Mysterious Lightning Sprites Photographed over Kiama

Along with meteorites and the southern lights

The rare event was captured by Kiama astrophotographer David Finlay on the South Coast of New South Wales. Fondly known as Lightning Sprites, the phenomenon is a type of space lightning that erupts above a thunderstorm.

The Lightning Sprites appear as orange/red tendrils flashing in the sky.

"There are a variety of sprites associated with intense lightning storms and this particular one, I didn't know it was possible they occurred over the Australian mainland," Mr Finlay said.

The Sprites were pinpointed between Moruya and Bega. Photographer Mr Finlay didn’t even realise what he had captured until reviewing the video footage.

"It was also the night of the Lyrids meteor shower, and I usually don't bother to go out and shoot them, but I thought there was a chance I'd get some Lyrid meteors and Aurora Australis at the same time," he said.

"I was at Marsden Reserve at Kiama Heights, and there was also a brilliant storm that wasn't moving.

"It was just boiling in the one spot over Jervis Bay, and I thought maybe there's a chance I'll capture these lightning sprites."

The event is so rare that a friend of Mr Finlay said of the photo:

You only need a Tasmanian Tiger walking along the headland, and you've just about got everything you've ever wanted in that stretch of footage.

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