While flying from Munich to Singapore earlier this month, an industrious passenger took images of a passing lightning storm and caught something unexpected: gigantic jet lightning.
Image credit Hung-Hsi Chang
The jet was captured on a single 3.2-second exposure above Bhadrak, India.
Although the gigantic jet appears connected to the airplane’s wing, it likely started in a more distant thundercloud, and can be seen extending upwards towards Earth’s ionosphere. The nature of gigantic jets and their possible association with other types of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) such as blue jets and red sprites remains an active topic of research.