Weather News

Jul 21, 2014 11:46 AM by Stephen Bowers

Rare Atmospheric Electricity Seen Over New Mexico

Red sprites are rare electrical discharges in the atmosphere. They are similar to lightning except they occur above a thunderstorm rather than within and below a thunderstorm.

Last Friday night, a thunderstorm produced these red sprays of electricity over northeastern New Mexico. These photos from SpaceWeather.com were taken by Harald Edens of the Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, located in Socorro, New Mexico.

Red sprites are one of three upper atmospheric electrical phenomena known to occur but only rarely seen. Others are blue jets and green elves. The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder has also been involved in research on upper atmospheric electricity. Little is known about these phenomena, which were first observed only in the last 20-25 years.

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