AIM Stories

The AIM mission above a cloudy Earth. AIM is shaped like a hollow hexagon, with to large panels like wings behind it. The Sun is rising on the other side of Earth.

Night-Shining Cloud Mission Ends; Yields High Science Results for NASA

5 min read

Editor’s Note: This article was edited to add information about mission partner institutions. After 16 years studying Earth’s highest clouds for the benefit of humanity – polar mesospheric clouds – from its orbit some 350 miles above the ground, NASA’s…

Article3 months ago

Rocket Launches Can Create Night-Shining Clouds Away from the Poles, NASA’s AIM Mission Reveals

4 min read

Near Earth’s North and South poles, wispy, iridescent clouds often shimmer high in the summertime sky around dusk and dawn. These night-shining, or noctilucent, clouds are sometimes spotted farther from the poles as well, at a rate that varies dramatically…

Article2 years ago

Tiny Meteors Leave Smoke in the Atmosphere. NASA’s Studying It.

6 min read

It’s time for the Geminids, the annual December meteor shower! Every year, Earth passes through the debris trail from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The pea-sized rocks it leaves behind burn up in our atmosphere, producing glowing trails in the night…

Article2 years ago

NASA’s AIM Sees First Night-Shining Clouds of Antarctic Summer

4 min read

Summer in Antarctica is marked by days in which the Sun never sets, balmy temperatures that hover as high as freezing, and electric-blue clouds of ice. NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere mission — AIM for short — spotted…

Article3 years ago

NASA’s AIM Spots First Arctic Noctilucent Clouds of the Season

3 min read

Ice-blue clouds are drifting high above the Arctic, which means the Northern Hemisphere’s noctilucent cloud season is here.   NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere spacecraft — AIM for short — first spotted wisps of these noctilucent, or night-shining,…

Article4 years ago

NASA Balloon Mission Captures Electric Blue Clouds

5 min read

On the cusp of our atmosphere live a thin group of seasonal electric blue clouds. Forming 50 miles above the poles in summer, these clouds are known as noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds — PMCs. A recent NASA long-duration…

Article6 years ago

Taking AIM at Night-Shining Clouds: 10 Years, 10 Science Highlights

6 min read

Launched on April 25, 2007, NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, mission, has provided a wealth of new science on the dynamics and composition of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Designed to study noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds, AIM’s data…

Article7 years ago

NASA’s AIM Observes Early Noctilucent Ice Clouds Over Antarctica

2 min read

Data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere – and an early one…

Article7 years ago

Appearance of Night-Shining Clouds Has Increased

4 min read

First spotted in 1885, silvery blue clouds sometimes hover in the night sky near the poles, appearing to give off their own glowing light. Known as noctilucent clouds, this phenomenon began to be sighted at lower and lower latitudes —…

Article10 years ago

Meteor Smoke Makes Strange Clouds

4 min read

Anyone who’s ever seen a noctilucent cloud or “NLC” would agree: They look alien. The electric-blue ripples and pale tendrils of NLCs reaching across the night sky resemble something from another world. Researchers say that’s not far off. A key…

Article12 years ago