Lightning and sprite observation from international space station

Tomoo Ushio, Mitsuteru Sato, Takeshi Morimoto, Makoto Suzuki, Hiroshi Kikuchi, Atsushi Yamazaki, Yukihiro Takahashi, Yasuhide Hobara, Umran Inan, Ivan Linscott, Yuji Sakamoto, Ryohei Ishida, Masavuki Kikuchi, Kazuya Yoshida, Zen Ichiro Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Lightning and sprite measurement sensors on the International Space Station (ISS) are introduced in this paper. Lightning is an electrical discharge which neutralizes the charge inside thunderstorm. In the early 1990s, optical transient luminous events (TLEs) occurring just above the thunderstorm were firstly reported by the US scientists and are associated with positive cloud-to-ground discharges with a large amount of charge. Though the luminous events so-called sprite, elves and jets have been investigated by numerous researchers all over the world based mainly on the ground observations, some important problems have not been fully understood yet such as generation mechanisms of columniform fine structure and horizontal offset of some sprites from the parent lightning discharges. In the JEM-GLIMS mission, observations from our synchronized sensors are going to shed light on above-mentioned unsolved problems regarding TLEs as well as causative lighting discharges. Our goals are (1) to detect and locate lightning and sprite within storm scale resolution over a large region of the Earth's surface along the orbital track of the ISS without any bias, (2) to clarify the generation mechanism of sprite, and (3) to identify the occurrence conditions of TLEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalIEEJ Transactions on Fundamentals and Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • International space station
  • Lightning
  • Transient luminous event


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