“A few years ago, in the summer, I would do ‘sprites’ work. A sprite looks like lightning but it’s much higher up and much bigger — it’s something that people didn’t even really know existed until 1990-ish. There is a researcher at the GI, Hans Nielsen, who is involved in sprites research and I was assisting him. So we were flying these private jets around following thunderstorms looking for sprites. I was up there running the scientific equipment for that and I was like ‘Oh, I’ll just throw my personal camera in the window just for the heck of it and see what I get.’ I ended up getting what I think are the first actual full-frame, consumer images of a sprite on my camera. Those images went around the world and became viral. I was really proud of that.”
In the T. Neil Davis Science Operations Center on Poker Flat Research Range, Jason Ahrns was the switchboard operator for the live launch broadcasts during the 2018 launch season.