Research Spotlight: New observations of blue sprite spectra


  • Mohi Kumar,

  • Leslie Ofori,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


Sprite lightning, a striking and unusual type of lightning that occurs in the upper atmosphere above thunderclouds, consists of a main portion, usually red, and thin tendril-like streamers that emanate from the main portion. These have a streamer head, followed by a column-shaped glow. Kanmae et al. captured several images of sprite streamers using a high-speed spectrograph at 10,000 frames per second in August 2009. The new observations have greater spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution than previous studies.