“Transient luminous event” may sound like a euphemism for a ghost, but it’s actually a lovely phenomenon that may be viewed from the International Space Station on rare occasions. Thomas Pesquet, a European Space Agency astronaut and current ISS resident, tweeted a photo of an ethereal blue glow rising over Europe.
Upper-atmospheric lightning causes transient bright events. Pesquet tweeted about it this week, calling it “a very unusual incident.”
The International Space Station is in an ideal position to examine the colorful happenings, which are characterized using a variety of exotic names such as elves, sprites, and giants. Photographers with keen eyes have even been able to capture them from the ground, as seen in these stunning images of red sprites posted in 2017.