Polar mesospheric cloud (bright noctilucent cloud over Lake Saimaa, Finland): photo by Mika Yrjölä, August 2003
Night had fallen, but without his knowing whether it was only within him or in the room: to him everything now was night. And night was also in motion: darkness gave way to more darkness. But this darkness, different from what the eyes see, quivered with colors issuing, as it were, from the very absence of color: black turned to livid green, and then to pure white; that pure, pale white was transmuted into a red gold, although the original blackness remained, just as the fires of the stars and the northern lights pulsate in what is, notwithstanding, total night. For an instant which seemed to him eternal, a globe of scarlet palpitated within him, or perhaps outside him, bleeding on the sea. Like the summer sun in polar regions, that burning sphere seemed to hesitate, ready to descend one degree toward the nadir; but then, with an almost imperceptible bound upward, it began to ascend toward the zenith, to be finally absorbed in a blinding daylight which was, at the same time, night.
Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987), from The Abyss (first published in French as L'oeuvre au noir, 1968), translated by Grace Frick, 1976
A slice of Milky Way: photo by Mika Yrjölä, 15 September 2009