Sunday May 31st 2020 – N Norfolk Noctilucent Event

Well its been a while since I posted a blog post. Since last August in Arizona in fact and so much has changed in that time from CoronaVirus wiping out our Storm Chasing Season to Civil War now erupting in the USA.

I have been trying to keep myself busy over the past 3 months of being at home, have ventured out to take pictures of the Red Arrows, A couple of Spitfires and some nature shots. Recently with the warm weather was hoping for some Thunderstorms in the Uk but alas its been abysmal here as well luckily in the USA with one of the slowest Tornado Seasons on Record which is a slight comfort. I also seem to have a Pet Fox who visits every night and is even eating from my outstretched hand.

Thoughts are now turning to NLC (Noctilucent Clouds) as the season started the last few days of May and runs until the start of August. These clouds are 80km up in the Mesosphere and much like the Aurora these are very hard to predict. We do have some NASA Satelites including the AIM/DAISY programme which sends back images unfortunately these are 2 days old by the time they come back to us mortals on Planet Earth. I have tried to work out a theory from those images as to when they might be visible in Europe and had some success so far with predictions for 25/26th May and 30/31st coming true. The NLC’s are viewable over these  2 months from latitudes from 50N to 60N. Which luckily includes all of the Uk with Cornwall at 50N and Northern Scotland at 60N.

So on the evening of Saturday 30th May and the morning of Sunday 31st May I ventured with some of the other storm chase regulars upto the North Norfolk Coast. We started in Burham Overy Staithe but felt the views there we not as good as first thought so headed east to Morston Quay and watched the sun set. We then sat and waited and waited and waited…….. Then at about 1130pm another Astro Photographer shouted to us that he was picking up some small traces of the NLC on his camera to the North. It was now game on and hopefully the NLC display would get stronger as we went into the early hours. The first picture I got on the camera was at 0015am.

We continued to shoot as the event ramped up even more and now we could even see the NLC’s dancing with our own eyes. The first display which started in the North was moving to the North West and waning but another area much higher up in the sky was really becoming visible to the North North East.

This was really outperforming expectations now and seeing as these are usually only visible from June and July we were being treated to one hell of a show.

Jonathan who was with me had a much larger lens and zoomed in on the ripple effect in the clouds and you can see his picture below – A Stunning Shot.

Knowing I had a 2 hour 45 minute drive to get home due to Coronavirus lockdown rules still in the Uk I begrudgingly departed at 240am and got back home at 515am with birds singing their heads off.

Conclusion this is not for the feint hearted and if you like your sleep definately not for you but we had a blast and got some amazing pictures and if asked to do it again I would jump at the chance. I am now in the process of scouting out other locations as the season ramps up proper during June and July so expect to see some more events hopefully soon.

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