Red Sprites

  ..over the region of Füssen, Bavaria 

Photographed on 11-July-2016 in Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck


Heavy thunderstorms and lightnings in the 80-100km distanced region of Füssen Germany. In Fuerstenfeldbruck a very! clear starry sky made the situation perfect. Ok up to my home hill and turn the video camera on the SSW direction.

And great!!! A strong angel Red Sprites was filmed again.

Red Sprite 2016 by boeckel

Red Sprites Bavaria 2015 by Boeckel    

Cutouts of the video capture shows more details of the typical apperance of an angel Sprite.

Movie (4K) 140MB long version

Movie1(4K)  34MB short version           Movie2 (1080p)  9MB short version

This time the phenomenon of Red Sprites was filmed at 00:15 UTC by a 4K video.

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

Red Sprite 2016 by boeckel

The same event in the original wide angle photo

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)

Red Sprites 2107 by Th BoeckelRed Sprites 2107 by Th Boeckel

All Red Sprites & Auroras


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 ©2016 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel (tb)

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