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GIGANTIC JET

This rare space lightning may become a common sight in our night sky

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A rare display of space-bound lightning bolts lit up Hawaii's tallest volcano last Monday. The phenomenon, known as a "gigantic jet" or "space lightning," has been witnessed only a few dozen times and is usually spotted over open ocean, making its appearance on Mauna Kea even more unique.

GIGANTIC JET

Researchers believe gigantic jets are related to cosmic rays, or sub-atomic particles from deep space that can collide with earth's atmosphere and ignite the reaction of space-bound bolts. Space lightning also has a more common, but less vivid sister, the sprite, which is an electrical discharge that occurs over thunderstorms.

Scientists say that because of changes in the solar cycle, we may be seeing more gigantic jets and sprites in the future.

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