Scientists reveal details of a rare “super lightning” extending into space

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Jean Fran ç OIS Ripoll, senior scientist of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), said: “we don’t know how super lightning can be so powerful. Unlike traditional lightning, super lightning occurs more often in summer and land, while super lightning occurs more often in winter and water. We don’t know why.”

Scientists reveal details of a rare “super lightning” extending into space

in many unknown cases, scientists are using satellites to define the unusual properties of super lightning. The study of optical satellite data in 2020 shows that some of the brightest lightning – 1000 times brighter than normal lightning – is indeed a physically unique lightning type, not due to errors in interpretation and measurement

in a study in 2021, Ripoll and his colleagues confirmed the extreme power of super lightning by measuring its electromagnetic wave. They found that this electromagnetic phenomenon is not limited to the earth’s atmosphere; It extends into space

lightning is a natural electromagnetic energy source extending to very low frequency (VLF). Scientists’ research shows that the VLF wave transmitted from super lightning to space is much stronger than that transmitted by typical lightning. Ripoll said: electromagnetic waves like this are not common in lightning signals in space. “Before we could connect it with super lightning, we were skeptical about such power.”

in order to establish this connection, researchers tried to match the super lightning detected by space-based with the lightning detected by multiple foundations. The above map shows the super bullets (energy greater than 1 MJ) detected between 2012 and 2018 The blue dot is ground detection from the world lightning location network (a network of more than 50 universities and institutions directed by Robert Holzworth of the University of Washington) , from the Eclair measurement activities conducted by the CEA ground station, and from the met é orage ground station. The purple point is where the space-based detection of NASA Van Allen probe overlaps with the ground detection.

e0f7ee0dca15e66 - Scientists reveal details of a rare "super lightning" extending into space

in this data set, there are two super lightning, enough from the ground and space The overlapping data of can be studied in detail. One of them, indicated by the large pink dots on the map, is displayed on the above spectral map. The map shows the electrical component of the super lightning electromagnetic signal detected from space.

Please note that the first two comma shaped detection signals (red) Much more powerful than the subsequent signals. These two powerful waves are related to super lightning, followed by less powerful waves related to typical lightning.

Ripoll said: “some of these super lightning can have 1000 times the energy of typical lightning. If these lightning strikes are in the correct position on earth, they can produce greater damage than typical lightning.”

however, electromagnetic waves have a potentially useful application in space because they can deflect so-called “killer electrons” trapped in near earth space, where they can destroy the electrons of satellites in orbit. Ripoll said: “This potential electromagnetic force can protect our assets from these electrons. Therefore, we study the interaction between waves, electrons and wave particles. We are glad to know that these waves are real and based on physics.”