"Red elves": The impressive phenomenon that appeared in the sky of Cyprus (PICTURES)
Photos of the rare phenomenon are making the rounds on the internet
The photos captured by the well-known "red elves" are making the rounds on the internet.
The impressive Red Sprites phenomenon was recorded for the 2nd time in Cyprus on the night of November 13-14, 2023 by Angelos Kouries and George Paraskevaidis.
What are Red Sprites?
Red Sprites according to Kitas Weather fall into the category of "transient luminous events" (TLEs = Transient Luminous Events), with this category also including other rare luminous phenomena such as Blue Jets, Gigantic Jets, Elves, etc.) . The first recording of Red Sprites in an image was made by chance by scientists at the University of Minnesota on July 6, 1989, however reports of sightings of this particular phenomenon exist from much earlier.
Red Sprites are mainly red in color, they are mainly observed above strong storms at an altitude of about 40-50 km up to about 90 km and are indirectly associated with positive charge lightning (Positive Cloud to Ground lightning strokes). According to a study by Craig J. Rodger (1999), Red Sprites can be visually captured as simple columns or look like "jellyfish" in the sky.
According to the Athens Astrophotography and Storm Chasing Team managed by Christos Doudoulakis, "the appearance of these phenomena is the result of a local array of excitations and ionizations of atmospheric molecules (mainly molecular nitrogen) and are caused by pre-existing disturbances (columns of cold plasma, i.e. partially ionized gas, i.e. consisting of ions and free electrons) in that region".
In order for the Red Sprites to be recorded, there would have to be a line of strong storms around 50-100km up to 600-800km away from the observer (which we had on the night of Monday November 13th to Tuesday November 14th in the maritime area west of the island as you can see in the images of electrical discharges below) while the closer the storms are, the higher the Red Sprites will appear. Note that Red Sprites are extremely difficult to observe with the naked eye as they only last a few milliseconds while at the same time there should be no light pollution as they are extremely faint.