Monday, September 18, 2023

The Red Sprite and The Tree | Earth Science

The Red Sprite and The Tree | Earth Science

The sprite and tree could hardly be more different. To start, the red sprite is an unusual form of lightning, while the tree is a common plant. The sprite is far away—high in Earth's atmosphere, while the tree is nearby—only about a football field away. The sprite is fast—electrons streaming up and down at near light's speed, while the tree is slow—wood anchored to the ground. The sprite is bright—lighting up the sky, while the tree is dim—shining by reflected light. The sprite was fleeting—lasting only a small fraction of a second, while the tree is durable—living now for many years. Both however, when captured together, appear oddly similar in this featured composite image captured earlier this month in France as a thunderstorm passed over mountains of the Atlantic Pyrenees.

Red Sprites: These mysterious bursts of light in the upper atmosphere momentarily resemble gigantic jellyfish. One unusual feature of sprites is that they are relatively cold. They operate more like long fluorescent light tubes than hot compact light bulbs. In general, red sprites take only a fraction of a second to occur and are best seen when powerful thunderstorms are visible from the side.

Image Credit & Copyright: Maxime Villaeys

Caption Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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Release Date: Sept. 18, 2023

#NASA #Science #Planet #Earth #Atmosphere #Weather #Meteorology #Storm #Lightning #RedSprite #France #AtlanticPyrenees #Photography #MaximeVillaeys #Photographer #CitizenScience #STEM #Education #APoD

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