Sprite lightning footage: Atmospheric flashes spotted from plane, explained (VIDEO).

The Science of a Strange Red-Orange Light Show Filmed From a Plane (Video)

The Science of a Strange Red-Orange Light Show Filmed From a Plane (Video)

Slate in motion.
July 3 2015 1:36 PM

The Secret of “Sprites”

The fireworks-like light shows that flash high above thunderstorms in Earth’s atmosphere.

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Florida Institute of Technology

Weird light shows of luminous flashes occur high above thunderstorm clouds in Earth’s upper atmosphere during lightning storms. Known as sprites, the split-second displays appear as "fireworks-like electrical discharges," as a team of researchers put it.

A new Nature Communications study deepens our understanding of the phenomena.

Thanks to the Florida Institute of Technology.

Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.