If you wish to contribute or participate in the discussions about articles you are invited to join SKYbrary as a registered user


Work in progress

Transient Luminous Events (TLEs)

From SKYbrary Wiki

Revision as of 14:01, 24 July 2019 by Integration.Manager (talk | contribs) (Description)
Article Information
Category: Weather Weather
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Tag(s) Weather Phenomena


Transient Luminous Events schematic produced by NOAA (source: Wikicommons)


reach 50 – 90 km in altitude and are triggered by positive CG lightning. Sprite is also an acronym for Stratospheric/mesospheric Preturbations Resulting from Intense Thunderstorm Electrification. They are reddish-orange in color. Unlike tropospheric lightning, sprites are cold plasma, similar to fluorescent tube discharge. Based on their shape and visual appearance, we distinguish three types of sprites: jellyfish, column and carrot sprites.

Blue Jets

project directly from the top of the thunderstorm in a narrow cone jet up to approximately 50 km altitude. Unlike sprites, blue jets are, as the name implies, blue in color. They are not connected to lightning strikes. A smaller variation of blue jets are blue starters, which are similar to blue jets, but only reach about 20 km high up and are thought to be ‘failed’ blue jets.

Gigantic Jets

are similar to blue jets, but reach 70 km high and are exceedingly rare. The upper parts of gigantic jets produce red emissions, similar to sprites. Only a handful have been photographed or captured on video.


sprite halos and elves are rare and indistinct types of TLEs, producing large diffuse glows, in case of elves up to 400 km in diameter.

Related Articles

Further Reading