Red Sprites  

 ..over the region of Trento (Italia) and Innsbruck (Austria) 

Photographed on 21/24-June-2017 in Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck



Heavy thunderstorms and lightnings were detected on the 21rst of June by  Sat24 over the ca. 260 km distanced region of  Trento in Italia. On the 24th the lightning spectacle took place in the region of Innsbruck in a distance of  ca. 150 km

Red Sprites over Austria 24-June 2017

Cutouts of the video capture shows more details to the different shape of appearance

Movie 5MB

 Sony a6300, 4K Video, Sigma 20mm, f1.4, ASA 3200, Exp. 1/6sec

Weather Situation on 24th  June 2017, 00:15 credit to Sat2

Red Sprites over Trento/Italia 21-June 2017


The composite (left) shows in front the city of Fuerstenfeldbruck

Movie 190MB

 Sony a6300, 4K Video, Sigma 35, f1.4, ASA 3200, Exp. 1/6sec

The appearance of a Red Sprites takes less than 2/100 seconds, and could be very bright and 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.

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

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 photographically to capture this phenomenon specifically the first time from space. These photos served 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, the called these discharges almost mischievously 'Sprites'.

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 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

21-24-June-2017         15-June-2017

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

 Etna    Stromboli    Volcano world    Counter Cinema

From Etna to Stromboli     Planets & Space

 ©2016 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel (tb)