How It Works

What are red sprites and blue jets?

Worry not, this is not the coming of Cthulhu...

These are both atmospheric and electrical phenomena that take place in the upper atmosphere, and are also known as upper-atmosphere discharge. They take place above normal lightning; blue jets occur around 40-50 kilometres (25-30 miles) above the Earth, while red sprites are higher at 50-100 kilometres (32-64 miles). Blue jets happen in cone shapes above thunderstorm clouds, and are not related to lightning. They’re blue due to ionised emissions from nitrogen. Red sprites can appear as different shapes and have hanging tendrils. They occur when positive lightning goes from the cloud to the ground.