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originally posted by: redtic
I saw this video on the spaceweather web site. I guess it's a rare phenomenon in which the sun light is hitting a cloud and reflecting off it's surface, and as the cloud builds and moves, so do the sun beams.
The answer lies in this: ice crystals, especially long needles, tend to become aligned with the ambient electric field.
So what you are seeing is sunlight reflecting off ice crystal faces that are constantly being oriented by the developing electric field just above the [cumulonimbus] top. Then there is a discharge in the cloud, and the field collapses momentarily, and the crystals begin to realign again. Then this just keeps happening over and over.
originally posted by: chr0naut
a reply to: eisegesis
It is interesting. Probably some sort of unusual natural weather phenomenon. It does appear to be like a plasma but I would imagine it would require a cathode and an anode to produce such a "Jacobs Ladder" type arc effect.
I don't think it is CGI (just an opinion) if it is, it is very well done.
It also could be a sprite but it appears to be far too low in the atmosphere and of too long a duration.