True-colour image of red sprite lightning

True-colour image of red sprite lightning

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Credit: DANIEL L. OSBORNE, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA/ DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Red sprite lightning. First true-colour image of red sprite lightning above a thunderstorm. Red sprites typically extend from the cloud tops, which here are at an altitude of 16.5 kilometres (km), up to the ionosphere at 95 km. They last for a few milliseconds and are barely visible to the naked eye. Red sprites are associated with the most energetic positive-charge cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. These may leave uncompensated negative charge in and above the cloud. This may lead to quasi-electrostatic fields which cause ionization and light. Photographed at an altitude of 12.9 kilometres on 3 July 1994 over the USA.

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Keywords: climate, electrical storm, lightning, meteorology, red, red sprite, red sprite lightning, sprite, sprite lightning, storms, weather

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