Gigantic jet over Puerto Rico
Since sprites were discovered in the late 1980s, researchers have photographed thousands of the strange upward-reaching lightning bolts. Their oversized cousins, Gigantic Jets, are far more rare. Only dozens have been photographed. It is no wonder, then, that observers are still seeing new behaviors in this type of powerful "super sprite." On Oct. 2nd, photographer Frankie Lucena may have recorded the first example of a "double Gigantic Jet."

"In the past, I've captured Gigantic Jet events that split into two, but this is the first time I've seen a Gigantic Jet that fired a second time just as the first jet was beginning to fade out," explains Lucena. "They shared the same channel of ionization, so it is considered to be a single event."

Lucena photographed the repeating jet from his private observatory in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. The instigating thunderstorm was about 100 km offshore. The arrow in this satellite image points from his camera to the source of the lightning.

Lucena is a leading photographer of Gigantic Jets. In a field where sightings number in the dozens, Lucena alone has photographed 39 Gigantic Jets from his Caribbean observatory since he began his work in 2010. So when he says a repeating Gigantic Jets is rare, it really is. View more examples of sprites and their cousins in the Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery.