INCREDIBLE MOMENT A photographer captured bright red “giant jets” of lightning that can reach the edge of space
Meteorologists call them “giant jets,” powerful and rare lightning bolts that contain 50 times more energy than a conventional lightning bolt.
A Puerto Rico-based photographer documented this unseen atmospheric phenomenon late last month, August 20, as it documented the tropical storm’s progression westward into Hurricane Franklin.
The giant jets, which look a lot like the electrical phenomenon “red sprites,” gain their crimson color from contact with Earth’s ionosphere between 50 and 400 miles above sea level.
Uncommon upwards lightning bolts, which occur around 1,000 times annually worldwide, are thought to occur most often during thunderstorms over the open ocean.
It is estimated that less than one percent of lightning travels in the “up” direction of such giant aircraft.
First documented in July 2002, several of the giant jets have been seen in the tropics, especially during rising storms, according to a study last summer in Science Advances.
That study, which documented a giant jet over Oklahoma on May 14, 2018, has built a 3-D map of the lightning phenomenon – outlining the structural details of its formation in high resolution for the first time.
Planes and goblins
blue planes They are huge explosions of electrical discharges rising from storm clouds in the upper atmosphere.
They emerge from the centers of electrically charged thunderstorms and rise up to 30 miles upwards in a cone shape.
red goblins They are electrical bursts of light that occur above very active thunderstorms.
They only last a few milliseconds and are relatively faint compared to other lightning devices.
The late experimental physicist John Winkler accidentally discovered sprites while helping to test a new low-light video camera in 1989.
They appear red at higher altitudes and fade to blue at lower altitudes
Levi Boggs, a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, assembled a team to review satellite, radar and radio data from the Oklahoma plane after seeing a civilian image of the event not unlike these new images.
Photographer Frankie Lucena captured not just one, but three giant plasma jet events over the course of the tropical storm’s movements last month.
Bolts have risen from the Caribbean Sea southeast of the Lucena region of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
The lightning events occurred in the early hours of the morning between 2:56 AM and 3:04 AM ET, which is Puerto Rico’s summer equivalent during daylight saving time.
August’s giant jets weren’t the first to be brought to public attention by Lucina, who has proven to be an avid tracker of the rare weather phenomenon.
On July 24, 2017, Lucina observed giant jets recorded by the Gemini Cloudcam at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.
After downloading the time-lapse from the Gemini Cloudcam website, Lucina enhanced the colors to better show the amazing phenomenon.
“They are related to goblins, but are more powerful and easier to see with the naked eye.” he told SpaceWeather.com in 2017.
The July 2017 Lucena video also revealed rare ripples in the sky that can sometimes appear high in the sky above storms.
“The ripples in the sky above storm clouds are what are known as gravitational waves,” Lucina explained on YouTube.
These gravitational waves are located near the ionosphere at an altitude of about 90 km.
Like giant planes, these elusive electrical events have long been a subject of wonder, with some even debating their existence over the years, because they are ephemeral and therefore often difficult to observe.
(marks for translation) Extremely