Stunning blue lightning filmed from the International Space Station

Researchers at the International Space Station have managed to catch rare blue lightning on camera, giving everyone a look at the phenomenon commonly only spotted by pilots. Such blue flashes aren't something you're likely to see from the ground, as they tend to happen above thunderstorms, making them visible to planes above the clouds. In an effort to better study them, the researchers were asked to point a special camera above one such thunderstorm.

Such colorful lightning storms have been a source of controversy, with researchers best learning about them via accounts given by pilots. To help study them, the European Space Agency's astronaut Andreas Mogensen was tasked with pointing a highly sensitive camera at an active thunderstorm from the ISS.

The results were given to the National Space Institute in Denmark, which has made them public. The results are stunning, featuring huge blue flashes of lightning taking place at an altitude of about 18 kilometers. In one instant, a blue streak of light is estimated to have spanned about 40 kilometers in length. The video was recorded over the Bay of Bengal as the ISS flew past.

The astronaut is said to have successfully captured a cloud turret extending from the thunderstorm, recording 245 blue flashes of lightning over the duration of 160 seconds. Speaking about the video, Andreas said, "It is not every day that you get to capture a new weather phenomenon on film, so I am very pleased with the result..."

SOURCE: European Space Agency