February 24, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Blue Lightning in the Stratosphere

Rain. Clouds. Thunder. The stratosphere has none of those things. Weather up there is pretty dull. Except when the lightning starts…

Researchers call them “blue jets.” The elusive discharges leap into the stratosphere from thunderstorms far below. They are rarely seen, but storm chaser Rob Neep was able to capture some over Sonora, Mexico, on August 3rd:

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” says Neep, a former TV photojournalist. “I was actually looking for sprites when the jets appeared. They were definitely visible to the naked eye, both my cousin and I observed them.”

Oscar van der Velde of the Lightning Research Group at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya watched Neep’s video and says it is “Excellent–perhaps the best example of classic blue jets we’ve seen in a long time!”

First recorded by cameras on the space shuttle in 1989, blue jets are part of a growing menagerie of transient luminous events (TLEs) in the upper atmosphere. They appear alongside sprites, ELVES, and other lightning-like forms. Blue jets, however, seem to be more elusive than the others, often frustrating photographers who try to catch them.

Read more – Spaceweather: https://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=17&month=08&year=2021