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firefly5 December 12th, 2015 5:24am

Science Friday (1/3): A sprite is a type of upper-atmospheric lightning that is typically a bright yellow-green color, though it may sometimes appear more toward the red end of the spectrum.

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BamaGirl ROLL TIDE from Arizona
12/12/15 1:30 pm

Not a clue!
Your description sounds gorgeous though!

Jeninerd Hoth, AK
12/11/15 10:45 pm

I'm colorblind; do I get a pass on this question? 😂

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Praetorianus Fair enough.
12/11/15 10:26 pm

To me, a sprite is either a spirit or s bitmap on the C64 computer.

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firefly5 the verse
12/11/15 10:25 pm

First, sprites are generally fairly red to red-orange. Sometimes, they're more a green-blue color, but they're very rarely (if ever) yellow-green. Second, lightning is a plasmic discharge, while a sprite is more of a cold plasma event

firefly5 the verse
12/11/15 10:25 pm

(cold plasma = only a small fraction is ionized, as opposed to plasma (without modifier), where most of the medium is ionized). I know this is a bit technical, and I would have avoided it, but I feel okay about it after having done

firefly5 the verse
12/11/15 10:25 pm

last week's Science Friday on plasma. Moving on. A sprite is more like what happens in a fluorescent lightbulb than like proper lightning.

firefly5 the verse
12/11/15 10:25 pm

Sprites are very large electrical discharges that appear as flashes above thunderstorms. They are made of small clusters of ionization that shoot downward toward the stormcloud, followed by another set of upward-moving ionization.

firefly5 the verse
12/11/15 10:25 pm

The discharge of positive lightning between a stormcloud and the ground, under the right conditions, triggers this exchange of ionization, but the sprites are often offset from their trigger lightning strikes by as much as 50 km.
I'd write more, but I think the pictures are more interesting:
goo.gl/jwzLyE
goo.gl/W8gQV3
goo.gl/gkrYaD
Related phenomena:
Blue Jets - goo.gl/KhwTjm
Gigantic Jets - goo.gl/vYI4ps
Compiled - goo.gl/XibfJX