First Red Sprites from 2015 to 2016
..over Southern Bavaria 2015
Photographed at the 9th of August 2015 from Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck
My first Red Sprite
Heavy thunderstorms in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen region were already announced on the radio during the whole afternoon. Viewing from Fuerstenfeldbruck in the southern direction at 22.30h (total darkness) very bright strokes in a distance of may 80-100 km illuminated sometimes the whole southern part of the Bavarian Alp region. A nearly clear sky was situated over that spectacle and it was nearly new moon. Ohh.. best condition for catching Red Sprites. On our grass hill in Germerswang a very strong storm took place and made the photographing work very difficult. Also the illuminted area around Munich was not the best precondition.
Despite the feeling to get such a seldom Red Sprite-phenomenon never in my lifetime on chip , I was such surprised that it will take only 25 minutes ;-). So try your luck ....
Full HD Video ca.55MB
After checking out 600 photos, surprisingly a little Red Sprite appeared clearly left up at 21:07 UTC.
Canon5D MIII,24mm, f2.8, ASA 3200, Exp. 5sec
A more amplified image
A cutout from the image shows more details
More images of the thunderstorm scenery, but without sprites
..over Southwest Germany 2016
Photographed on 28-May-2016 in Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck
Heavy thunderstorms were discovered on the weather map at the 200-250km distanced southwest situated region of Freiburg and the 'Deriländereck' Schaffhausen (Basel, Muhlhouse). In Fuerstenfeldbruck a clear sky made the situation perfect. Ok up to the hill and the same procedure as in August 2015. And great!!! Three times this seldom Red Sprites were photographed.
After checking out 1200 photos, surprisingly three times the sprites were photographed at 21:50 UTC (23:50 MESZ)
Canon5D MIII, Sigma 35mm, f1.4, ASA 3200, Exp. 2,5sec
Movie 60 MB
The same event in a more wide angle
After 6 and 9 minutes two more Sprites (mid, right)
Hard contrasted images shows more details. On the left the more often seen Y-apperance
The weather Situation. In courtesy of Sat24
..over Italia / Trentino 2016
Photographed on 06-June-2016 from Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck
Heavy thunderstorms were discovered on the weather map of Sat24 over the 200-250km distanced South situated region of Trentino/Bolzano. In Fuerstenfeldbruck a clear sky made the situation perfect. Ok up to the hill again and the same procedure as last week. And great!!! A seldom triple angel Red Sprites was photographed.
Cutouts shows more details of the angel Sprite.
Movie 60 MB
Left: The same event in the original image size. Right in a cutout.
After checking out 1700 photos, surprisingly three times the sprites were photographed at 23:02 UTC (01:02 MESZ)
Canon5D MIII, Sigma 35mm, f2.8, ASA 3200, Exp. 2,sec
The thunder storm cell,
In courtesy of Sat24
..over the region of Dortmund 2016
Photographed on 24-June-2016 in Germerswang, Fuerstenfeldbruck
Heavy thunderstorms and lightnings were detected on the weather map of Sat24 over the 460km distanced region of Dortmund in Western Germany. In Fuerstenfeldbruck a very! clear starry sky made the situation perfect. Up on my home hill I turned the video camera on the NNW direction. And great!!! A seldom triple Red Sprites was filmed 9° over horizon again. The sprite was estimated from me in an average height about 70km.
Cutouts of the video capture shows more details
The same event in the original wide angle capture
Movie 1 (crop) 45 MB Movie 2 (Original) 40 MB
This time the phenomenon of Red Sprites was filmed at 22:15 UTC by a 4K video.
Sony a6300 , Sigma 35mm, f1.4, ASA 3200, Exp. 0,25sec,
Weather Situation on 24.June.2016 at 00:30
In courtesy of Sat24
...and here a little add on, this Sprite was discovered three months later on the recordings.
About Red Sprites
A red sprites appearance lasts from ~20 to ~100 milliseconds, but can be very bright and visible to the naked eye in dark areas.However, the brightness remains several times below a lightning discharge. On average, red sprites appear at an altitude of about 40 - 90 km from the stratosphere (<50km) through the mesosphere to the thermosphere (>80km). Sightings up to an altitude of 100 km in the thermosphere are also possible. The height dimension of a single sprite varies from ~10 km to ~60 km, the width can possibly reach 5 - 30 km. However, some 'sprite walls' or 'multiple sprites' can exceed 100km horizontally.
But how does the rare luminous phenomena come to this name, when they were discovered and what is the reason of origin?
Until 1989, the existence of Red Sprites was generally denied because only jet pilots announced sporadic sightings. Here they reaped rather grumpy and sarcastic reactions :-(. Thus, many sightings have been omitted. 1989 the first Red Sprite photos did succeed, but due to the not yet advanced camera technology the results were scientifically useless. 1991 the astronauts of the former Space shuttle mission succeeded photographically to capture this phenomenon specifically the first time from space. These photos served as the first meaningful evidence. Afterwards high-tech peppered research aircrafts were inserted by very costly experiments from the NASA and NOAA, which should explain and analyze these phenomena further. After this efforts yielded no results for months, and the researchers literally get messed around with this situation, the called these discharges almost mischievously 'Sprites'. But after a while and patient effords impressive high speed filmings succeeded.
By the way, there is still no definitive plausible explanation for the origin of Red Sprites, but there are countless theories. One theory explains that large energetic thunderstorm cells charge prior to lightning discharge, forming a (-e) leveling layer over the top of the cell. The initiator is always a violent positive! cloud-to-ground lightning which causes charge shifts (+) in the upper areas of the thunderstorm cell. Now the overlying (-e) layer is preserved longer and faces the (+) charged upper ionosphere (>90km). An quasi oversized electrostatic field is created for a short time according to the principle of a plate capacitor, which produces the surge, the so-called red sprite. This electromagnetic impulse ionizes nitrogen atoms from the stratosphere (<50km) to the upper thermosphere (90km) and causes them to glow through fluorescence (cold plasma, fluorescent tube principle or polar light).
In addition, another theory explains that the luminous phenomenon could be caused or supported by the cosmic gamma radiation that always occurs in the ionosphere. The cosmic gamma rays probably produce an (-e) chain reaction by collision. Thus a high-energy ion-electron cloud (-e) which reaches into the upper thermosphere (90km) arises, whereby the typical and unique sprite forms appears. There is also a scientific report in the Washington post which explain some theories.
Scientific article in the Washington post
All Red Sprites & Auroras
Volcano world Cinema
Etna to Stromboli
Planets & Space
©2022 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel
This private, non-commercial web site
Etna Stromboli Volcano world Cinema
From Etna to Stromboli Planets & Space
©2022 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel (tb)