Photo: Mysterious "Sprites" Light Shows Captured on Film



Sprites, brief flashes of light that occur during intense thunderstorms, appear to the human eye as long streamers of light, as seen above. But new digital images show these strands are only an illusion—sprites are actually made up of small, fast-moving balls of light.

In their fleeting lifespan, sprites burn five times brighter than Venus and can reach 37 miles (60 kilometers) in height.

Photograph courtesy H. C. Stenbaek-Nielsen, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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