Lightning strike lights up the sky at Mauna Kea

Local News

Courtesy: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/A. Smith

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A lightning phenomenon could be seen atop Mauna Kea in what researchers describe as a rare occurrence.

In the image, telescopes on Mauna Kea sit calmly beneath a sky filled with vibrant colors and a glowing light. Amongst these telescopes is Gemini North, the northern member of the International Gemini Observatory.

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Gemini North sits at an altitude of around 4200 meters or 13,800 feet. The observatory’s nighttime cloud cams were able to capture the lightning strike, which shows red and blue lights shooting up from the top of the cloud deck and striking out towards space, instead of down towards Earth.

According to the observatory’s researchers, the colors seen are actually electric discharges called red sprites and blue jets.

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