Giant jets in the sky over Texas

Although officially the summer has not yet begun, but on the Great Plains there are already summer thunderstorms. Kevin Palivec, managing several cameras to observe the night sky, noted that the season of sprites definitely can be considered started. This week, he photographed several such lightning, including giant jets firing up from a thundercloud in Oklahoma.

The line of storms in Oklahoma was ideally located, which helped to record the jets that beat the cloudy peaks at a distance of about 483 km from the camera. Palivec used a black and white camera Watec 902h Ultimate in a weatherproof enclosure, located on a 6-meter tower.

Giant jets can be compared to “sprites on steroids.” These zippers are much more powerful and rarer than their red cousins. Palivec watched the sky in Texas for 6 years, but so far managed to take pictures of only 5 giant jets, 2 of which were studied in research works. Nevertheless, according to him, watching them is always interesting. This entry was made on May 14th.

Sprites and jets are “exotic” forms of lightning, rising from a thunderstorm up, not down. Some researchers believe that they are associated with cosmic rays – subatomic particles from far-away space affect the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere, producing secondary electrons, which trigger these lightning. If this is true, then sprites and jets in the coming years will be more, because the intensity of cosmic radiation will increase due to the fall of the solar cycle. Although sprites have been observed for at least a century, most scientists did not believe that they existed until 1989, when they were photographed by cameras on board a spaceship.

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