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Red sprites over Nebraska, August 12, 2013 by Jason Ahrns

Sprites are large electrical discharges that occur above thunderstorms. They resemble reddish-orange jellyfish with bluish tentacles streaming down. But while sprites require thunderstorms, not all thunderstorms produce sprites.

The new study found that irregularities in the plasma in the ionosphere – the layer about 37 to 56 miles (60 to 90 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface – are responsible for the formation of these ghost-like flashes in the sky.

Several sources could be causing these irregularities in the plasma like the existence of a previous sprite, and meteors.

Here a high speed sprite video:

Scientific paper and source

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