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UV Transient Atmospheric Events Observed Far From Thunderstorms by the Vernov Satellite

Usually a thunderstorm region with lightning activity is necessary for the formation of known types of upper atmospheric transient luminous events (TLEs: sprites, emission of light and very low frequency perturbation, blue jets, etc.) with well-recognizable visible emissions. However, some “far-from-thunderstorm’' transient events have been detected in some experiments. Measurements of transient atmospheric events (TAEs) were made on board the Vernov satellite by the sensitive UV and IR detector. Remote observation from the satellite’s orbit provided measurements all over the globe and allowed us to study events associated with thunderstorms (lightning, TLEs) and unusual UV flashes (UV TAEs) far from thunderstorm regions. More than 8500 UV TAEs were measured by the Vernov satellite over the globe. Forty seven far-from-thunderstorm TAEs were selected having no lightning discharges during 1 h in a radius of 1000 km around the location of the event according to the Worldwide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) and Vaisala Global Lightning Data Set (GLD360) data. Special attention was given to six events with complicated temporal structure and low luminosity in the IR channel. Their properties and atmospheric conditions were studied in detail. The analysis of cloud cover in addition to the lightning location networks data demonstrated the low probability of any lightning in the region of measurements.

DOI: 10.1109/LGRS.2018.2830656

30.06.2018 Klimov P.A., Kaznacheeva M.A., Khrenov B.A., Garipov G.K., Bogomolov V.V., Panasyuk M.I., Svertilov S.I., Cremonini R. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters

Vernov Satellite Data of Transient Atmospheric Events

Data on transient atmospheric events (TAEs) were obtained from the Vernov satellite and are presented in this paper. The data are considered in conjunction with previous data obtained by the Universitetsky-Tatiana-1 and Universitetsky-Tatiana-2 satellites. The larger volume of stored scientific data in the Vernov mission and its advanced ultraviolet (UV) and red–infrared (R–IR) radiation detector (DUV) measurements allowed improved TAE-distribution data to be obtained over a wide range of photon numbers. The difference between features of luminous transients and “dim” transients, measured by the Universitetsky-Tatiana-2 satellite, is confirmed by Vernov’s data. There are also interesting dim UV events with no R–IR radiation. Such events are expected to be deep in the atmosphere at the level of thunderstorm clouds. They might be radiated by electric discharges of less power than lightning; in fact, at the preliminary stage of lightning. The observation of repeating dim TAEs in various time intervals, starting from tens of milliseconds and up to minutes, indicates that thunderstorm electric activity is much more variable than pure lightning strikes.

DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0309.1

29.12.2017 Klimov Pavel, Garipov Gali, Khrenov Boris, Morozenko Violetta, Barinova Vera, Bogomolov Vitaly, Kaznacheeva Margarita, Panasyuk Mikhail, Saleev Kirill, Svertilov Sergey Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology

First results on transient atmospheric events from tracking ultraviolet setup (TUS) on board the lomonosov satellite

Study of transient atmospheric events (TAE) is started by a new space instrument TUS, an imaging detector equipped with a large area mirror-concentrator (≈2 m2) and 256 photomultipliers in the focal plane. Its covering area in the atmosphere is 80 km×80 km. TUS was launched on 28 April 2016, and several hundred of TAE were measured during the first months of its flight. The detector has several modes of operation with different temporal resolution, which allow measuring TAE at various time scales. In comparison with earlier experiments, the instrument measures orders of magnitude less bright transient luminous events due to a large optical aperture. TUS has a spatial resolution (5 km from orbit height 500 km), which gives an opportunity for a reliable classification of TAE types basing on their temporal dynamics and spatial structure. Data on lightning are compared with data from ground-based networks and examples of TAE images are discussed.

04.04.2017 P. Klimov, B. Khrenov, S. Sharakin, M. Zotov, N. Chirskaya, V. Eremeev, G. Garipov, M. Kaznacheeva, M. Panasyuk, V. L. Petrov, A. V. Shirokov, I. V. Yashin. Proceedings of International Symposium Thunderstorms and Elementary Particle Acceleration (TEPA-2016), pages 122–127, 2017

Experiment on the Vernov satellite: Transient energetic processes in the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. Part I: Description of the experiment

The program of physical studies on the Vernov satellite launched on July 8, 2014 into a polar (640 × 830 km) solar-synchronous orbit with an inclination of 98.4° is presented. We described the complex of scientific equipment on this satellite in detail, including multidirectional gamma-ray detectors, electron spectrometers, red and ultra-violet detectors, and wave probes. The experiment on the Vernov satellite is mainly aimed at a comprehensive study of the processes of generation of transient phenomena in the optical and gamma-ray ranges in the Earth’s atmosphere (such as high-altitude breakdown on runaway relativistic electrons), the study of the action on the atmosphere of electrons precipitated from the radiation belts, and low- and high-frequency electromagnetic waves of both space and atmospheric origin.

DOI: 10.1134/S0010952516040043

29.07.2016 Panasyuk M.I., Svertilov S.I., Bogomolov V.V., Garipov G.K., et al. Cosmic Research (English translation of Kosimicheskie Issledovaniya), 54(4):261–269, 2016.

RELEC mission: Relativistic electron precipitation and TLE study on-board small spacecraft

The main goal of the Vernov mission is the study of magnetospheric relativistic electron precipitation and its possible influence on the upper atmosphere as well as the observation of Transient Luminous Events (TLE) and Terrestrial Gamma Flashes (TGF) across a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The RELEC (Relativistic Electrons) instrument complex onboard the Vernov spacecraft includes two identical X- and gamma-ray detectors of high temporal resolution and sensitivity (DRGE-1 and DRGE-2), three axis position detectors for high-energy electrons and protons (DRGE-3), a UV TLE imager (MTEL), a UV detector (DUV), a low frequency analyser (LFA), a radio frequency analyser (RFA), and AN electronics module responsible for control and data collection (BE).

The RELEC mission conducts the following experiments:

simultaneous observations of high-energy electron and proton fluxes (within the energy range of ∼0.1–10.0 MeV) and low-frequency (∼0.1–10 kHz) electromagnetic wave field intensity variations with high temporal resolution (∼1 ms);

fine time structure (∼1 μs) measurements of transient atmospheric events in UV, X- and gamma rays with an optical imaging capability with a resolution of ∼1 km in wide field of view (FOV);

measurements of electron flux pitch-angle distributions in dynamical ranges from ∼0.1 up to 105 part/cm2/s;

monitoring of charged and neutral background particles in different areas of near-Earth space.


  • Transient energetic phenomena
  • Charged particles
  • Upper atmosphere


22.04.2016 Panasyuk M.I., Svertilov S.I., Bogomolov V.V., Garipov G.K., et al. Advances in Space Research

Science of atmospheric phenomena with JEM-EUSO

The main goal of the JEM-EUSO experiment is the study of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR, 1019−1021 eV), but the method which will be used (detection of the secondary light emissions induced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere) allows to study other luminous phenomena. The UHECRs will be detected through the measurement of the emission in the range between 290 and 430 nm, where some part of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) emission also appears. This work discusses the possibility of using the JEM-EUSO Telescope to get new scientific results on TLEs. The high time resolution of this instrument allows to observe the evolution of TLEs with great precision just at the moment of their origin. The paper consists of four parts: review of the present knowledge on the TLE, presentation of the results of the simulations of the TLE images in the JEM-EUSO telescope, results of the Russian experiment Tatiana–2 and discussion of the possible progress achievable in this field with JEM-EUSO as well as possible cooperation with other space projects devoted to the study of TLE – TARANIS and ASIM. In atmospheric physics, the study of TLEs became one of the main physical subjects of interest after their discovery in 1989. In the years 1992 – 1994 detection was performed from satellite, aircraft and space shuttle and recently from the International Space Station. These events have short duration (milliseconds) and small scales (km to tens of km) and appear at altitudes 50 – 100 km. Their nature is still not clear and each new experimental data can be useful for a better understanding of these mysterious phenomena. [DOI: 10.1007/s10686-014-9431-0]

11.10.2015 The JEM-EUSO Collaboration Experimental Astronomy, 2015, P. 1–13, DOI: 10.1007/s10686-014-9431-0

Global transients in ultraviolet and red-infrared ranges from data of universitetsky-tatiana-2 satellite

Light detectors sensitive to wavelength ranges 240–400nm and beyond 610nm (which we refer to, for simplicity, as the UV and Red bands) on board UniversitetskyTatiana-2 satellite have detected transient flashes in the atmosphere of duration 1–128ms. Measured ratio of the number of Red photons to the number of UV photons indicates that source of transient radiation is at high atmosphere altitude (>50km). Distribution of events with various photon numbers Qa in the atmosphere found to be different for “luminous” events Qa = 1023 – 1026 (with exponent of differential distribution –2.2) and for “faint” events Qa = 1021 – 1023 (with exponent 0.97). Luminous event parameters (atmosphere altitude, energy released to radiation, and temporal profiles) are similar to observed elsewhere parameters of transient luminous events (TLE) of elves, sprites, halo, and gigantic blue jets types. Global map of luminous events demonstrates concentration to equatorial zones (latitudes 30ºN to 30ºS) above continents. Faint events (with number of photons Qa = 1020 – 5·1021) are distributed more uniformly over latitudes and longitudes. Phenomenon of series of transients registered every minute along satellite orbit (from 3 to 16 transients in one series) was observed. Most TLE-type events belonged to series. Single transients are in average fainter than serial ones. Some transients belonging to series occurs far away of thunderstorm regions. Origin of faint single transients is not clear; several hypothetical models of their production are discussed.

11.10.2015 G.K. Garipov, B.A. Khrenov, P.A. Klimov, V.V. Klimenko, E.A. Mareev, O. Martines, E. Mendoza, V.S. Morozenko, M.I. Panasyuk, I.H. Park, E. Ponce, L. Rivera, H. Salazar, V.I. Tulupov, N.N. Vedenkin, and I.V. Yashin Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume. 118, Issue 2, pages 370–379, 2013, DOI: 10.1029/2012JD017501

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