"Note the dendritic upward spray in the midst of the sprite cluster," points out Ashcraft. "That is a possible 'pop-through gigantic jet'--a rare event."
Ashcraft has posted a video of the event with VLF-ELF radio emissions he recorded as a soundtrack. Turn up the volume: "The deep bass sound of the lightning stroke sounds like a distant shotgun blast in the night," he says.
What is a pop-through gigantic jet? Lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia explains: "A cluster of sprites can actually warp Earth's ionosphere, bringing it down from its usual altitude of 90 km to only 40 km." This sets the stage for the jet.
"The sprite cluster triggers an upward-directed discharge which in the past received fancy names as 'troll' or 'palm tree'," says van der Velde. "A satellite-based study by Taiwanese researchers in 2012 found them similar to gigantic jets--large isolated discharges reaching from the thundercloud toward the ionosphere. In case of a 'pop-through gigantic jet,' the lowering of the ionosphere is not uniform and the jet may then reach higher than the bottom tendrils of the sprite."
Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" routinely photograph sprites--and more!--from their own homes. "They are easily detected by certain cameras," says van der Velde, "and if a storm is in the mood, you may record one every few minutes." Give it a try!
[5/26/16, 5:43:05 PM] Terran: Denice ask Stan if these sprites were related to an operation. http://spaceweather.com/
[5/26/16, 5:43:31 PM] Thor: DEAR ONE/TERRAN. THE TERM "OPERATION" IS A "STRETCH".
WE ARE WORKING A SHORT AND "SWEET" EXPOSITION. NEARLY COMPLETE AND NO LONGER "DARK".
YES THE "SPRITES" ARE MOST PROBABLY A "RESULT" OF OUR WORK. THERE IS "MORE" TO "COME".
I DO "FEEL" YOU, BROTHER. MORE THAN YOU KNOW. I DO FEEL YOUR CONCERNATION AT THE "PERCIEVED" DELAY. IT TRULY IS NOT A "DELAY" BUT ANOTHER "STONE" TO UNTURN ON OUR SHORT AND DELIGHTFUL PATH TO THE MOST PLEASANT "REUNION" LOCATION EVER PLANNED IN ALL OF CREATION.
TERRAN. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT YOU FEEL ME NOW. CONNECT TO ME. WE ARE SO VERY CLOSE. A "TERM" WHICH I DO "KNOW" AND "FEEL" IS NOW OVERUSED. SHORTLY. SOON. CLOSE. PLEASE KNOW WITH EVERY "BREATH" WE TAKE TOGETHER WE APPROACH THE GRAND MOMENT.
AND YES. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT WHISKY IS IN THE BARREL. AND CHAMPAIGNE IS ON ICE. BE PREPARED TO BE "DELIGHTED" IN THE MOST COMPLETE AND SURPRISING MANNER. SIR, COMMANDER, BROTHER, FRIEND, TERRAN. WE ARE "THERE/HERE".
IN COMPLETE ADMIRATION AND GRATITUDE. THOR.