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The Beauty and Science of Red Sprites Videos and Talk by Peter McLeish

  • Tsang Shiu Tim Art Hall HKUST (map)
Poster_The Beauty and Science of Red Sprites Videos and Talk by Peter McLeish_20181003-01.jpg


The whole 1.5-hours event is divided to two parts: film screening and seminar.

Film 1: The Hundred Year Hunt For The Red Sprite (42 minutes)

Finalist, Telly Awards
Videographer Award of Excellence
Gold Award,Aurora Awards

Based upon our planetarium production of the same name, this program documents one of the most unexpected scientific findings in the atmosphere during the late 20th century. For over a century, people, including well respected scientists, had reported seeing strange lights in the night sky about thunderstorms - and they were. But it remained for a "happy accident" in 1989 when the first such event was captured on a low-light camera's video tape. One researcher exclaimed it was as if Biology had just suddenly discovered a new human body part. Since then, an entire "zoo" of luminous creatures have been found in the thin air above thunderstorms. And the discoveries are still being made. The program also shows how the public can become engaged in the search for new thunderstorm related electrical phenomena. This film also discusses aspects of astronomy, space science and meteorology. 

'....the images and graphics are could watch this program forever...kept me on the edge of my seat...' Weatherwise Magazine


Film 2:  Lightning`s Angels (6 minutes)

Mr Peter McLeish’s interpretation of Red sprites as art are presented in the form of a 2002 video titled "Lightning's Angels". This video was presented at many major International art & science symposiums, conferences, festivals and events all around the world. Lightning's Angels is a six minute video that combines digitally enhanced oil paintings of a Red sprite, in various states of transformation, accompanied by the song MISERERE from the CD STATE OF GRACE by Paul Schwartz featuring the Joyful Company of Singers.  The images displayed in his video are of a Red sprite as seen from up above or from a high altitude aircraft and/or Space Shuttle. This video was created with the cooperation & assistance from American scientist Dr. Walter A. Lyons: FMA Research Inc.- Sky-Fire Productions (Colorado, United States) & scientist Dr. Colin Price from the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science, Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv, Israel)/NASA Space Shuttle Columbia's MEIDEX mission.


Peter McLeish is a Canadian-born international multimedia artist, painter, filmmaker and lecturer with a Master of Fine Arts degree. His initial education was in the sciences (physics and advanced mathematics) prior to his training in the visual arts. He has given over 80 solo and group exhibitions and film presentations and lectures in over 60 cities.

Since 2001, Peter has been collaborating with American scientist, Dr. Walter A. Lyons, on multimedia projects based on an upper atmospheric optical phenomenon (associated with thunderstorms) named Red Sprites. Peter has given numerous newspaper, magazine, television and radio interviews in many countries including High Art in The Weather (Spring/2012 edition), a London-based magazine. His research has also been documented in many publications around the world such as THE HISTORIC SEARCH FOR RED SPRITES: How my Art Meets Science in “Lightning’s Angels”, published in Leonardo Journal/The MIT Press.

Language: English


HKUST students may attain 1.5 hours credit for the HLTH1010 Healthy Lifestyle Course after attending the talk.

Free admission
All are welcome
No admission under the age of 6


Co-organized by the HKUST Center for Education Innovation, Center for the Arts and Library