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Once Upon a Time in a Thunderstorm

Dragon
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Once Upon a Time in a Thunderstorm Empty Once Upon a Time in a Thunderstorm

Post by Dragon Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:45 am

Thunderstorms in Earth’s upper atmosphere remain something of a mystery. Scientists cannot reach them directly with instruments; they are too high for balloons and too low for weather satellites. Flying through thunderstorms or camping out on mountaintops waiting for one typically ranks low even on an adventurers' bucket list.

An investigation aboard the International Space Station has come to the rescue. The European Space Agency (ESA) Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is a collection of optical cameras, photometers and a large X- and gamma-ray detector mounted on the outside of ESA’s Columbus Module on the station. For at least two years, it will observe thunderstorm-generated electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere – the stratosphere and mesosphere – up to the ionosphere, the edge of space. This Earth observation facility enables study of severe thunderstorms and their role in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:47 am

Once Upon a Time in a Thunderstorm Storm_1
Credits: DTU Space, TGF: NASA

Upper atmospheric phenomena powered by thunderstorms, including terrestrial Gamma Ray Flashes and Transient Luminous Emissions (TLEs), electrical discharges that include blue glimpses at the top of thunderstorms, blue jet, gigantic jet, red sprite, haloes, and elves.

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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:48 am



Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) are flashes and glows that appear above storms and are results of activity occurring in and below those storms. Researchers are working to better understand lightning and thunderstorms, how they form and develop over time, and why storms produce different TLEs in different circumstances.

 
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:49 am



In September 2015, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured the storm above India through the International Space Station’s cupola windows. He witnessed red sprites above the storm and blue jets stream upward.

 

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