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Unlike common lightning discharges, which often jump between clouds or between the clouds and the ground, sprites are associated with similarly powerful electrical fields that occur high above the clouds of the Earth’s atmosphere. They are often associated with particularly intense thunderstorms and exceptionally powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strokes that are sometimes seen to occur during such storms. Sprites are observed at typical heights ranging from around 50 to 100 kilometres, in the so-called 'middle' part of the Earth’s atmosphere known as the mesosphere. This is the region sandwiched between the stratosphere and the much more tenuous thermosphere, which ultimately merges into interplanetary space.