Over the years, we've captured a number of amazing views from the International Space Station (ISS). Now, astronauts have managed to capture a new view - One that we've never been able to get before.
The image comes thanks to Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen. He caught an electric view of an enormous blue jet shooting out of the sky. The jet is actually radiating out from a thunderstorm over on Earth (obviously, as the ISS isn't orbiting over Mars, after all).
The jet appeared over India last month in the upper atmosphere and, understandably, in previous eras, people were perplexed by these "rocket-like" discharges from the tops of thunderclouds. Like many other unknown natural phenomenon, these mysterious structures led to a bit of speculation over the years.
The first appearance in literature was in 1903. However, the mystery was settled in 1995, when researchers verified that the discharges were caused by thunderstorms after flying through a storm cloud over Arkansas.
Blue jets, along with red sprites — a parallel but separate phenomena — are huge eruptions of electrical discharge spiking upward from storm clouds in the upper atmosphere. The blue jets appear from the electrically-charged centers of thunderstorms and can spike 25 to 30 miles up in the air (40 to 48 km). At the time of the event, the team noted that more than 55 examples were recorded during a 22 minute interval.
Notably, these upward lightning strokes appear in a fashion similar to cloud to cloud lightning, and they take the shape of a cone. Red sprites, if you are wondering, are bright flashes that happen directly above thunderstorms (much like blue jets). The sprites are red at the highest altitude, fading to blue at lower altitudes. The sprites can be as low as 18 miles and as high as 59 miles (30 to 95 km).
You can check out the complete thunderstorm video below. It comes with a blue jet, red sprites, and powerful lightning.
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