Rare photo of “Red Sprites” space lightning captured with Canon 5D Mark II


posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 3:51 PM EST

You don't have to be the Mars Rover Curiosity to capture out-of-the-world imagery of outer space. A Danish photographer used an astro-modified Canon 5D Mark II to record an eye-popping photo of Red Sprites, which are a form of cosmic lightning that "dances at the edge of space," according to Spaceweather.com.

The photographer, Jesper Grønne of Silkeborg, Denmark, was actually shooting with the 5D II in video mode, when he captured these Red Sprites on August 15th.


"After several years of hunting sprites from my location in Denmark, I finally caught some last week -- the first danish Red Sprites ever photographed," Grønne told Spaceweather.com.

Sprites occur when a powerful lightning bolt draws a charge from a cloud near the Earth's surface. The electrical field then shoots to the top of the earth's atmosphere, producing the sprite. Sprites are distinguished from regular lightning by their red or orange flashes.

Here's some black-and-white video showing sprites in action.