Scientists have finally gotten a clear view of the spark that sets off an exotic type of lightning called Blue Jet.
Blue Jet goes upward from thunderclouds into the stratosphere and, reaching altitudes up to about 50 kilometers in less than a second. An ordinary lightning excites a medley of gases in the lower atmosphere to glow white, blue jet excites mostly stratospheric nitrogen to create their signature blue hue.
Blue Jets have been observed from ground for years but its hard to tell how they form without getting above the clouds and the study of these are important because these events can affect how the radio waves travel through air, hence impacting communication technologies.
Photometers on the space station observed the Blue Jet in a storm over the Pacific Ocean in Feb 2019. The spark that generated blue jet may have been a special kind of short electric discharge inside the thundercloud.
Turbulent mixing high in a cloud may bring oppositely charged regions of a cloud within a kilometer apart of each other creating very short but powerful bursts of electric current.
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