On Aug. 20th, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma scanned the sky for meteors using a low-light video camera–but instead of meteors, he recorded a bizarre upside-down form of lightning called “Gigantic Jets.” Discovered in 2001, Gigantic Jets are enormous discharges that leap upward 50 miles high from the tops of thunderclouds. They are related to better known sprites and elves, but are larger and more dramatic. The Oklahoma Jets are the first ever photographed over the continental United States and they may provide key data to researchers working to understand the phenomenon. Visit http://spaceweather.com to view a movie of the Jets and to learn how you might be able to catch them yourself.
Really, if you’re on a broadband connection, you must go download and watch the video. Some might say it’s not very dramatic. They would be wrong. It’s beyond spectacular to see captured video of these gigantic formations from a storm that is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away—in another state!
Ain’t discovery a wonderful thing?