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25 Jul, 2017 01:00

Aussie astronomer captures rare footage of ‘upside down’ lightning sprites (VIDEO)

Aussie astronomer captures rare footage of ‘upside down’ lightning sprites (VIDEO)

An amateur Australian astronomer has recorded rare flashes of space lightning in the skies above New South Wales.

David Finlay, 44, from Kiama in Australia’s south western state, captured the phenomenon, known as sprites, while out stargazing near his home Tuesday.

"I set my camera up, and literally within minutes – almost no time at all – I started to see the sprites flashing on the horizon,” Finlay told the West Australian.

"I couldn't believe it. I thought I would be lucky to capture one or two, which would have been fantastic, but they just kept happening.”

Sprites are caused by electrical discharge during storms but rather than going towards the ground, they travel up into space instead. The phenomenon, which is sometimes referred to as “upside down lightning” was striking at the same height in that meteors burn up in the atmosphere.

Finlay believes it might be the first time the sprites has been captured from the ground on video in Australia, adding: “I don’t think anyone has ever captured so many at once in any one go anywhere.”

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