Sprites and jets are ephemeral atmospheric phenomena, quite difficult to observe, let alone photograph.
But a new image from an observatory in Hawaii captures both a red sprite and a blue jet in the same shot. The picture, released on February 24, comes courtesy of a cloud cam at the Gemini North Telescope, which is part of the Gemini International Observatory located in Maunakea.
Sprites and jets are upper atmosphere phenomena caused by electric shocks. The sprites, which are usually reddish orange and sometimes blue-green, occur in the mesosphere, between 50 and 80 kilometers above sea level. They are often triggered by regular lightning at low altitudes, but their temperature is much cooler. They are also sometimes shaped like jellyfish. Blue jets also occur at high altitudes, triggered by a discharge of electricity from the positively charged upper part of a thunderstorm cloud to the top of the negatively charged cloud, according to an article published Jan. 20 in the journal Nature. They usually appear as blue streamers pulling towards space.
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The camera that captured the red sprite and the blue jet was a modification …
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