Aug 18, 2015

Astronauts Capture Rare Photograph of a Red Sprite

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

Astronauts captured a red sprite from their vantage point on the International Space Station. The vibrant jellyfish is part of a thunderstorm that raged over Mexico in early August.

Red sprites are bright flashes that happen directly above thunderstorms with more mundane cloud-to-ground or intracloud lightning strikes. The sprites are brightest at an altitude of 65 to 75 kilometers (40 to 46 miles), but can extend as faint wisps as low as 30 kilometers and as high as 95 kilometers (18 to 59 miles). The sprites are red at the highest altitude, fading to blue at lower altitudes. The largest sprites cluster together in a clump of tendrils up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) across, looking vaguely like red glowing jellyfish.

Astronauts Capture Rare Photograph of a Red Sprite.

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