NASA's AIM spacecraft is monitoring a 4 800-km wide (3000 miles) ring of noctilucent clouds circling high above Antarctica.
The 2018 southern hemisphere noctilucent season began on November 21, said Cora Randall, a member of the AIM science team at the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
"At first, the clouds covered only a small fraction of Antarctica, but now almost all of the continent is blanketed by NLCs," she said.
This four-week time-lapse video shows their development since late November:
"If you think strange clouds in the atmosphere over remote Antarctica are of little practical interest, think again," Dr. Tony Phillips of the SpaceWeather.com said.
"Researchers have discovered unexpected teleconnections between noctilucent clouds and weather patterns thousands of miles away. Would you believe that winter air temperatures in Indianapolis, Indiana, are correlated with NLCs over Antarctica? It's true. Understanding how these long-distance connections work could improve climate models mand weather forecasting."
Featured image: Noctilucent clouds over Antarctica on November 30, 2018. Credit: NASA/AIM, SpaceWeather