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Published on Aug 20, 2008
The original 1994 video clip from which the terms "Red Sprites" and "Blue Jets" are derived. The video was made at a local TV station in Oklahoma City from example events recorded during an aircraft campaign to investigate basic properties of sprites. The clip shows examples of: (a) the first color images of sprites, (b) the first images of blue jets, (c) the first recordings of distinctive radio signatures associated with sprites, and (d) the first realistic determination of the altitude reached by sprites (~95 km). The blue jet images were obtained on 1 July 1994 over an extremely active thunderstorm that dumped 7 cm diameter hail on Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas. The horizon is slightly tilted because the aircraft were flying at close to their service ceiling of ~45,000 ft. The clip shows the two jet aircraft that were flown ~50 km apart to obtain stereoscopic views, some of the instrumentation inside the aircraft used to make the observations, and the team.
The reports based on these observations are (1) Sentman et al. (1995), "Preliminary results from the Sprites94 aircraft campaign: 1. Red Sprites", Geophys. Res. Lett., vol 22, pp 1205-1208; and (2) Wescott et al. (1995), "Preliminary results from the Sprites94 aircraft campaign: 2. Blue jets", Geophys. Res. Lett., vol 22, pp 1209-1212. The observations are a followup to an earlier report of aircraft observations of what subsequently became known as sprites published by Sentman and Wescott (1993), "Observations of upper atmospheric optical flashes recorded from an aircraft," Geophys. Res. Lett., vol 20, pp 2857-2860. (Note: several word misspellings have been retained in the video captions for reasons of historical accuracy.)