Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above a thunderstorm cloud, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes.
They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground.
The phenomena were named after the mischievous sprite (air spirit) Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
They normally are colored reddish-orange or greenish-blue.
There are hanging tendrils below and arcing branches above their location, which can be preceded by a reddish halo.
They often occur in clusters, lying 50 miles (80 km) to 90 miles (145 km) above the Earth's surface.
Sprites were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have since been witnessed tens of thousands of times.
Sprites have been mentioned as a possible cause in otherwise unexplained accidents involving high altitude vehicular operations above thunderstorms.
- - Judge: Only one Cosby accuser can testify at sex assault trial
- - Too few flushes get legislative candidate thrown off ballot
- - Pete Rose appears on Phillies' wall of fame ballot
- - Philly mayor: $5.7M beverage tax haul doubles projections
- - Sunoco building 2 pipelines, not just 1 across Pennsylvania
- - NPS to close River Rd. in Middle Smithfield to protect migrating amphibians
- - 6 charged in connection with alleged gang slaying
- - Mother charged after concealing death of baby
- - Saylorsburg man faces DUI charge, child was in car
- - Immigration officials detain alleged undocumented immigrants in Poconos