Role of meteoric dust in sprite formation

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Abstract

We show that ubiquitous small conducting particles of meteoric origin in the mesosphere and stratosphere may explain some features of sprite occurrence and fine structure. The main processes involved are: electrostatic field amplification by microspires on the dust surface, “cathode-like instability” in their vicinity, autoemission and explosive emission of electrons. Additional observations, theoretical development and perhaps laboratory experiments are warranted.

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