Observatory of the International Space Station Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) recorded five blue jets – an anomalous type of lightning that strikes from the top of a thunderstorm cloud in the stratosphere.
Jets lasting 10 microseconds were observed on Feb. 26, 2019, near the island of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean. One of the lightning flashes produced a jet that reached the stratopause-the boundary between the stratosphere and ionosphere at about 50 to 55 kilometers. In addition to the jets were recorded “elves” (ELVES), which are expanding rings of optical and ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere, lasting no more than a millisecond.
Blue jets occur during an electrical breakdown between the positively charged upper part of a thunderstorm cloud and the negatively charged air layer above it. The result is the formation of a leader, a conductive channel of ionized air through which the discharge propagates. However, in this case, the radiation from the leader was weak, which indicates that the leader itself was short compared to the conductive channels of ordinary lightning.
The blue jets themselves refer to streamers – branched strands of electrical discharges similar to those generated by Tesla coils. In addition, blue jets are likely as a phenomenon to occur more frequently than previously thought.