A terrestrial gamma-ray flash and ionospheric ultraviolet emissions powered by lightning

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Science  10 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6474, pp. 183-186
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax3872

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Gamma-ray flash from a lightning leader

Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) are millisecond pulses of gamma rays produced by thunderstorms. Neubert et al. observed a TGF from above, using instruments on the International Space Station. High-speed photometry in optical, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma-ray bands allowed them to determine the sequence of events that produced the TGF. Emission from an intracloud lightning leader was followed within a millisecond by the TGF. The subsequent lightning flash produced an electromagnetic pulse, which induced expanding waves of ultraviolet emission in the ionosphere above the thunderstorm, called an elve. The authors conclude that high electric fields produced within the lightning leader generated the TGF.

Science, this issue p. 183

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