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If I would guess I expect you can see it two ways. As I understand it lightening gets created by two poles, one in the air and one on the ground. It's their 'cooperation' that creates what we see as the flash, so in that motto I would say no. Those celestial objects Mr S. may be thinking of I expect to be to far away. As for it going sideways? Don't know, then you would have to need something more 'grounded' than the ground itself.Then we come to what lightening is. It's a type of electromagnetic radiation, and as such it radiates in all directions, so in that motto I would say yes. Then we have electromagnetic 'plasmas' like 'ball lightening's' that can 'float' turn and travel in the air, but they are 'self contained' as I understands it?As for those sprites? They are electromagnetic discharges in the air triggered by positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground, so even though they seem to appear directed outwards at times I think of them as molecular discharges coloring the sky above those thunder clouds. But who knows?http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2006/arch06/060322sprite.htmAnd here's what Nasa think they're good for.http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/image_lightning.html