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Rare Blue Lightning Appears In The Clouds Above Texas

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An atypical phenomenon called Blue Jet Lightning, that occurred over Texas’ Big Bend National Park, was captured by photographer Mathew Griffiths. He took six images of this rare event.

Blue Jet Lightning is a short occurrence, usually hidden by clouds and not quite visible from the ground. Blue Jets are seen between a thundercloud’s upper positive charge zone and a negative filtering layer above the charge region. Due to the neutral and ionized molecular nitrogen emitting lines of blue and near-ultraviolet, the Blue Jet appears to be blue.

Blue Jets

This lightning is caused when a positively charged upper component of a cloud couples with the above negatively charged layer. Momentarily, the opposite charges are equalized discharging blue-coloured static electricity known as blue lightning.

Blue Jets were first captured in 1989 from a space shuttle. They may appear to be like lightning but they aren’t. Normal lightning forms a path through the air rising to 30,000 degrees Celsius, while Blue Jets are very much like the gas in a fluorescent bulb as they are made from cold plasma.

Photographer Mathew Griffiths said, “I started a five-night road trip through West Texas on July 28 to take pictures of the Milky Way.” He added, “however, I changed my mind and went with red sprites because there were approaching thunderstorms.”

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