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How to See a Red Sprite. Actually, there are three types of lightning originating from various altitudes of the atmosphere: cloud to air, cloud to cloud, and cloud to ground. Sprites are a type of transient luminous event, like lightning, but fainter, faster and significantly larger, Jessica Leigh Hester explains for Atlas Obscura.Stephen Hummel, a … This phenomenon occurs in the sky over our heads, not the sea. Rather, these flashes happen in the Earth’s mesosphere, up to 50 miles high in the sky. Three different types of optical phenomena have been observed at high altitude above thunderstorms: an enhanced airglow (“elves”) at roughly ∼90 km; a reddish glow (“sprites”) from 50 to 90 km; and an upward moving, bluish emission (“jets”) below 40 km. For every cloud-to-ground strike, there can be three to five cloud-to-cloud strikes. Interesting Lightning Facts: 21-25. A similar observatory is in the Pyrenees range of southern France. They can be seen from space as they extend up to 60 miles above a cloud top. The sprites appear as short-lived bursts of red light with various physical shapes (jellyfish sprite, column sprite, and carrot sprite are the most common categories of their visual appearance). 21. We do know that red sprites and elves occur over cloud-to-ground lightning bolts. A Forked Lightning is a type of lightning that can be a CG lightning, a CC lightning or a CA lightning. Jellyfish lightning, also known as sprites, are red flashes of light that last for a few seconds. 1990; Boccippio et al. This type of lightning looks like a bright flicker in a cloud. Two types of quick, bright flashes of light, called blue sprites and elves, have been detected in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter by NASA's Juno mission. They only accompany bolts of lightning over 10 times more powerful than normal lightning. All are associated with severe thunderstorms. Scientists are still figuring it out, but what we do know is fascinating. The bizarre weather phenomenon is actually the result of red sprites, a type of electrical discharge that happens much higher up than conventional-looking lightning. Blue jets occur in the stratosphere and have been observed by pilots. It happened twice in the skies over the middle of the country for just a split second -- and he managed to catch both occurrences. Here’s an overview BY LAYER OF ATMOSPHERE SPRITES. They can reach all the way to the mesosphere! Statistics: an average bolt of negative lightning carries a current of 30 kiloamperes, transfers a charge of 5 coulombs, has a potential difference of about 100 megavolts, and lasts a few milliseconds. These lightning types include: red sprites, blue jets, and elves. Here are some of the rarest, weirdest, and scariest forms of lightning out there. When people think of lightning, the image that springs to mind is the dramatic cloud to ground strike. Some types of lightning are also deadlier than others. A more recently discovered class of lightning occurs above the cloud layer, jumping from the tops of clouds into the stratosphere. Aug 27, 2013 - From ball lightning and blue jets to elves and sprites, thunderstorms have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Red sprites, as one major type of lightning-induced transient luminous events (TLEs) above thunderstorms, are short-lived (typically < 20 ms) structured optical emis-sions that could be observed from both ground-based (Franz et al. Sprites are only found where lightning is present, but spotting sprites isn't easy. Sprite Lightning in HD . There are three types of this rare lightning that have been discovered; red sprites, blue jets, and elves. This, in turn, triggers activity in the atmosphere above the storm: a sprite. 2013; Sato et al. Special viewing sites are needed to see sprites, as they always hide above thunderstorms. Sprites occur when lightning bolts funnel positive charge from cloud to ground, leaving the cloud negatively charged. Sprite Observing . 2008; Jehl et al. Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges which occur high above a thunderstorm cloud, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes.They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground. These two types of atmospheric glows form when lightning alters electric fields in the atmosphere above a storm. Red sprites usually occur during a cloud-to-ground lightning strike. Types of lightning. 2015). At the Yucca Ridge Field Station, run by FMA Research in northern Colorado, sprite-watchers can see lightning from storms 1,000 kilometers away over the Great Plains. Spring thunderstorms often produce the year’s first big bursts of upward-directed lightning. Lightning sprites are offshoots of large-scale electrical discharges that take place high in Earth’s atmosphere, above thunderstorms. Jellyfish sprite – very large, up to 50 by 50 km (31 by 31 mi). Jupiter is the first planet other than Earth seen to host what appear to be atmospheric light shows called “sprites” or “elves.” Understanding light and other forms of energy on the move. Pinterest; Facebook; Twitter; Email; There's more to lightning than just the bolt emoji or the little streak on Harry Potter's forehead. Ever wonder how lightning works? characteristics of infrasound from lightning and sprites when these kinds of sources were close to the sensors (that is, for lightning distances lower than 100 km and sprite distances lower than 300 km). Even though sprites have been recorded for over 30 years, their root cause remains unknown. Red sprites usually occur above a large thunderstorm and are normally a red color. Sprites have been observed over North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Central Africa (), Australia, the Sea of Japan and Asia and are believed to occur during most large thunderstorm systems.. Rodger (1999) categorized three types of sprites based on their visual appearance. It looks like branched jagged lines and is capable of striking at a distance of 10 miles from the thunderstorm. This type of lightning is known as negative lightning due to the discharge of negative charge from the cloud, and accounts for over 95% of all lightning. These flashes are one in a motley menagerie of sprite types. All of Earth weather occurs in the troposphere (4 to 12 miles above us). May 13, 2019 - From ball lightning and blue jets to elves and sprites, thunderstorms have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Sprites are often considered to be a type of upper atmospheric lightning. While similar to regular lightning, which shoots between electrically charged air, clouds, and the ground, sprites happen much farther from Earth's surface. Despite this, lightning inside a cloud or that goes cloud-to-cloud is the most common type of lightning. Positive Lightning. Some thunderstorms have them, but most don't. These lightning types are known as red sprites, elves and blue jets. Elves, like sprites, occur over an area of active cloud-to-ground lightning, and are also found in the ionosphere. 2004; Chen et al. Here’s an interesting fact: Lightning sprites and TLE s do not happen in our normal thunderstorms with rain clouds. https://earthsky.org/earth/definition-what-are-lightning-sprites March 7, 2020: Sprite season is coming. The same storms that produce superbolts frequently have enough energy to produce other types of lightning as well; red sprites and blue jets both form in the region miles above a severe thunderstorm, close to space, while ball lightning is regarded by scientists as one of the most curious forms of lightning to date. Another type of lightning occurs when some strokes actually emit from the ground into the sky. 1995; Lyons 1996; Yair et al. It is a type of lightning known as red sprite, and rarely has it ever been photographed in this detail. We still lack full knowledge about these forms of lightning. 2.4.2 Convective Storm Types and TLEs 39 2.5 Research Frontiers 41 xi v. SPRITES, ELVES AND INTENSE LIGHTNING DISCHARGES 2.5.1 Importance 42 2.5.2 Outstanding Research Questions 43 Acknowledgments 44 THE MICROPHYSICAL AND ELECTRICAL PROPERTIES OF SPRITE-PRODUCING THUNDERSTORMS 57 Earle Williams and Y. 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