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                      Rare red lightning images captured in high Tibet

                      By Hu Dongmei and ZHENG CAIXIONG in Yinchuan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-05-27 16:26
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                      Two photographers from the Ningxia Hui autonomous region successfully captured images of rare red sprite lightning clusters in the Himalaya.

                      It's the first time the spectacular sky scenery has been photographed in China.

                      "It was a great surprise to shoot the red sprite lightning clusters," said photographer Dong Shuchang. "We were all shocked. This may be the largest of these clusters ever seen in the country."

                      The clusters appeared to be densely packed, he said. The phenomenon appeared about every two minutes, with four or five consecutive lightning flashes sometimes appearing in a single frame.

                      Dong and his partner, An Jiu, both professional astronomical photographers, originally wanted to photograph the starry sky and the Milky Way when they arrived in the Tibet autonomous region.

                      As they were looking for the well-known galactic river of stars in the night sky on May 19, they noticed the red sprite lightning clusters, which continued through early morning the next day. They recorded the whole process from multiple angles for more than three hours.

                      Their time-lapse photography recorded the lightning and airglow ripples. The ghost fire sprites, which emit green flashes when lightning strikes oxygen atoms, was recorded for the first time in China.

                      Red sprite lightning clusters are usually formed in the middle layer of the atmosphere, in various shapes. They are an electrical discharge phenomenon in the middle and upper atmosphere that occurs in a strong thunderstorm system, but only for brief moments.

                      Dong said he always tries his best in every shot, as he hopes to use his lens to capture the most beautiful pictures and let more people see the beautiful starry sky.

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