Red Sprites

  ..over the region of Dortmund 2016 

Photographed on 24-June-2016 in Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck



Heavy thunderstorms and lightnings were detected on the weather map of Sat24 over the 460km distanced region of Dortmund in Western Germany. In Fuerstenfeldbruck a very! clear starry sky made the situation perfect. Up on my home hill I turned the video camera on the NNW direction. And great!!! A seldom triple Red Sprites was filmed 9° over horizon again. The sprite was estimated from me in an average height about 70km.

Red Sprite 2016 by boeckel

Cutouts of the video capture shows more details

Red Sprites Bavaria 2015 by Boeckel

The same event in the original wide angle capture

Movie 1 (crop) 45 MB     Movie 2 (Original) 40 MB

This time the phenomenon of Red Sprites was filmed at 22:15 UTC by a 4K video.

Sony a6300 , Sigma 35mm, f1.4, ASA 3200, Exp. 0,25sec,

Weather Situation on 24.June.2016 at 00:30

In courtesy of Sat24

...and here a little add on, this Sprite was discovered three months later on the recordings.

But how does the rare luminous phenomena come to this name, when they were discovered and what is the reason of origin?

The appearance of a Red Sprites takes around 2/100 seconds, can be bright and possible to be seen with the naked eye. However, the brightness is several times under a lightning discharge. 'Red Sprites' can appear on an average altitude of 60-80 km in the mesosphere. Also sightings to a height of 90 km to the edge of the ionosphere are possible. The height of the sprite can vary from 10 km to 20 km. The width of the discharge can reach up from 40 to 60 km.

Until 1989, the existence of Red Sprites was generally denied because only jet pilots announced sporadic sightings. Here they reaped rather grumpy and sarcastic reactions :-(. Thus, many sightings have been omitted. 1989 the first Red Sprite photos did succeed, but due to the not yet advanced camera technology the results were scientifically useless.

1991 the astronauts of the former Space shuttle mission succeeded to capture this phenomenon specifically the first time from space. These photos served also as the first meaningful evidence. Afterwards high-tech peppered research aircrafts were inserted by very costly experiments from the NASA and NOAA, which should explain and analyze these phenomena further. After this efforts yielded no results for months, and the researchers literally get messed around with this situation, they called these discharges almost mischievously 'Sprite' in the sence of a whorled goblin. The first coulored photo was taken 1994 by the 'University of Alaska', whereby a high efficent camara was fixed under a weather balloon.

Incidentally, we don’t have a plausible explanation of the origin of Red Sprites until today, but there are countless theories. Look out for the scientific article in the Washington post. The most common version declares that during heavy thunderstorms larger areas of electrical tension build itself up over the super cells, which consequently discharge due to the oversaturation upwards by itself. The actual luminous phenomenon gets produced in the mesosphere by collision of electrons with the always present cosmic gamma radiation.

More Red Sprites info

  (Sprite link)

More Red Sprite sightings


       Red Sprites 2107 by Th Boeckel06.June-2019      Red Sprites 2107 by Th Boeckel09.May-2018    Juli-Aug-2017    June-2017    15-June-2017     11-July-2016

  24-June-2016    6-June-2016    May 2016    August 2015


Etna    Stromboli    Volcano world    Cinema

From Etna to Stromboli     Planets & Space

 ©2016 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel (tb)

This private, non-commercial web site do not use cookies !