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The rare phenomenon of the "sprite" lightning captured about the Armagh Observatory Photo by: Armagh Observatory

Rare lightning phenomenon filmed in Irish skies in recent thunderstorms (VIDEO)

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The rare phenomenon of the "sprite" lightning captured about the Armagh Observatory Photo by: Armagh Observatory

The Armagh Observatory managed to capture a rare phenomenon known as a “sprite” on film during the massive thunderstorms of July 24 and 25 in Dublin. 

The unusual lightning manifests as a carrot-shaped flash of light. It could be seen (see gif below) rising about the thunder clouds as seen from Armagh. On 25 July, around 15 lightning flashes were seen between 01:00 and 03:00am. At 01:05 BST the luminous, carrot-shaped sprite was recorded on video.

Ordinarily lightning jumps between clouds or between clouds and the ground. However sprites, associated with similarly powerful electrical fields, occurs about the clouds, often during particularly intense storms. 

These sprites usually occur at 50 to 100 kilometers off the ground, in the middle part of the Earth’s atmosphere, the mesosphere. 

They are also red and faint and usually unseen to naked eye however they can be tens of kilometers wide. 

The Armagh Observatory have used five light-sensitive, surveillance-type video cameras since 2005 to help study meteor activity in this region of the Earth's atmosphere, reports the BBC.

John McFarland, from the Observatory, said the activity took place in the direction of County Louth or Dublin. 

He said, “It appears to be a typical 'red sprite', sometimes called a 'carrot' sprite owing to its distinctive shape.”

“Apart from being extraordinary and awesome to behold, the relatively recent discovery of sprites reminds us that the Earth's upper atmosphere remains a mystery, with a lot still to be learned about the environment of our own planet.”

Here’s a gif from the The Armagh Observatory:

Sprite lightning over Dublin

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