A strange glow was observed in the sky over southwest France at the beginning of September. A photographer’s photo was widely commented on…

It is a strange glow that was observed in the sky of France at the beginning of September. An amateur photographer had the right reflex and was able to immortalize the moment with a spectacular photo of this summer sky, including a red reflection with an astonishing shape. Flying jellyfish, supernatural phenomenon, alien invasion… There were numerous reactions after the publication of this photo taken in Dordogne, on the night of Saturday September 2 to Sunday September 3, 2023.

This luminous phenomenon proved extremely difficult to capture, as it appeared very furtively. Maxime Villaeys’ photo therefore quickly interested social media subscribers but also the scientific community. When some began to speculate about an alien invasion or other X-Files-style scenarios, others attempted to more seriously explain the presence of this “sky jellyfish”. And the phenomenon does have a scientific explanation.

It even has a name, that of “leprechaun”, already observed in Antiquity and which has been the subject of numerous beliefs over the centuries and cultures. Nothing extraterrestrial down there or divine as the Greeks or Native Americans might have thought, “leprechauns” are electromagnetic light phenomena that appear in storm clouds. They are extremely brief and occur at altitudes of several kilometers.

Leprechauns are often red in color, hence their little nickname in French “farfadet”, as in English: “red sprites”. The photographer who took this magnificent shot was fascinated by this encounter with a leprechaun. “Their mysteries and their ability to inspire wonder, remind us of the diversity and magic of the nature that surrounds us.”