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Breathtaking space clouds seen over Sunderland

Noctilucent clouds in Sunderland skies

Noctilucent clouds in Sunderland skies

THE skies above Sunderland were filled with a breathtaking phenomenon this morning.

Photographer Matt Robinson captured this amazing picture of noctilucent clouds from Seaburn beach at 2am today.

The astronomical phenomena are formed from tiny ice crystals on the edge of space, 250,000ft above the earth.

Matt said noctilucent clouds – loosely translated as “night shining” clouds – can only been seen in certain conditions.

“They happen in the summer months between May and August when the sun doesn’t set to far below the horizon,” he said.

“They are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow.

“There weren’t any recordings of them before 1885, so they are a relatively new phenomenon and could be linked to global warming.”

The clouds are more usually spotted at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator, and can only be observed when the sun is below the horizon.

•Matt sent us the pictures of this amazing phenomenon using our new photo-sharing box.

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