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Keywords:

  • sprites;
  • streamers;
  • high-speed imaging

[1] We report on the results of observations with a combination of high-speed and telescopic imaging to capture high spatial resolution images of sprite streamers and beads at high frame rates, revealing the evolution and propagation of these structures on a decameter scale at millisecond and higher resolution. In July and August 2004, sprites were observed from Langmuir Laboratory, in the mountains of New Mexico, using a >1000 frames-per-second intensified CCD imager mounted to a Dobsonian reflecting telescope. We present a number of examples of sprite features, along with photometric data on sprites and sprite halos, taken with the Wide-angle Array for Sprite Photometry (WASP). Results show a variety of structures, including evidence of formation and evolution of both streamers and beads. Examples and statistics presented indicate that most bead structures have sizes of 10–300 m, similar to previous telescopic observations, and endure typically for a few milliseconds to 10 ms, with rare cases of up to 50 ms. Similarly, streamer-like structures are observed to have diameters of 10–300 m but persist for shorter timescales, typically 2–3 ms, with occasional cases of up to 10 ms. Attempts to measure propagation of streamers indicate that higher frame rates are required in order to observe speeds on the order of previous wide-field-of-view observations and modeling predictions.