Amazing Nacreous Clouds: Polar Stratospheric Clouds at McMurdo Station in Antarctica

The stratosphere is very dry and rarely allows clouds to form.

However, in the extreme cold of the polar winter, however, stratospheric clouds of different types may form. And theyx are out of this world.

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Deven Stross

These three pictures were shot over NASA’s Radome at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Look at the glowing, pearlescent skies.

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Deven Stross

These nacreous clouds are also called “polar stratospheric clouds” and get their brilliant, rainbow colors from sunlight that’s reflected from below the horizon. The clouds are so high — up to 82,000 feet above the Earth — that they continue to glow in these incredible hues long after the sun has gone down.

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Deven Stross

Unfortunately these clouds also contain nitric acid, which reacts with chlorine that’s released by industrial processes — and that little combination of chemicals tends to rip ozone to shreds. So this cloud may be beautiful, but it’s also destroying the atmosphere.

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