Extremely rare nacreous clouds amaze sky watchers in the North East

Rare ‘rainbow clouds’ spotted in the skies above Northumberland have left watchers amazed by their vibrant colours.

Nacreous clouds are described by the Met Office as ‘very rare’ and ‘extremely high clouds’ that form in the lower stratosphere over polar regions, when the sun is just below the horizon, at about 70,000 to 100,000 feet above the earth's surface.

The UK is currently under a polar vortex meaning, because it is winter, the conditions are just right to see the stunning spectacle that is typically seen more in places with higher latitudes like Canada and Scandinavia.

Many people, who don’t know what they’re looking at, have described the clouds as looking like an oil spill or as iridescent pearls, with another name for them being mother of pearl clouds.

The best time to catch a glimpse of them is at dusk and dawn, when the sun is just below the horizon and the high altitude along with the curvature of the Earth’s surface, helps the clouds to become lit up by sunlight from below before it reflects back to the ground.

Here’s some of the stunning displays captured in Northumberland and around the North East.