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World's weirdest weather

By: Laura Moss on Sept. 1, 2010, 12:05 p.m.
red sprite

Photo: NASA

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Red sprites

Pilots have reported seeing colored flashes of light shooting from the tops of storm clouds for years, but the existence of this strange lightning wasn’t confirmed until 1989. Red sprites are blasts of red light that can soar up to 60 miles from the top of a cloud during a thunderstorm. They usually correspond with positively charged cloud-to-ground lightning and last for only a few seconds. Blue jets are similar to red sprites, but they’re negatively charged and appear as cones of blue light that occur lower in the atmosphere.