Astronomy

Extremely rare sprites, ‘space lightning’ seen over Australia

Bildschirmfoto 2017-07-22 um 00.24.56

Daily mail 

A novice astronomer from New South Wales couldn’t contain his delight when he captured a rare space lightning phenomenon on camera.

David Finlay, 44, believes he is the first to film one of the only instances of the breathtaking red flashes, known as ‘lightning sprites’, could be seen from earth in Australia.

‘I set my camera up, and literally within minutes – almost no time at all – I started to see the sprites flashing on the horizon,’ he said.

Mr Finlay filmed the incredibly rare phenomenon for two hours between 9pm and 11pm on Tuesday from Little Blowhole in New South Wales near his hometown of Kiama.

The amateur astronomer said the bolts – which he spotted over the sea 300km away – were visible despite being 90km above the earth – with each sprite a staggering 15km long.

Sprites – known as transient luminous events – are caused by an electrical discharge during storms but instead of going down towards the ground, as lightning normally does, they travel up into space – earning them the nickname ‘upside down lightning’.

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