NSW Automatic Meteor Detection System


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Lightning Sprites

A happy consequence of monitoring meteors is that other interesting things are also recorded.

All sorts of things show up in the cameras... flying foxes, possums, micro bats, frogs, spiders and bugs but the coolest is Sprites from lightning.

Sprites are electric discharges that extend from 50 - 90 kilometers above thunderstorms triggered by lightning.
They occur in the upper atmospheric regions of the Stratosphere and Mesosphere and reach almost to the edge of space.
Diagram from Wikimedia Commons

The first set captured here appear to be from a storm somewhere along a bearing running from Mudgee to half way between Nyngan and Coonamble.
A rough estimate puts the lightning in an area near Warren NSW, around 150 kilometers away from here.

The Sprites last only a fraction of a second and I did not expect them to be so bright in the meteor cameras. see WIKI page

These events were captured on the night of 22nd October 2014 at 13:00 and 13:51UT.
The cameras face toward the NNW from Mudgee.
Field of View of camera with 6mm lens is 55 x 40 degrees.
Bottom of the FOV is around 24 degrees altitude.

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Another capture of Sprites from the west facing camera on 27th November 2017 at 12:20:35 and 12:33:56UT.
There was also some cloud and a bright Moon in the field of view.

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Some more, this time from one of the Coonabarabran cameras pointing to the south-west.

Unfortunately, the Mudgee cameras were in cloud, so no 3D analysis possible this time.

Recorded on 08 January 2018 at 18:11:24UT.

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Other examples of Lightning Sprites on the net (various sources)




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