ESOcast 81: Spirits in the Sky!

1 February 2016

One of ESO’s Photo Ambassadors has joined a select band of people who have photographed a strange phenomenon in the sky, known as Red Sprites. These are not astronomical objects, but occur in the Earth’s atmosphere and are associated with thunderstorms. They are hard to spot, as the conditions need to be right, and they are only visible for a few seconds. But Petr Horálek was in the right place at the right time when he visited ESO’s observatories at La Silla and Paranal in Chile. This ESOcast explores the extraordinary images that result and describes how this ghostly phenomenon comes about.

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Editing: Herbert Zodet.
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.
Written by: Petr Horálek, Rebecca Davies and József Bór.
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa.
Music: STAN DART (
Footage and photos: ESO, Petr Horálek, L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser, A. Santerne, ESA, NASA, NOAA, image and videos courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center ( ISS042-E-130893 and ISS045-E-5122, ISS Expedition 31 and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, University of Glasgow Archive Services, Papers of Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, GB248 DC448/2/2/2, EUMETSAT (, Walter Lyons (, Mike Hollingshead (, Matt Katzenberger, Charles Strebor, Emil Ivanov, Miloslav Druckmüller/Pavel Štarha (, Martin Popek (, Gianluca Lombardi ( and C. Malin (
Directed by: Petr Horálek and Herbert Zodet.
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.



Richard Hook
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591

About the Announcement



Screenshot of ESOcast 81
Screenshot of ESOcast 81


ESOcast 81: Red Sprites
ESOcast 81: Red Sprites
Excerpt from ESOcast 81
Excerpt from ESOcast 81
Excerpt from ESOcast 81
Excerpt from ESOcast 81
Excerpt from ESOcast 81
Excerpt from ESOcast 81