Monday, September 16, 2013

ISS Lightning Studies

Hey Space Placers!

Here is an interesting story, especially if you like weather, specifically lightning. NASA has sent an instrument called "Firestation" to the International Space Station (ISS) that was installed by the station's robotic arm, that will observe and gather data on lightning above the cloud tops.

Firestation - NASA

Scientists have discovered that a lot goes on above the clouds when lightning goes off. Strange red and blue light events, called sprites and elves respectively as well as Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), have been documented. In fact, during some of these TGFs the Earth mimics a supernova event by the production of powerful TGFs.

These phenomena are not well understood and Firestation is the perfect answer to get more data. ISS flies over many thunderstorms as she makes her way around the world 16 times a day. With Firestation attached to the ISS it will be able to detect and record these events.

It is pretty amazing that the most powerful events we see in the Universe are mimicked right here on Earth in our cloud tops. This should be interesting to see what Firestation finds out during the 1-year mission length.

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Sky Guy in VA

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