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‘Jumbo jet’ shot into space may be most powerful lightning detected so far

It was getting dark, the rain was pouring down, and a flash of lightning flashed through the air. But instead of hitting the ground or gliding between the clouds, the lightning bolt did something unexpected: It exploded straight up from the tops of the clouds, shooting 50 miles (80 kilometers) into the sky, skimming through space the lower edge of .

Bolts like these are called jumbo jets. They’re the rarest and most powerful type of lightning, occurring just 1,000 times a year and emitting more than 50 times the energy of a typical lightning bolt — and now, scientists have just discovered the most powerful giant jet to date.

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