“Gigantic Jet” Lightning Sighting in China Is Confirmed

The jet appears to shoot out towards the edge of space

By on February 27th, 2013 08:43 GMT

A mysterious lightning jet, appearing to burst towards the upper atmosphere in China in 2010, has recently been confirmed and documented by scientists.

These lightening jets appear to shoot up towards the edge of space, but they are in fact directed towards the ionosphere.

According to Our Amazing Planet, they usually appear in the troposphere, the lowest portion of the Earth's atmosphere.

While scientists are still working to determine their exact cause, they believe the phenomenon occurs due to the difference in electric charge between the ionosphere and the rest of the atmosphere.

Posted below is a video of a similar incident that occurred off the coast of North Carolina in 2009. It was captured by researchers at Duke University.

"People wonder if these gigantic jets might threaten spacecraft, aircraft and passengers. [...] This actually makes the study of gigantic jets and other lightning-related phenomena above active thunderstorms meaningful and of practical concern," researcher Gaopeng Lu at Duke describes.

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A photo of a gigantic lightning jet shows it shoot up towards the upper atmosphere
   A photo of a gigantic lightning jet shows it shoot up towards the upper atmosphere