Pictures of mysterious light phenomenon sent from ISS

On October 8, astronaut Thomas Pesquet snapped a photo on the International Space Station, capturing a mysterious light phenomenon. The photo below clearly shows a bright blue and white flash. It may seem that this is some kind of explosion, but there was nothing like that on Earth. Presumably, this short-term light event was caused by lightning that struck upward in the planet's upper atmosphere.

During a severe thunderstorm at an altitude of 30 to 90 kilometers, so-called sprites - unusual lightning of different shapes and colors may appear in the atmosphere. They reach 60 km in length, 100 km in diameter, and live for less than 100 ms. For this visual effect to occur, lightning must travel through the negatively charged region of thunderclouds before reaching the positively charged region below. If this happens, lightning strikes upward, causing a blue glow from molecular nitrogen.

Interestingly, relatively recently, scientists were not sure of the existence of such a phenomenon. For the first time, this phenomenon was recorded in 1989. It is also worth noting that this type of phenomenon is very difficult to capture in photographs from Earth.

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