...Unusual Optical Phenomena Observed Over the Missouri Ozarks...

Record rainfall wasn’t the only unusual occurrence observed across the Ozarks during the early morning hours of Monday, August 20th.  Spaceweather.com reports that an amateur astronomer in Broken Arrow, OK videotaped what are known as gigantic jets emanating from the tops of the thunderstorms over southwestern Missouri.

The following image was captured by Richard Smedley, as posted on Spaceweather.com.  A video version of this phenomena is also available on the web site.

Gigantic jets are electrical flashes, essentially lightning, that extend upward from the top of a thunderstorm into the ionosphere, some 45+ miles above the surface of the earth.  Not much is known about gigantic jets. According to Spaceweather.com, approximately 30 jets have been photographed or videotaped over the past 6 or so years, with a vast majority captured over the ocean.  Unofficially, this is the second known gigantic jet to be videotaped over North America and likely the first over the continental United States.  It is certainly plausible that gigantic jets are much more common than have been observed; however, it appears that these optical phenomena are best observed using specialized equipment, such as low-light video cameras, rather than the naked eye.

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