About 25 years ago this form of lightning called a red sprite was usually only seen by planes flying above storm clouds.
They're believed to start as 100 metre balls of ionized air shooting down from about 80 km high at 10 percent the speed of light followed by a group of upward streaking ionized balls.
This image taken during the week above central South Dakota, USA, captured a bright red sprite against the streaks of an aurora. It also showed the storm clouds crossing the bottom of the image which was photographed by Walter Lyons (FMA Research).
Red sprites take only a fraction of a second to occur and best seen when powerful thunderstorms are visible from the side.
The poster below shows the different types of lightning including red and blue sprites.