian. Picture: Jim Hunter
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RARE noctilucent clouds have been spotted over the Scottish night sky this week, as this stunning photo shows.

Photographer Jim Hunter took the snap from his home in Humbie, East Lothian, showing the clouds which are formed of ice crystals sitting on the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

These crystals reflect the twilight sun towards the ground, producing displays not unlike the famous Northern Lights.

Described as ‘the most exotic and rarest’ of clouds, noctilucent clouds are only visible in summer twilight, and only when looking north.

The clouds are in the mesosphere, between 30 and 50 miles above the earth’s surface. This is the only reason that they can be seen at all - because they are so high up, noctilucent clouds remain in sunlight even after the sun has set at ground level.

• Follow Jim’s photographs on his BlipFoto account