Sprites, Elves, Ghost, Blue jets and St. Elmo’s fire.

There is a lot of magic that goes on in the atmosphere high above our heads These can be know as Transient Luminous Events. In this blog we explores this further. This is a blog I have been wanting to do for a while now.

Elves and Blue Jet

In 2019 the International Space Station caught image of the rare phenomena Elves and also a blue. This discovery was recently published in the journal Nature.

This is the video of the Elves and Blue jet.

Live Science explains more

Blue jets seem to appear when the positively-charged upper region of a cloud interacts with the negatively charged boundary between the cloud and the air above, according to the report. The blue jet appears as a result of this “electric breakdown,” where the opposing charges swap places in the cloud and briefly equalize, releasing static electricity. However, the properties of blue jets and the altitude to which they extend above clouds “are not well characterized,” the authors noted, so this study adds to our understanding of the dramatic phenomenon. 

Four of the flashes preceding the blue jet came with a small pulse of ultraviolet light (UV), the scientists noted. They identified these emissions as so-called “elves,” another phenomenon seen in the upper atmosphere. 

More here on this from Live Science.com https://www.livescience.com/blue-jets-of-lightning.html


Live Science explains about Sprites below https://www.livescience.com/42731-weird-lightning-types.html#:~:text=Elves%2C%20sprites%20and%20blue%20jets,miles%20(300%20kilometers)%20wide.

Sprites are more than just mythical creatures — they are a mysterious form of lightning that dances near the edge of space. They are reddish bursts of electricity at altitudes of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) that last less than a second but are bright enough to see in daylight. These enigmas are often shaped like jellyfish, starting as balls of light that rapidly stream downward, but can also look like crowns or carrots.

On Weather brains 766 they chat with a sprite chaser called Paul Smith. Its about 10 mins into the youtube video when they start chatting to him. But its a fascinating listen

St Elmo’s Fire

This was recently spotted by a Military Plane this from the New York Post https://nypost.com/2020/10/08/rare-weather-phenomenon-st-elmos-fire-spotted-from-military-plane/?fbclid=IwAR2cmqt2KHifLc4aGuNNppGxu4sSs6BlaZxXdBiw19lNh-CfTGGDGZSnYFE

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the phenomenon, also known as a corona discharge, is “commonly observed on the periphery of propellers and along the wingtips, windshield and nose of aircraft flying in dry snow, in ice crystals or near thunderstorms.”

When it appears in a strong electric field in the atmosphere, it’s also commonly accompanied by a “cracking or hissing noise.”

St. Elmo’s Fire is typically seen during thunderstorms when the ground below the storm is electrically charged, and there is high voltage in the air between the cloud and the ground, according to Scientific American.

This is the footage from Twitter of the crew flying with St Elmo’s Fire


Another remarkable phenomena in the atmosphere this below comes from Wikipedia.

Ghosts (Green emissions from excited Oxygen in Sprite Tops) are faint, green glows that appear after red sprites, fading away in milliseconds.[28] They were first observed in 2019 by professional storm chaser Pecos Hank.[29] No scientific journals exist on these phenomena yet due to their recent discovery, but they have been observed on footage. Their green glow has been hypothesized by its observers to come from excited oxygen atoms, much as how auroras appear green, however, this is unconfirmed.

Above from Video is Pecos Hanks Capture of the Sprite and Green Ghost.


Like sprites, elves are reddish, ultra-fast bursts of electricity bright enough to see during the daytime high in the Earth’s atmosphere. But elves are ring-shaped halos that can spread to more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) wide. 


Blue Jets

Blue jets are cones of blue light brighter than sprites that spray upward from the tops of thunderclouds up to an altitude of about 25 miles (40 kilometers) at speeds of about 22,370 mph (36,000 km/h). They most frequently happen early in thunderstorms, and seem to be linked with strong hail.


This final video takes you on a 10 min Journey of how Paul Smith and Pecos Hank track and discover these events and what they have captured.

I hope you enjoy this blog and find it educational.

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