Not all lightning strikes from the clouds. Some of them open up. Of course we can’t see them. We don’t, but the space station can. Thanks to this, we recorded the blue ray record from space.
It’s all thanks to the camera system on the space station. They recorded five intense blue flashes on a cloud. And one of them creates a “blue ray” in the stratosphere. A blue ray is a form of lightning that shoots up from storm clouds. They can reach up to 50 kilometers in the stratosphere and take less than a second. The blue ray captured from space is a wonderful visual spectacle.
The space storm fighter ASIM (European Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) measured the blue jet. It started with an intense 10 microsecond lightning bolt in a cloud near Naru Island in the Pacific. The result will be published in Nature as the cover story.
The fantastic elves
The lightning also produced “elves” with an equally fantastic sound. Elves are another phenomenon of light on storm clouds that are visible from space. At the bottom of the ionosphere, rings with ultraviolet and optical emissions expand rapidly. This is where electrons, radio waves, and the atmosphere interact to form these emissions.
Capturing these phenomena with ASIM’s highly sensitive tools serves many purposes. This is vital for scientists studying weather systems on Earth, according to ESA. The observations contain clues as to how lightning begins in clouds. And the researchers believe that these phenomena could even affect the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.