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Aliens are here? Nope, just rare type of lightning sprite spotted over Oklahoma

A "jellyfish lightning sprite" is spotted over a thunderstorm near Oklahoma City on May 24, 2018 (Photo: Paul Smith, Dramatic Sky Photography)

It might be one of the most freakish, yet more beautiful natural phenomenon you'll see -- a flash of "jellyfish sprite" lightning.

Paul Smith captured the incredible photo while storm chasing near Oklahoma City early Thursday morning.

"The sprites were about 80 miles away from me," Smith told Dr. Tony Phillips with SpaceWeather.com. "At that distance I could see over the tops of the storm cells where the jellyfish appear. I've photographed many sprites from 200 to 300 miles away. These, however, were unusually nearby, and they are my best pictures yet."

Sprites are a rare form of "upward directed lightning" -- an energy release above the storm in addition to the more traditional lightning strikes we see inside and below the storms.

MORE | Popular Science: What Is A Red Sprite?

"Although the forms have been seen for at least a century, many scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle," Phillips said.

Like traditional lightning, these sprites are only visible for an instant; Smith lucked out in capturing this display on his camera.

Smith has become quite adept at chasing after sprites, and his Dramatic Sky Photography Facebook page is full of photos and video detailing the strange sights.

Here's another video Smith captured in April:

Smith says he caught the "sprite-chasing" bug when he accidentally caught some of camera while filing the Perseid Meter Shower last summer.

"I have a couple of hundred events on camera now and I am out almost every night there are storms in my vicinity," Smith told Phillips. "This month I have driven for five hours some nights trying to find a clear view over active cells."

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