Geophysical Research Letters

Transient airglow enhancements observed from the space shuttle Columbia during the MEIDEX sprite campaign

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Abstract

[1] First results of observations of ELVES during the last mission of the space shuttle Columbia by the MEIDEX (Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment) instrument are reported. During the eclipse parts of 25 orbits, there were observations toward the Earth's limb above the areas of active thunderstorms. Strong enhancements of the brightness of the airglow layer above lightning flashes were observed, with lateral dimensions exceeding 400 km. This phenomenon, known as ELVES, is a clear manifestation of the interaction between the electromagnetic pulse from the lightning stroke and the lower ionosphere. The observed ELVES have been produced both by vertical and horizontal discharges.

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