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Old 06-18-2009, 03:19 AM   #1
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Default "Sprite" Lightning

Across the pond in Spain, an atmospheric scientist snapped a photo of a strange, jellyfish-shaped lightning, called a "sprite." Sprites, first discovered in 1989, are dark-red flashes of light that appear high above thunderstorms, lasting only 3-10 milliseconds. Scientists still don't know what causes the spooky sprites to appear, which have been linked to UFO sightings.

Here's some more......

Sprites over thunderstorms in Kansas on August 10, 2000

This dramatic, garishly colored image was captured with a low-light level camera on June 7, 2001. It shows what appears to be a "burning tree", or red sprite, above the National Cheng Kung University campus in Tainan City, Taiwan.

Oscar van der Velde captured this image of a carrot sprite as it flashed above a thunderstorm near the south coast of France in June.

Lasting just three milliseconds to 10 milliseconds, sprites are flashes of light that occur high above the tops of powerful thunderstorms and can travel up to 50 miles (80 km) high in the atmosphere, emitting deep red to near-infrared light.
"The exciting thing about this one is the level of detail revealed in the sprite by zooming in on the sky above storms," van der Velde told LiveScience. "You have to consider that I obtained the image from my own balcony within a small town with very basic equipment: a security camera fitted with a zoom lens, attached to a laptop with detection software."
(He used UFOCapture, motion capture software that starts recording when luminous phenomena are detected.)
Their brevity and somewhat erratic nature have made sprites elusive study subjects.
In fact, scientists are still trying to figure out just what causes sprites, with some attributing the electrical bursts to lightning and others to meteoric dust, gravity waves or something else completely. The flashes also have been linked with UFO sightings.
"Sprites are very difficult to observe with the naked eye, because they last no longer than the blink of an eye," van der Velde said. "And the light of the lightning flash from the distant storm top underneath is usually catching the attention instead."

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: "Sprite" Lightning

Not of this earth.

Interesting though.
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