Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Space Lightning

They are known as "Sprites", and its basically lightning that comes out of the top of a thunderstorm and heads into space.  We are very accustomed to the typical cloud to ground lightning, but with the start of summer, there is plenty of thunderstorm activity, and some of these storms are showcasing, "Sprites". 

It doesn't end there, an avid observer has taken pictures of what he calls "Jellyfish Sprites".  "Lately there has been a bumper crop of sprites," explains Thomas Ashcraft, a longtime observer. "Here is one of the largest' 'jellyfish' sprites I have captured in the last four years."  

This diagram depicts where in the atmosphere, "Sprites", can be found.  

A commercial jet can fly around 8 miles high or around 15 kilometers.  This is still within the Troposphere where most of our weather takes place. 

You still have to travel over three times the distance to see this display.

The following "Sprite" outbreak was captured on June 23rd, from western Oklahoma. Observers say it was such a big show it was captured by Ashcraft as far away as New Mexico, some 289 miles away. Click on the link below for the images. (I like the audio crackle picked up from the energy charge in the atmosphere)

The video shows the "Sprites" taken at different speeds. The last take is the most impressive.
Ashcraft says these "Jellyfish Sprites" were 40 miles tall and 46 miles wide dwarfing Mt. Everest!

"Sprites" were discovered by pictures taken from the Space Shuttle back in 1989. They are a unique space phenomenon that demands plenty of study.

So the next time you are talking lightning, you can impress your friends with a "Sprite"!
((Mr.Ashcraft's interview and images courtesy of

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