Lightning seen from space
Stunning Lightning Strike
Where Lightning Strikes Way More Than Twice
That's Space-y! Red Sprites & Lightning Flashes
Red sprites are difficult to observe because they last for just a few milliseconds and occur above thunderstorms, so they are usually blocked from view on the ground by the very clouds that produce them. They send pulses of electrical energy up toward the edge of space (the electrically charged layer known as the ionosphere) instead of down to Earth’s surface. They are rich with radio noise, and can sometimes occur in clusters.
For decades, pilots reported seeing ephemeral flashes above storms, but it was not until the 1990s that scientists were able to verify the existence of these electrical discharges. A sprite was first photographed by accident from an airplane in 1989, and observers on the space shuttle captured several more images with low-light cameras in 1990 and in subsequent missions. Viewers on the ground can occasionally photograph sprites by looking out on a thunderstorm in the distance (often looking out from high mountainsides over storms in lower plains.)
Bolt of Lightning
Wonder of the Sky
View From Above
Through the Storm
Touchdown on Earth
Fill the Sky
Lightning over the Desert
Four VLT Unit Telescopes can be seen atop Cerro Paranal, which rises 8,530 feet (2,600 meters) above sea level. Each of these telescopes is the size of an eight-story building.
A solitary star, called Procyon, is also visible on the left of the image. This star is a bright binary star in the constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog).
Lightning Storm in Oregon
"I was out in the middle of this storm with lightning crashing all around (a few miles away) and excitedly taking photos," Lenz told LiveScience in an email. "This photo is the last one I got when my shutter broke. My heart sank. I put my equipment away and got in my car and then realized the lightning had gotten dangerously close. So I was somehow relieved my shutter had broken or I might have been in trouble."
Lenz used a Canon 5D mark1 camera and a Sigma 150-500 lens to capture the magnificent scene.
"I set the camera on a tripod and aimed it towards the windmills where there was a high concentration of lightning strikes," he said. "I set it at F5, ISO 100 and left the shutter open for about 30 seconds at a time hoping to catch strikes." [See More Stunning Images of Lightning]