Is NASA investigating another UFO phenomenon? NASA launches website to report bright flashes in the sky known as sprites

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massive sprites captured 2015 in the sky over Poland
massive sprites captured 2015 in the sky over Poland. Photo: Martin Popek

It might sound like NASA is investigating another UFO sighting with its latest call for citizen scientists’ help, but the mysterious bright flashes known as “sprites” are a weather-related phenomenon (well, it looks alien to me!).

Sprites are a form of Transient Luminous Event or TLE and are often associated with thunderstorms. These bright light flashes happen above the storm in Earth’s upper atmosphere about 50 miles up, producing quick flashes of reddish light in various shapes.

Prepare now! Protect your home and cars againts EMP, solar flare and lightnings

According to NASA, it wasn’t until a 1989 accidental photograph of a sprite did scientists have tangible evidence for the flashes above thunderstorms.

Precisely what causes TLEs is still a mystery. Sprites were named for the fairy-like creatures in European folklore. Sticking with the theme, other TLEs are called ELVES, Halos, Blue Jets and Gigantic Jets.

Upper atmosphere lightnings
Different classes of upper atmosphere lightnings

To understand these quickly disappearing flashes, NASA announced a new citizen science project called Spritacular to crowdsource more information about electrical phenomena.

Prepare now! You will never go without electricity with this portable power station!

Spritacular principal investigator and NASA space physicist Burcu Kosar and his coinvestigators have created an image database of sprites and other TLEs. Someone who thinks they captured one on camera can submit the images at Spritacular.org, including details on when and where it was recorded.

Scientists will then review the photos. The images could lead to scientific discoveries where the photographer will be included as a coauthor on published studies.

People capture wonderful images of sprites, but they’re shared sporadically over the internet, and most of the scientific community is unaware of these captures,” Kosar said in a news release. “Spritacular will bridge this gap by creating the first crowdsourced database of sprites and other TLEs that is accessible and readily available for scientific research.

Prepare now! Stock up on Iodine tablets for the next nuclear disaster

Since launching the website, NASA has received reports of sprite sightings from around the world, including Texas, Hungary, Puerto Rico and Greece.

The main sponsors are NASA and the CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY of America… [Spritacular, NY Post]

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12 Comments

    • WOW! That must have been a powerful experience. A lightning once hit right on a cable in front of my house. The sound was so loud. Bright light! and suddenly smoke and bad smell coming out of the wall outlet. There is still a mark on one of the radiator…

      • Lol, yeah it sounds like a bomb going off, and the house shakes. I could feel the heat on my bare chest when I took that picture too. After that one, I decided to not do that anymore. Stay inside, use the window for observation.

  1. I think sprites are plasma and high energy. The reason they are interested in it is if they are more prevalent, then that means something is wrong with the amount of energy the atmosphere is getting slammed with. Which can cause all types of problems. And I believe that that is a huge problem we are facing. The earth is becoming unstable.

      • The earth groans w the sins of man. As man becomes more iniquitous, the earth will react in more disastrous ways. But also, the magnetosphere is becoming very unstable as well. Which allows more harmful energy to enter and affect the planet as well as its inhabitants. I believe it’s all interconnected thou.

  2. The TLE video was great (except when the masktarded up in the car). Never have I seen a sprite, elf, or troll (except that one troll out here that keeps peddling drivel).

    Glad to see the sprites on video. All I have seen are the still photos. Seems like this would be a good activity for people to get involved with and make a study.

    👍

    • Yes of course. This is very mysterious sky phenomenon on which we need much more information… Seeing more of them could mean that our atmosphere is too ‘electric’ compared to normal…

      • If you blink, then you will miss it. When I was photographing lightning, sometimes I would click the shutter as fast as possible trying to capture the lightning. Then after 200 frames would inspect what I had captured. Since digital camera shutter speeds are slower than the click, sometimes I would capture photos without lightning, but had other strange phenomenon.

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