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Blue lightning caught on video from space

Blue jet
An image captured from the International Space Station shows an electrical discharge known as a blue jet shooting up toward space from a cloud. (ESA / NASA Photo / Andreas Mogensen)

For years, scientists have been piecing together evidence of peculiar phenomena known as red sprites, blue jets, pixies and elves – exotic types of electrical discharges that emanate from thunderstorms.

Just one week after his arrival on the International Space Station, Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured the best evidence that blue jets exist. Mogensen’s 160-second video documented 245 blue flashes as the space station flew 250 miles above the Bay of Bengal.

Now the findings have been published in Geophysical Research Letters. “According to the researchers, this is the first time they’ve ever seen this blue lightning shoot up like that,” Mogensen said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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