It's not the first time the electric tentacles of a rare red sprite were captured from the International Space Station, but the color and clarity of the short-lived flash that occurred last week over Mexico is garnering some interest.
The image taken from the ISS on August 10 at an altitude of 216 nautical miles shows the jellyfish-like tendrils that NASA describes as "electrical discharges can extend 20 to 30 kilometers up into the atmosphere and are connected to thunderstorms and lightning."
In a previous article about the phenomenon, NASA explained that red sprites — first scientifically described in 1989 — are considered so elusive because they last a few milliseconds and are hard to see from the ground because they occur above thunderstorm clouds. A few years ago, passengers on an airplane were treated to seeing the flash of a red sprite in the clouds.
A few years ago, storm chasers captured a 3-D film of sprites occurring above the clouds.