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Red Sprites Generated By Hurricane Mathew
Taken by Frankie Lucena on October 1, 2016 @ Cabo Rojo,Puerto Rico
These red sprites were captured last night when Hurricane Mathew was near Aruba and the northern tip of Colombia. I used a Canon EOS T3 camera with no IR filter and a 50mm lens at F/1.8 for 1 second at iso 6400.
Sprites are a strange and beautiful form of lightning that shoot up from the tops of electrical storms. They reach all the way up to the edge of space alongside meteors, auroras, and noctilucent clouds. Some researchers believe cosmic rays help trigger sprites, making them a true space weather phenomenon.
Seeing sprites above a hurricane is rare. Many hurricanes don't even have regular lightning because the storms lack a key ingredient for electrical activity: vertical winds. (For more information read the Science@NASA article "Electric Hurricanes.") But Matthew is not a typical hurricane. It's one of the most powerful in recent years, briefly reaching Category 5 at about the time Lucena photographed the sprites. Perhaps extra-strong winds in the vicinity of the storm set the stage for upward-reaching bolts.
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Here is a picture taken by Darlisa on Friday (looking north, west is to the left).
From Cliff Mass Weather Blog
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