Scientists have discovered many strange forms of lightning over the years — everything from fiery orbs to jellyfish-shaped bursts of light. Here, LiveScience looks at some of the weirdest forms of lightning and the mysteries that still surround them. Ball lightning comes in the form of fiery orbs ranging in size from a golf ball to a very large beach ball 1 to centimeters.
These glowing spheres can be white, yellow, red, orange, purple or green, and can live for seconds or even minutes. Over the centuries, there have been thousands of reported sightings of ball lightning, for example, floating into people's homes, but its rare and unpredictable nature has greatly limited scientific understanding of it. However, scientists have recreated ball lightning or something very much like it in the lab, results that suggested ball lighting was mostly the result of lightning striking the ground, vaporizing mineral grains in the soil.
A video recorded by accident of ball lightning in China supports this idea. More than a decade ago, scientists unexpectedly discovered thunderstorms could generate brief but powerful bursts of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.
These so-called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes are so bright that they are able to blind sensors on satellites many hundreds of miles away, and can actually create antimatter particles that have properties opposite normal particles. Now researchers suggest the flashes are caused by an extreme form of lightning called " dark lightning" since it generates very little visible light.
Normal lightning involves slow electrons — in contrast, dark lightning involves high-energy electrons. These electrons crash into air molecules, producing gamma rays. These gamma rays then generate electrons and their antimatter counterparts, known as positrons. These high-energy particles then collide into still more air molecules, generating more gamma rays. Lightning begins when a channel of electricity called a leader travels from one charged area to another — say, from a cloud to the ground, or from one layer within a cloud to another.
This spurs a return stroke with the reverse electrical charge to zip in the opposite direction. Most cloud-to-ground lightning is "negative lightning," where the Blue Jets and Red Sprites leaders are negatively charged.
However, Blue Jets and Red Sprites, the electrical fields involved with positive lightning are typically much stronger than with negative lightning, making them far more lethal and damaging than negative lightning.
Less than 5 percent of all cloud-to-ground lightning is positive lightning. Months after the accident, an investigation concluded that a "bolt of lightning" traveling upward from the clouds provoked the incident. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Play media. Reviews of Geophysics. Red Blue Jets and Red Sprites.
Bibcode : GeoRL. National Geographic. October 3, Retrieved October 3, Cooperative Institute Blue Jets and Red Sprites Meteorological Satellite Studies.
University of Wisconsin—Madison. October 7, Retrieved November 3, Retrieved on For First Time. Archived from the original on Retrieved Bibcode : Sci Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Bibcode : JGRD. June 6, Retrieved: 20 August Taylor, Hans. Stenbaek-Nielsen Academic Society Home Village. Sprite halos. Archived at the Wayback Machine Stanford University. Inan, and M. Geophysical Research Letters. Atmospheric electricity.
Geophysics Atmospheric science Atmospheric physics Atmospheric dynamics Atmospheric dynamo Atmospheric chemistry Blue Jets and Red Sprites magnetic field.
Feb 08, · This graphic illustrates the altitude and atmospheric layers in which red sprites and blue jets occur. Image: Mogenson and ESA, Weather phenomenon around the globe produces some amazing effects. An astronaut from the European Space Agency recently documented lightening that occurs above thunderstorms. Known as red sprites and blue jets, these electrical storms shoot . May 16, · Red sprites appear like jellyfish reaching into the sky. They last only milliseconds. Blue jets emerge from the tops of storm clouds, shooting upward in cone-like shapes. Elves are perhaps even stranger, lasting for less than a millisecond and spreading out over the sky in great rings. Jan 22, · Blue jets are cones of blue light brighter than sprites that spray upward from the tops of thunderclouds up to an altitude of about 25 miles (40 kilometers) at speeds of about 22, mph (36, Aug 15, · Blue jets are hard to study from the ground, being at lower altitudes than sprites. Also, blue light doesn't travel through the air as well as red, and high-speed cameras are less sensitive to blue. Blue jets are best studied from aircraft, but those flights are costly. So we must wait to learn more about blue jets. Blue jets were calculated to produce × 10 22 to × 10 26 molecules of NO x, while red sprites were calculated to produce × 10 23 to × 10 27 molecules of NO x. On the basis of global sprite frequency estimates global annual NO x production by sprites is estimated to be between 7 × 10 23 and 2 × 10 28 molecules per second. Jun 15, · Gigantic jets: are similar to blue jets, but reach 70 km high and are exceedingly rare. The upper parts of gigantic jets produce red emissions, similar to sprites. Only a handful have been photographed or captured on video. Other: sprite halos and elves are rare and indistinct types of TLEs, producing large diffuse glows, in case of elves up to. Title:Elves, Red Sprites, Blue Jets Reviewed By:Maarten Schiethart Date Published: 30/05/ Label:Aagoo Records Format: CD Release Year: Lookup: Italy's sonic monster trio Inutili take off to a new level. While they draw comparisons with Suicide, Sonic Youth, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Gun Club, these references are an injustice to. Blue jet definition is - a rare form of electrical discharge that is emitted from the top of a cumulonimbus cloud during a thunderstorm as a large upward jet of blue light. How to use blue jet in a sentence. At a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week, researchers unveiled theories to explain the phenomena, dubbed red sprites and blue jets. Aug 26, · Blue jets, which weren't directly part of the scientists' study, stick around longer than red sprites, originate at the tops of storm clouds, and shoot up to an altitude less than half that of red.
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