Red sprites, also known as “lightning sprites,” are a rare and fascinating phenomenon that occurs high above thunderstorms. These electric discharges are typically associated with powerful lightning strikes, and they are known to reach heights of up to 90 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.
Recently, a photographer captured an incredible photo of a red sprite above a castle in southern France, and the image has been widely shared on social media.
The photograph was taken by French astrophotographer Jean-Luc Dauvergne on August 17, 2021. Dauvergne was in the town of Alès, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, when he spotted the red sprite above the nearby castle.
In the photo, the sprite appears as a large, branching red shape above the castle’s spires. The image is truly stunning, and it captures the otherworldly beauty of this rare phenomenon.
Red sprites are difficult to photograph, and capturing a clear image of one is a significant accomplishment for any astrophotographer. These elusive discharges typically last for only a few milliseconds, and they can be challenging to capture with a camera.
To photograph this particular red sprite, Dauvergne used a Canon 6D camera and a 50mm f/1.8 lens, along with a tripod and a cable release. He captured the image with a 10-second exposure, which allowed him to capture the sprite’s full shape and color.
Red sprites are not fully understood by scientists, and they remain a subject of ongoing research. These electrical discharges are thought to be related to lightning strikes, but they occur at much higher altitudes and are less powerful than traditional lightning.
Despite their rarity and mystery, red sprites are an incredible natural phenomenon that remind us of the vastness and complexity of our planet and its atmosphere. The stunning photograph captured by Jean-Luc Dauvergne is a testament to the power and beauty of these elusive discharges, and it serves as a reminder of the wonders that exist in our world.