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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 28

Scientists Complete Study Of Strange Lights

From: Stig Agermose <wanderer@post8.tele.dk>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 04:14:48 +0200
Fwd Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 23:38:35 -0400
Subject: Scientists Complete Study Of Strange Lights

>From the BBC. URL:


Go the site for images!



Tuesday, July 28, 1998 Published at 12:25 GMT
13:25 UK

Chasing lights in the sky

A team of scientists has just completed a two-week project to
study mysterious lights in the upper atmosphere called red
sprites and blue jets. Our science editor Dr David Whitehouse

Red sprites and blue jets are strange lights that appear in the
upper atmosphere above thunderstorms.

The red sprites are large flashes of red light that last just a
few thousandths of a second. They can reach as high as the lower
edge of the stratosphere, about 90 km high.

They are faint and usually require a low light level camera to
detect them.

They can spread over huge regions of the sky. Some as large as
10,000 cubic kilometres have been reported.

Blue jets seem to emerge directly from the tops of clouds and
shoot upwards in narrow cones through the stratosphere at speeds
of about 100 km a second.

For two weeks a Gulfstream 2 jet aircraft has carried 8 TV
imaging systems above the western United States in search of
thunderstorms and sprites.

Observations in the air were co-ordinated with ground based

One remarkable event was seen over central Iowa. A sprite was
seen with tendrils of light trailing all the way down to the

These dancing lights are undeniably beautiful but scientists
would like to know how they are caused.

The sprites and jets indicate that thunderstorms are more
complicated than was once thought. Scientists are speculating
that they might be an essential part of the earth's global
electrical activity.

Also in recent years there have been puzzling observations from
satellites that suggest that very high energy radiation may come
from thunderstorms.