Expedition 31 astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) were recently able to capture this image of an elusive atmospheric phenomenon, which was believed to be the stuff of legend for many years. Called a sprite, the event is intimately tied to thunderstorms and lightnings.
The short-lived, red flashes occur when a lightning strikes the ground. The sprites rushes upwards, in the opposite direction to the lightning, and can make its way to around 20 to kilometers (12.4 to 18.6 miles) above the planet.
They generally form at altitudes of around 80 kilometers (50 miles), and were first imaged by accident, from an airplane, in 1989. Since then, the US space shuttles confirmed their existence, through low-light camera photography conducted from orbit.
The image above was snapped as the ISS was moving over central Myanmar. The photo is made up of three frames from a time-lapse movie collected from 13:41 to 13:47 UTC, on April 30, 2012, NASA