An astronaut witnessed spectacular jets of electricity which was also caught on camera. We are all familiar with lightning coming down from clouds, but the rare form of lightning is the one where it blasts from clouds into outer space. This phenomenon was named by scientists blue jet. The massive electrical discharges are very difficult to be captured or filmed.
Usually, only airplane pilots can photograph these blue jets when they are located above an active thunderstorm. However, satellites managed to record this phenomenon, but the images are not very accurate. Based on the data provided by the Geophysical Research Letters, in January, an astronaut managed to capture these spectacular jets of electricity when in space, capturing it all on camera.
Specialists behind this research asked Andreas Mogensen, an astronaut for the European Space Agency (ESA) to start the “Thor experiment.” The mission consisted of documenting blue jets from the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is situated at about 250 miles above our planet. Mogensen received a sensitive video camera, and he was asked to capture this spectacular lightning show.
The astronaut was able to register an active storm cell which was situated above the Bay of Bengal in India. If we were to analyze the footage, after the lighting coming from below the clouds illuminates them, there appears a blue cone of a jet of electricity which pulsates for a while before it shoots out of the top of the clouds.
The blue jet rises about ten kilometers high, and then it disappears. Based on the information provided by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the speed of this powerful lightning was estimated at 220,000 mph. The blue jet takes the form of a cone as it springs upwards. When they reach the edge of space, about 30 miles in height, they suddenly vanish.
It is almost impossible for researchers or astronauts to capture this phenomenon on camera, especially when it comes to also recording the red sprites which occur when they reach the edge of space. Nevertheless, scientists have started to carefully analyze these phenomena since the 1990s. Mogensen is a hero for providing such accurate images of the blue jets.
Researchers stated that this evidence is due to the massive and surprisingly active thunderstorm and Mogensen’s good angle when shooting blue jets.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia