Investigations of the Transient Luminous Events with the small satellites, balloons and ground-based instruments

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för system- och rymdteknik

Abstract: The lightning is the natural source of electromagnetic radiation. It is an atmospheric electrical discharge.  However, since recent times, it was discovered that there are other types of lightning besides those that are visible to the naked eye. They are called TLEs (Transient Luminous Event) and take place above the clouds during thunderstorms. Distinct classification is applied to the various existing TLEs in compliance with their shapes, size, color, altitude, origin and duration. Thus, all Transient Luminous Events are categorized to the following types: elves, spites, halos, blue jets, blue starters, gigantic jets, trolls, gnomes, pixies and ghosts. TLE investigation missions are important for several scientific purposes. They allow to gain an understanding of the lightning creation processes, contribution on global electric circuits as well as chemical influence on the Earth’s climate.  TLE observations can be performed by lightning detection and location systems which differs according to their location. They can be ground-based, space-based as well as carried on aircraft or balloon. Lightning location systems in space are usually conducted on large-, medium- or micro-sized satellites.  The main scope of this thesis is to explore and describe all possible and known methods and techniques of TLE investigation as well as discussions of gained observation results for better understanding and further analysis of more suitable instruments for TLE detection mission on LEO orbit. Analysis of suitable equipment will be done according to the conclusion made from considered lightning detection systems with similar missions and pursuant to nanosatellite requirements.

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