Credit & Copyright: Nicolas EscuratExplanation: Sometimes lightning occurs out near space. One such lightning type is red sprite lightning, which has only been photographed and studied on Earth over the past 25 years. The origins of all types of lightning remain topics for research, and scientists are still trying to figure out why red sprite lightning occurs at all. Research has shown that following a powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike, red sprites may start as 100-meter balls of ionized air that shoot down from about 80-km high at 10 percent the speed of light. They are quickly followed by a group of upward streaking ionized balls. Featured here is an extraordinarily high-resolution image of a group of red sprites. This image is a single frame lasting only 1/25th of a second from a video taken above Castelnaud Castle in Dordogne, France, about three weeks ago. The sprites quickly vanished -- no sprites were visible even on the very next video frame.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: lightning
Publications with words: lightning
- APOD: 2023 September 18 Á The Red Sprite and the Tree
- APOD: 2023 June 25 Á Lightning on Jupiter
- APOD: 2023 April 17 Á ELVES Lightning over Italy
- Star Trails and Lightning over the Pyrenees
- Red Sprite Lightning over the Czech Republic
- Gigantic Jet Lightning from Puerto Rico
- Lightning and Orion Beyond Uluru