Sprites, Elves and – um – Jets…

This seriously geeks me out.

According to National Geographic, researchers at the University of Alaska have managed to make a movie of the atmospheric phenomina “Sprites.” Take a look.

What’s a sprite? Aside from looking cool, according to the National Geographic article,

When a lightning bolt strikes down to the ground, it can create an electrical field above the storm that accelerates the electrons in the middle atmosphere to collide with gas molecules and glow.

Sprites were predicted in theory by Nobel laureate physicist C.T.R. Wilson in 1925. Their existence was confirmed in 1989 when University of Minnesota physicist John R. Winkler caught them on video by accident.

But what about the Elves and Jets?

Those are the other two atmospheric phenomina seen above thunder storms,

For instance, “elves” are areas about 250 miles (402 kilomters) wide that glow a dim red. They can be found about 60 miles (96 kilometers) above thunderstorms.

“Blue jets” appear as bright blue cones extending from the top of a thundercloud to 25 to 30 miles (40 to 48 kilometers) above Earth. They are more rare than sprites and last up to a third of a second.

“They actually look like whale spouts shooting up out of the storms,” Heavner said.

It’s funny. In less than 200 years, scientists have found sprites and elves but in over 2000 years of Christianity, no one has ever been able to prove the existence of angles and saints. Perhaps they have a branding problem.

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