NASA shared an image of the rare “red sprite” flash that looks almost like an alien invasion.
The red lightning can be seen branching out like jellyfish or fireworks over a French mountain range.
The extraordinary image was captured by photographer Stephane Vetter.
NASA has revealed it as there Astronomy Picture of the day for July 4th.
NASA said: “A sensitive video camera on a top of the Vosges mountains in France captured these amazing fireworks over a distant horizon on June 26th.
“Generated during intense thunderstorms, this about 260 kilometers away, the short and mysterious flashes have become known as red pixies.
“Transient light events are caused by electrical faults at altitudes of 50 to 100 kilometers.
“This puts them in the mesophile, the coldest layer of the planet Earth’s atmosphere.”
NASA also pointed out the faint silver lines that you may have noticed in the image as well.
The US space agency explained: “On the right, the video frames captured another summer appearance from the mesophore.
“The silver veins of light are polar mesospheric clouds.
“Also known as nocturnal clouds or nocturnal bright, frozen clouds still reflect sunlight when the sun is below the horizon.”
NASA previously shared another image of the strange natural phenomenon that was also taken by Stephane Vetter.
That photo shows the red sprite lightning bolt in much more detail.
Red sprites are electrical discharges that can occur high above the clouds during a thunderstorm.
They are usually activated when a positively charged lightning from a cloud below hits the ground.
Recorded sightings of jellyfish such as sprites date back to at least 1886.
What are the causes of lightning?
Here’s all you need to know …
- Lightning is a large flash or lightning strike from electricity caused by a thunderstorm
- They are thought to kill 75 to 100 unfortunate souls every year
- Strikes are actually formed by frozen raindrops in the sky
- Within a thunder, fragments of ice collide with each other, forming an electric charge
- After a while, the whole cloud fills up with electric charges
- These are divided into negatively charged electrons in the lower part of the cloud and positively charged protons in the upper part
- Eventually, the cloud discharges by sending lightning current to the ground
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What do you think of these flash photos? Let us know in the comments …
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