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Lightning Shooting Electrical Changes 50 Miles Above A T-Storm? An Explanation Of Sprites!

Everyone knows what lightning is, but not everyone understands what a "sprite" is... and I am not referring to the soda. :) Sometimes when lightning strikes, it can cause an electrical emission that fires upward in the atmosphere to around 50 miles! These electric discharges upward in the atmosphere called "sprites" are nearly impossible to see from the ground, especially in our area. However, to our west in the Rockies, many can actually see these electrical discharges into the upper atmosphere. Here is a picture that was taken this weekend of some sprites from Oklahoma storms.




Probably the most difficult part about studying sprites is that they don't last long. In fact, most sprites only last about 50 milliseconds. Since sprites are so quick, many scientists thought they were not real but simply observed by people with overactive imaginations ... until they were confirmed in 1989 by the space shuttle. There have been a number of studies, but the 2000 study was most definitive in proving they form from very strong, intense lightning strikes. These very intense lightning strikes can create electric fields above storms resulting in that massive discharges that can extend 50 miles above a storm! Now that you know what they are it is time to see them with your own eyes!



I have never seen a sprite first hand, but I would LOVE to see them from the Rockies someday!!!




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