For millennia, lightning has infusedhuman feeling of panic fear, gave rise to myths about powerful gods and supernatural phenomena. With the beginning of the space age, scientists received new tools for studying lightning, the nature of which has not yet been uncovered. One of these devices is the space observatory of the European Monitoring of Atmospheric and Space Interactions (ASIM) located on the ISS.
Observation from an altitude of 400 km allows you to explorethe process of lightning formation, to obtain information about the nature of the origin of this unique natural phenomenon. Astronomers were able to record unusual types and shapes of lightning, which received exotic names sprites "," blue streams "and" elves ". Since 2018, the ASIM observatory has been studying the nature of electrical discharges appearing in the upper atmosphere.
ASIM recently recorded a series of five lightning strikes,including a form previously unknown to science, described as a "blue stream". In the comments to the video presented on the YouTube channel of the European Space Agency, astronomers explained that the "blue jet" is up to 50 km long, and the duration of the electric discharge is no more than 1 second. As a result, a phenomenon called "elves" occurs - concentric rings of optical and ultraviolet radiation at the bottom of the ionosphere, in the zone of action of which elementary particles form unique emissions when interacting with the atmosphere and radio waves.
In the course of studying such unique phenomena, scientists hope to uncover the secret of the formation of lightning and confirm the hypothesis about their influence on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.