Electric fields and electron energies inferred from the ISUAL recorded sprites

Cheng Ling Kuo, R. R. Hsu, A. B. Chen, H. T. Su, L. C. Lee, S. B. Mende, H. U. Frey, H. Fukunishi, Y. Takahashi

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Electron energies and the strenght of electric fields in sprites are deduced for five selected events, which were recorded by the space-borne instrument called ISUAL (Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning; a payload on the FORMOSAT-2 satellite). From the derived peak intensity ratios of spectrophotometer channel 2 (centered at 337 nm) and channel 3 (centered at 391.4 nm) of these sprites, the average and characteristic electron energies were found to be in the range of 6.2-9.2 eV and 4.5-6.5 eV, respectively. The estimated E/N at 40-60 km is 243-443 Td and the strength of the electric field is 2.1 - 3.7 times that of the atmosphere breakdown E-field at these altitudes. The inferred electron energies and the strength of electric fields are about two times higher than those inferred from ground campaigns. However, they are consistent with the prediction of the sprite streamer model.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL19103
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2005


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