Last night the SkySentinel meteor camera that I host here at the PTO caught sight of a set of sprites as a weather front approached from the northwest. Sprites are only one of several “Transient Luminous Events” associated with thunderstorms. Reports by pilots of ‘lightning’ above the clouds were once dismissed outright by meteorologists. Once directly imaged in 1989 and finally accepted by scientists as a real phenomenon, sprites and their relations have been recorded all over the planet as well as from the International Space Station. One estimate has several million of these high-altitude events occur each year.
These electrical discharges occur 50-90 kilometers above the ground. The sprites in this video are only visible on two frames. Look carefully and you will see the flash of ‘normal’ lightning reflecting off of low lying clouds immediately after the sprites.