Red Sprites Observed from Slovakia

September 27, 2017


September 2017 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Ondrej Králik 
Summary Authors: Ondrej Králik; Jim Foster

This photo shows red sprites dancing above a thunderstorm located over southeastern Germany. It was taken just before midnight on August 18, 2017, when the storm was approximately 315 miles (507 km) away from my vantage point near Low Tatras, Slovakia. Red sprites are mysterious forms of lightning that sometimes appear in the upper atmosphere above energetic thunderstorms. Their pinkish-red flashes can only be detected at night (usually only with high-speed cameras) and seem to be linked to particularly strong cloud-to-ground lightning bolts (positive strikes).