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Leiden October 2007 High Time-Resolution Sprite Imaging: Observations and Implications H. C. Stenbaek-Nielsen Geophysical Institute University of Alaska.

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Presentation on theme: "Leiden October 2007 High Time-Resolution Sprite Imaging: Observations and Implications H. C. Stenbaek-Nielsen Geophysical Institute University of Alaska."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leiden October 2007 High Time-Resolution Sprite Imaging: Observations and Implications H. C. Stenbaek-Nielsen Geophysical Institute University of Alaska Fairbanks M. G. McHarg U.S. Air Force Academy

2 Leiden October 2007 This ppt version was prepared for conference web site posting. There are no animations in this version. Animations have been replaced with a representative image, and some additional explanatory text has been added. I will be preparing compressed version of animations. (Most are too large for ) Some are available with our publications through AGU’s journal website: McHarg et al. GRL, 34, L06804, doi: /2006GL027854, 2007 Stenbaek-Nielsen et al., GRL, 34, L11105, doi: /2007GL029881, 2007 For further info contact us by

3 Leiden October 2007 Trans Luminous Events (TLE) Elve: 1 ms E&M pulse Halo: 1-5 ms: glow discharge Sprite: 1-10 ms; streamer discharge Afterglow: ms chem. processes Blue jets, beads, crawlers, ambers etc.: ms process ?????

4 Leiden October examples at 1000 fps Sprite dynamics Images show features well known from TV image sequences with better detail –Halo, tendrils, branches, and beads Images colorized for emphasis Altitude scale derived assuming sprite to be at lightning strike (NLDN)

5 Leiden October 2007 Sprite at 1000 fps Sequence: 15 ms. Selected frames from animation Animation

6 Leiden October 2007 Sprite at 1000 fps Sequence: 30 ms. Note: No halo with second sprite AnimationSelected frames from animation

7 Leiden October 2007 Rebrightening

8 Leiden October 2007 Features to be addressed Time scales ← Branches < 1 ms (not resolved at ms) ← Beads/afterglow > 1 ms ←Tendrils < 1 ms (not resolved at ms) Image: 18 Aug 1999, WIRO, Wy.

9 Leiden October 2007 Effect of frame rate 9 July :06:46 UT Streamers (almost) resolved at 50 μs (20,000 fps) 33 ms video 1 ms 50  s 10,000 fps makes a lot of difference…..

10 Leiden October 2007 Link to streamers in the lab Exposure: 300 ns 50 ns 10 ns 2 ns Courtesy of Prof. Ute Ebert and T. Briels of TU Eindhoven, Netherlands

11 Leiden October 2007 Scaling of process time Time development scales as 1/n Density at ground level: /cc Density at 80 km altitude: /cc Scaling factor:10 5

12 Leiden October 2007 Scaled to 80 km altitude 30 ms (~TV) 5 ms 1 ms 0.2 ms 33 fps 200 fps 1000 fps 5000 fps

13 Leiden October 2007 Scaled to 80 km altitude 30 ms (~TV) 5 ms 1 ms 0.2 ms 33 fps 200 fps 1000 fps 5000 fps 10,000 fps makes a lot of difference…..

14 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head formation First downward, later upwards moving streamer heads Upward starts from –Lower altitude –Existing luminous sprite structures (animation: GRL, 34, 11, 2007) 9 ms image sequence Animation

15 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head formation 9 July :33:11 UT: 10,000 fps Gating 50 µs Duration 5.0 ms Downward streamers first Upwards streamers later and - from lower altitude - from existing structure Streamer velocity up to 0.3 c Animation

16 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head formation Downward streamers first Upwards streamers later and - from lower altitude - from existing structure Streamer velocity up to 0.3 c 7 July :31:20 UT: 5,000 fps Gating 100 µs Duration 5.0 ms Animation

17 Leiden October 2007 Downward Streamer Summary of downward streamers: –Streamer head starts km altitude –Halo may or may not be present –Streamer head brightens as it moves down –Direction largely straight down –Velocity up to m/s –Both increase and decrease in speed observed

18 Leiden October 2007 Upward Streamer 9 July :15:17 UT 10,000 fps Animation

19 Leiden October 2007 Upward Streamer Summary of upward streamers: –Not present in all events –Starts later than downward streamers –Starts at lower altitude than downward streamers –Starts from bead structures –Ends with a “puff” and upward motion stops –Velocities similar to downward streamers –Significant horizontal velocity component

20 Leiden October 2007 Morphology C-sprite –Downward streamers –No upward streamers Carrot sprite –Downward streamers –Upward streamers

21 Leiden October 2007 Main Points All sprites start with downward moving streamer heads Streamer heads are small. Appear in images just like background stars Individual streamer heads move in one direction only No example of double headed streamers No evidence of geomagnetic field effects

22 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head brightness Streamer heads: –Gaussian profile –Similar to stars  Smaller than spatial resolution  Point sources  Stellar mag -6 Emission rates: to phot/s

23 Leiden October 2007 Size Smaller than our ~150 m resolution Telescope obs: m (Gerken et al.) Models ~25 m (Liu and Pasko) Assuming 25 m size: Average brightness: 1 – 100 GR

24 Leiden October 2007 Size Assuming #/cm3/s (Sentman et al.): Size from 30 – 300 m

25 Leiden October 2007 Streamer brightness presented is in the June 16 issue of GRL. Reprints available here at meeting

26 Leiden October 2007 Implications Streamer heads very bright –Source of energy for local chemical processes (talk Friday by D. Sentman) –Longer lasting effects? –Significant effects on the mesosphere?

27 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head splitting 9 July :33:11 UT 10,000 fps Animation

28 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head splitting Splitting on the run 2005 data show splitting a ‘slow’ process: –Individual streamer heads propagate ~30 km, but only a few splitting events observed –Only 1 or 2 new streamer heads formed in each splitting –No ‘slow down’ while splitting But 2007 telescopic images show many and multiple streamer heads forming

29 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head splitting 23 June :01:01 UT, Langmuir, NM 10,000 fps, 50 μs exposures Field of view: 2.12x1.58 degrees Altitude 80 km at 600 km range Velocity: m/s; Size: ~0.1 to ~2 km Animation

30 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head splitting 23 June :22:49 UT 10,000 fps, 50 μs exp. Field of view: 2.12x1.58 deg Altitude 80 km at 600 km Velocity: ~10 7 m/s; Size: ~0.1 to ~2 km

31 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head splitting Preliminary analysis Difficult to match with earlier larger FOV images –More splits –More streamer heads Maybe the sequences are from the central part of the sprite Animation

32 Leiden October 2007 Afterglow 9 July :38:00 UT 10,000 fps

33 Leiden October 2007 Afterglow Very little spatial motion Vertical structure and brightness not as expected from streamer head brightness Duration of afterglow vary between events Energy beyond streamer heads alone Can last from a few ms to several 100 ms Total optical power may be larger than for streamer heads

34 Leiden October 2007 Afterglow spectrum (300 fps) N2 1P spectra. Some altitude differences indicating additional local processes (Kanmae et al., GRL, 2007).

35 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head spectrum Slitless spectroscpy Star background. 0 th and 1 st order spectra clearly seen. Wavelength coverage nm

36 Leiden October 2007 Streamer head spectrum 50 μs (20,000 fps) Primarily N2 1P

37 Leiden October 2007 Atmospheric effects Sprites were at km so blue attenuated by ~x100

38 Leiden October 2007 Optical spectra Primarily N2 1P band emissions in both streamer heads and afterglow Spectral altitude differences in afterglow No N2 ion emissions detected (yet) Would expect differences between streamer heads and afterglow (not proven yet – we are working on it) Chemical processes and their consequences

39 Leiden October 2007 Delayed Sprite Video (30 fps). FOV: 21x16 degrees Note: First one sprite then a large carrot sprite and finally some activity at lower altitude 1000 fps images covering the first sprite to the onset of the carrot sprite (Left-right reversed. Sorry!) Animation

40 Leiden October 2007 Lightning Lightning at USAFA 66,000 fps (15 μs) Distance? (very close!!) Field of view: 8x8 deg Pix size: ~0.2 m (200 m range) Thanks for your attention.


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