An enormous and mysterious ring of light appeared near the edge of space on April 2, 2017.
What is this gigantic, donut-shaped appariton high above a thunderstorm in the Czech republic? A wormhole?
“It appeared for just a millisecond alongside the constellation Orion” explained astrophotographer Martin Popek.
According to SpaceWeather.com, this is one of the very best example of a rare ELVE (Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources).
First seen by cameras on the space shuttle in 1990, ELVEs appear when a pulse of electromagnetic radiation from lightning propagates up toward space and hits the base of Earth’s ionosphere. A faint ring of light marks the broad ‘spot’ where the EMP hits.
ELVEs are elusive, blinking in and out of existence in only 1/1000th of a second and thus completely invisible to the human eye. For comparison, red sprites tend to last for hundredths of a second and regular lightning can scintillate for a second or more. Their brevity explains why ELVEs are a more recent discovery than other lightning-related phenomenon.
ELVES often appear alongside red sprites. Indeed, Popek’s camera caught a cluster of sprites dancing nearby the ~100 km ring.
What a mysterious phenomenon at the edge of space!