Astronaut's photo shows a rare 'sprite' in Earth's atmosphere caused by lightning shooting up toward space
- Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut on the
ISS, photographed a flash of red light in the upper atmosphere.
- The phenomenon, called a sprite, can be seen above a thunderstorm.
An astronaut onboard the International
The picture, which was taken on September 9, is a "very rare occurrence," French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said in a Flickr post.
That is because these red flashes are only visible for a few milliseconds, per NASA.
Because their pictures are so rare, very little is known about
We know, however, that they are made up of lightning that shoots up toward space, rather than down to the ground, he said.
As the electrical discharge interacts with nitrogen in the atmosphere, it gives off a light with a reddish hue, per NASA.
They are part of a category called "transient luminous events," which also includes "elves" - halos of red light - and "jets" - flashes of blue light that shoot up towards space, according to the ESA.
Jets captured over India from space can be seen in the GIF below.
The ISS has instruments outside the space station's Columbus laboratory that are dedicated to observing these flashes of light, Pesquet said in the post.
From Earth, sprites are usually hidden behind thunderclouds so, for decades, the red bursts of light were relegated to the stuff of legends until they were first captured on film in the late 1980s.
- CCI approves HDFC Bank's acquisition of 4.99% stake in HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company
- Best front lights for bicycles in India
- Best document scanners for office and home use in India
- BCCI announces two new IPL teams — Check out the owners of Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises
- Best fingerprint scanners in India