It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
These rarely seen, highly charged meteorological events are known as gigantic jets, and they flash up to the lower levels of space, or ionosphere.
While they don't occur every time there is lightning, they are substantially larger than their downward striking cousins.
"Despite poor viewing conditions as a result of a full moon and a hazy atmosphere, we were able to clearly capture the gigantic jet," said study leader Steven Cummer, an electrical and computer engineer at Duke University in North Carolina.
A paper reporting Cummer's results appears online today in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Upper-atmospheric lightning or upper-atmospheric discharge are terms sometimes used by researchers to refer to a family of electrical-breakdown phenomena that occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning. The preferred current usage is transient luminous events (TLEs) to refer to the various types of electrical-discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere, because they lack several characteristics of the more familiar tropospheric lightning. TLEs include red sprites, sprite halos, blue jets, gigantic jets, and elves.