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First "Gigantic Jet" lightning captured in U.S.
August 24, 2007 7:35 AM   Subscribe

This extremely cool video captures the first "Gigantic Jets" (purportedly) ever captured in the U.S. "Think of them as sprites on steroids: Gigantic Jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They're enormous and powerful." See also: An article on the subject from 2003, a more technical article from Nature (mirrored) and how to look for yourself.
posted by spock (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't believe there is a whole suite of amatuer "ufodetect" software. Takes all kinds I guess.
posted by milovoo at 7:49 AM on August 24, 2007


I had not been previously aware of the Watec cameras and their use outside of surveilance and for astronomical purposes. These tiny cameras can be attached to a telescope eyepiece (with no lens) or a wide-field lens can be attached to them to capture VIDEO of astronomical events like meteor showers, asteroid occultations, lunar occultations, ect.

How cool is that? Apparently very popular with Japanese amateur astronomers. One more thing on the ol' wish list.
posted by spock at 7:56 AM on August 24, 2007


Video? Meh. Semi-professional motion capture software for astronomy? Awesome! The product page for UFOCapture suggests the "UFO" in the name is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 AM on August 24, 2007


Although the "UFO" name will put off some, the capture software is pretty amazing and designed for autodetecting things and turning on the video capture only when needed (as opposed to recording continuously). It's like a motion detector that turns on your porch light (for video). Another thing I was completely unaware of.
posted by spock at 8:02 AM on August 24, 2007


The product page for UFOCapture suggests the "UFO" in the name is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Yes, after reading more I came to realize that they are using the original meaning of UFO not the more SciFi version.

My first thought was someone wiring up many cameras because they just know that The Aliens are coming to their house and they wouldn't want to miss it because they were sleeping or going out to dinner.
posted by milovoo at 8:10 AM on August 24, 2007


Check out the capture samples on the UFOCapture page. Especially the "etc" category. WTH?
posted by BeerFilter at 8:16 AM on August 24, 2007


Looks like his neighbor (off camera) was firing off a shotgun into the air.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:22 AM on August 24, 2007


Wierd. What is a sprite, in this context?
posted by blahblahblah at 2:01 PM on August 24, 2007


Nevermind, this explains it. Awesome that there are such amazing phenomena that have only been discovered 10 years ago!
posted by blahblahblah at 2:03 PM on August 24, 2007


Cool spock - I remember reading about above the cloud lightning some years ago. These giant jets were being reported by airline pilots and scientist just did not believe them. Srsly. It is nice that they finally have "proof".
posted by vronsky at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2007


And thus we mortals have finally gotten a glimpse of Ygdrasil. Yay technology!
posted by moonbiter at 2:42 AM on August 25, 2007


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