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ISS044-E-45553
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1000 x 705 pixels 540 x 381 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels 640 x 426 pixels

MAP LOCATION
latitude/longitude of image
ISS nadir point: 28.2° N, 109.4° W

Photo center point: 31.5° N, 99.5° W

Nadir to Photo Center: East

Spacecraft Altitude: 215 nautical miles (398km)
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1000 pixels 705 pixels No Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download
540 pixels 381 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No Download
640 pixels 426 pixels No No Download
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Georeferenced by human interaction - exported 2016-08-17-001717-UTC
Georeferenced by human interaction - exported 2016-08-24-010654-UTC
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Image Caption: Red Sprites Above the U.S. and Central America

Viewing from a point over northwest Mexico, astronauts aboard the International Space Station looked northeast and shot this unusual photograph of a red sprite above the white light of an active thunderstorm (image top left). The sprite was 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) away, high over Missouri or Illinois; the lights of Dallas, Texas appear in the foreground. The sprite shoots up to the greenish airglow layer, near a rising moon.

These photos show the sprite’s tendrils reaching as much as 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. Sprites are major electrical discharges, but they are not lightning in the usual sense. Instead, they are a cold plasma phenomenon without the extremely hot temperatures of lightning that we see underneath thunderstorms. Red sprites are more like the discharge of a fluorescent tube. Bursts of sprite energy are thought to occur during most large thunderstorm events. They were first photographed in 1989.