The 762 nm emissions of sprites

C. L. Kuo, S. C. Chang, L. J. Lee, T. Y. Huang, A. B. Chen, H. T. Su, R. R. Hsu, D. D. Sentman, H. U. Frey, S. B. Mende, Y. Takahashi, L. C. Lee

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10 Scopus citations


We report the 762 nm emissions in sprites recorded by the ISUAL experiment onboard the FORMOSAT-2 satellite. The 762 nm imager filter is centered at 763.3 nm with a 7 nm bandwidth at 50% transmittance. Sprite emissions in this passband include the N2 first positive (1PN2) bands, (2, 0) and (3, 1), the O2 atmospheric (atm) band (0, 0), and the hydroxyl (4, 0) emissions. Because these mixed emissions cannot be resolved in the 762 nm narrowband filter, a zero-dimensional plasma chemistry model is used to estimate the expected relative intensities of these emission bands in sprites. The computed 1PN2 brightness in a single streamer is 1.4 MR and 2.6 kR for the O2 atm band emissions at frame integration times of 30 ms. In the 762 nm passband, the 1PN2 emissions are the dominant emissions in sprites, and the ratio of 1PN2 to O2 atmospheric emissions is ∼500, while the hydroxyl emissions can be neglected. In this ISUAL 762 nm campaign, the brightest sprite out of the four recorded events has possible O2 atm band emissions that lasted more than 90 ms, and its observed brightness is consistent with the model prediction. Even though the lightning 762 nm emissions are strongly absorbed by O2 below 60 km, the ISUAL observed parent lightning emissions in this passband are still more than a factor of two brighter than those from ISUAL observed sprites. Hence for spacecraft nadir TLE detection missions, 762 nm bands may not be used as the sole signature to identify sprites, and auxiliary emission bands are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA01310
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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