Electric Environment

Atmospheric lightning: ‘blue sprites’ over Brazil


A huge upper-atmospheric lightning event known as a blue jet was captured by a skywatcher during a thunderstorm over Taperoá in the state of Paraíba in the Nordeste of Brazil, on March 13th 2017.

Diego Rhamon captured the event using a PY-SH361 camera, a component of the CPV1 station, of BRAMON (Brazilian Meteorological Observation Network).

Upper-atmospheric lightning or ionospheric lightning are terms sometimes used by researchers to refer to a family of short-lived electrical-breakdown phenomena that occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning and storm clouds. Upper-atmospheric lightning is believed to be electrically induced forms of luminous plasma.

The preferred usage is transient luminous event (TLE), because the various types of electrical-discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere lack several characteristics of the more familiar tropospheric lightning. There are several types of TLEs, the most common being sprites.













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