New results on planetary lightning

Yoav Yair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the latest observations from spacecraft and ground-based instruments in search for lightning activity in the atmospheres of planets in the solar system, and put them in context of previous research. Since the comprehensive book on planetary atmospheric electricity compiled by Leblanc et al. (2008), advances in remote sensing technology and telescopic optics enable detection of additional and new electromagnetic and optical emissions, respectively. Orbiting spacecraft such as Mars Express, Venus Express and Cassini yield new results, and we highlight the giant storm on Saturn of 2010/2011 that was probably the single most powerful thunderstorm ever observed in the solar system. We also describe theoretical models, laboratory spark experiments simulating conditions in planetary mixtures and map open issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-310
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Discharge processes
  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Lightning
  • Planetary atmospheres
  • Sprites


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