An astronaut from the European Space Agency (ESA) recently photographed an unusual event called the Red Sprite. Astronaut Andreas Mogensen took these images using a high-resolution camera for the Thor-Davis experiment at the Danish Technical University. The experiment aims to study lightning in the upper atmosphere and its effects on greenhouse gas levels, thus influencing global warming. Scientists estimated the dimensions of the red goblin in the astronaut’s image at about 14 x 26 kilometers (8.7 x 16.2 miles).
“These images taken by Andreas are amazing,” said Olivier Chanrion, lead scientist on this experiment and senior researcher at DTU Space. BBC.
“The Davis camera works well and gives us the high temporal resolution needed to capture fast processes in lightning.”
What is the red goblin?
The red sprite represents an unusual atmospheric phenomenon classified as a Transient Luminous Event (TLE). Sometimes called red lightning, it occurs above thunderclouds at altitudes of 40 to 80 kilometers (25 to 50 miles) above the Earth’s surface. Unlike typical lightning bolts that descend from the clouds to the ground, the object acts in reverse, ascending into the atmosphere, resembling a form of reverse lightning.
The red goblin’s rapid appearance, which lasts for just a millisecond, represents a challenge for scientists who aim to capture and study it comprehensively. Since these phenomena occur above thunderclouds, they pose difficulties in observing from Earth and are mostly visible from space. However, delving deeper into their properties can provide important insights into upper atmosphere activities, providing valuable information for scientific understanding.
The rare sprite is not the only atmospheric phenomenon that occurs, blue jets are another example of a transient luminous event.
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