Noctilucent, or “night-shining,” clouds (NLCs) are a spectacular optical nighttime phenomenon that is very often neglected in the context of atmospheric optics. This paper gives a brief overview of current understanding of NLCs by providing a simple physical picture of their formation, relevant observational characteristics, and scientific challenges of NLC research. Modern ground-based photographic NLC observations, carried out in the framework of automated digital camera networks around the globe, are outlined. In particular, the obtained results refer to studies of single quasi-stationary waves in the NLC field. These waves exhibit specific propagation properties—high localization, robustness, and long lifetime—that are the essential requisites of solitary waves.
© 2011 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 11, 2011
Revised Manuscript: July 29, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: August 5, 2011
Published: September 21, 2011
Audrius Dubietis, Peter Dalin, Ričardas Balčiūnas, Kazimieras Černis, Nikolay Pertsev, Vladimir Sukhodoev, Vladimir Perminov, Mark Zalcik, Alexander Zadorozhny, Martin Connors, Ian Schofield, Tom McEwan, Iain McEachran, Soeren Frandsen, Ole Hansen, Holger Andersen, Jesper Grønne, Dmitry Melnikov, Alexander Manevich, and Vitaly Romejko, "Noctilucent clouds: modern ground-based photographic observations by a digital camera network," Appl. Opt. 50, F72-F79 (2011)