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Early-morning risers were treated to a rare and stunning show in the skies north of Newcastle.

Rare noctilucent clouds, which can only be seen when the sun is below the horizon, illuminated the dawn and provided the perfect opportunity for these snaps that will make you want to drop everything and drive up the A1.

Rare noctilucent clouds over Tynemouth Priory
(Owen Humphreys/PA)
Rare noctilucent clouds over Whitley Bay beach
(Owen Humphreys/PA)
Rare noctilucent clouds over Tynemouth Priory
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

The clouds sit up to 53 miles above the Earth’s surface and are made of ice crystals and are a part of the pervasive polar cloud layer.

They are most commonly seen in summer months, between 50 degrees and 65 degrees north or south of the Equator, but you have to be up early as they slip out of view as the sun rises.

Rare noctilucent clouds fade away over St Mary's lighthouse
(Owen Humphreys/PA)
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