Atmospheric optics

Early season red sprites appear over Czech Republic

Two red sprites, transient optical phenomena appearing as luminous reddish-orange flashes, have been recorded over the Czech Republic on April 4, 2018, marking the early beginning of 2018 sprite season in the northern hemisphere. Lucky photographer this season was again well known Martin Popek who captured them above storms over western Czeckia on April 4 below Pleiades star cluster: Because sprites are associated with ...

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Sprite season begins in northern hemisphere

Sprite season – spectacular, eerie flashes of colored lights that appear high above the tops of powerful thunderstorms – is underway, SpaceWeather reports. Because sprites are associated with thunderstorms, they tend to occur in late spring and summer. “Sprites are a true space weather phenomenon,” explains lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain. “They develop in mid-air ...

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Solar halo optical phenomena observed in Sweden

The halos are caused by light refraction and reflection of millions of tiny ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. These high, thin clouds appear about 6 km (20 000 feet) or more above the ground, and are usually accompanied by a storm shortly after.. Ice crystals in cirrus clouds have to be oriented and positioned in just the right angle ...

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Gigantic jets outbursts on top of the Hurricane “Hilda”

A strong outburst of lightning from Hurricane “Hilda”, in the Pacific Ocean, was reported by the National Weather Service on August 10, 2015. At first, the scientist thought the lightning was the so-called sprites phenomena, however, closer observation showed it was gigantic jets, a more powerful and extremely rare event.  The weather phenomena, known as sprites, are an unusual form of lightning, shooting ...

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“Light pillars’ observed over south Wales, UK

A very rare atmospheric optical phenomenon called ‘light pillars’ was observed in the night sky above south Wales about 21:50 UTC on Friday, March 11, 2016, the same day a CME impact sparked surprising G2 – Moderate geomagnetic storm with auroras seen as far as the UK. “The phenomenon is caused by atmospheric ice crystals reflecting light and is more common in ...

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Rare form of transient luminous event over Oklahoma, US

An enormous swarm of sprites was observed across the top of a thunderstorm during a severe weather outbreak in Oklahoma, US on May 23, 2016. The phenomenon was recorded by amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, almost 640 km (400 miles) away, SpaceWeather.com reports, but it seems that on that day, at 04:18 UTC, Ashcraft recorded a very rare transient luminous event. He points out to the “palm tree” ...

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ELVES captured above a thunderstorm in Colorado, US

On June 8, 2016, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft captured an enormous ring of light high above a thunderstorm in southeast Colorado. “It only lasted about a millisecond, but it was definitely there. The ring was about 300 km (186 miles) wide,” Ashcraft estimates. He photographed the phenomenon using a low-light video camera: This is an example of an ELVES (Emissions ...

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Noctilucent clouds in motion

On the night of June 21, 2016, photographer Derek Mellott from the town of Gibbons, Alberta, Canada recorded this fantastic display of noctilucent clouds (NLCs). “They were the brightest I have ever seen,” he said. “It seemed like a good time to record a time lapse.”  Video courtesy Derek Mellott NLCs are not fully understood and are a recently-discovered meteorological phenomenon; there ...

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Light pillars and Moon halo over Denmark

Light pillars and halos are formed when the freezing cold atmospheric air is filled with tiny ice particles in suspension. When the wind is low and the sky is clear, you might observe strange beams coming from different sources of light. Ice particles reflect and refract light from its source and create columns, beams and halos. “This is what happened last night ...

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Very rare, gigantic blue jet over Paraíba, Brazil

Diego Rhamon managed to capture a gigantic jet (giant blue jet) taking place in Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brazil on March 13, 2017. It is the first recording of this elusive weather phenomenon in Brazil. According to Rhamon, the cumulonimbus cloud that produced this lightning was in the town of Taperoá, 103 km (63 miles) away from Campina Grande, in a straight line.  Filming was done in ...

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