Today: Sun 17 Dec 2017

Stunning footage shows an electric storm seen from the ISS

For years, their existence has been debated - elusive electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere that sport names such as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves. But an astronaut has confirmed the displays do exist, capturing stunning footage of them from the International Space Station.

New findings have been published which suggest that the electrical discharges may unsettle the chemistry of the stratosphere, with possible implications for the Earth's radiation balance.

Mogensen also recorded the first blue jets to ever be captured on film from space. Blue jets are enormous bursts of electrical discharge spiking upward from storm clouds in the upper atmosphere. They emerge from the electrically-charged cores of thunderstorms and rise up to 30 miles upwards in the shape of a cone. But the blue blobs were the biggest surprise. They only lasted a few seconds, and were a few miles across.

'They were dancing over the top of the cloud, and we called them glimpses,' says Chanrion.

'We sometimes saw around 100 glimpses per minute, and we think they're integrated between the top and bottom layers of the cloud.

'But it's only a first step and we need to find out more.'

Mogensen took four videos and 160 images from the ISS. The footage of the storms was shot over Costa Rica, Mexico, Eastern India and Thailand.

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