Sunday, November 2, 2014

Incredible Red Sprites and Blue Jets

Red sprites and blue jets are upper atmospheric optical phenomena associated with thunderstorms that have only recently been documented using low light level television technology. 


Characteristics of Red Sprites

Characteristics of Blue Jets

Blue jets are a second high altitude optical phenomenon, distinct from sprites, observed above thunderstorms using low light television systems. As their name implies, blue jets are optical ejections from the top of the electrically active core regions of thunderstorms. Following their emergence from the top of the thundercloud, they typically propagate upward in narrow cones of about 15 degrees full width at vertical speeds of roughly 100 km/s (Mach 300), fanning out and disappearing at heights of about 40-50 km. Their intensities are on the order of 800 kR near the base, decreasing to about 10 kR near the upper terminus. These correspond to an estimated optical energy of about 4 kJ, a total energy of about 30 MJ, and an energy density on the order of a few mJ/m^3. Blue jets are not aligned with the local magnetic field.


Until We Meet Again
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