A spectacular outburst of jet lightning, also known as “gigantic jets,” was captured by the Gemini Observatory’s cloud camera on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on July 24.
In a photo gallery of weird lightning types , our sister site Live Science states that gigantic jets “may be the tallest kind of lightning in the world. More than 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.”
The Gemini Observatory’s time-lapse video also shows mesospheric gravity waves, which “could have been caused by the strong convection present in the thunderstorm,” according to Spaceweather.com contributor Frankie Lucena. (Gravity waves are restricted to bodies of water and planetary atmospheres; they’re different than gravitational waves , which are ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by the acceleration of massive cosmic objects.)
The Gemini Observatory cloud cam on Mount Kea in Hawaii captured imagery of jet lightning, also known as gigantic jets. Enhanced using Adobe Premiere and Photoshop by Frankie Lucena.
Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/Frankie Lucena
Photographer Steve Cullen made Lucena aware of the appearance of the gigantic jets, leading him to report on the event and process photos sent by Tom Cumming of the Gemini Observatory.
Correction: The original article classified this jet lightning as blue jets. The heights it reached would classify it as gigantic jets.