Blue Jets

A blue jet, as observed from the International Space Station.

Blue jets are a mysterious form of lightning that shoots upward from intense thunderstorms. The image above comes from one of the first color videos of blue jets, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. Scientist think blue jets form during an electric breakdown between the positively-charged upper region of a cloud and the negative charge at its boundary. Once the discharge starts, it can shoot to the stratopause in less than a second, forming a glowing, blue, nitrogen-based plasma. (Image credit: ESA/NASA/DTU Space; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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