Observations of TLEs above the Baltic sea on Oct 9 2009

Antti Mäkelä, Timo Kantola, Yoav Yair, Tero Raita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two types of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), an Elves and a sprite, were imaged at high latitudes (about 59.3°N 21.3°E) above a thunderstorm in northern Europe near Finland during the night of October 9th, 2009. The observations were made by Timo Kantola, a member of the Finnish Astronomical Association (Ursa), who has been maintaining a meteor-fireball camera in central Finland since 2006. Deduced from the photographs, the altitudes of the events were estimated to be 88 km (Elves) and 60 km (top of the sprite). The horizontal size of the Elves was estimated to be 269 km. The lightning location data of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) show several lightning locations during the night from which the parent strokes could be deduced. Also, waveform recordings of a pulsation magnetometer at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) show the located flashes. However, unfortunately the photographs are sum images over six minutes, which means that the exact times of individual frames, i.e., the exact TLE times, are not known accurately enough to allow exact attribution to a specific parent flash. These TLE observations are unique, because to the best of our knowledge, there are no previous reports of TLEs at such high latitudes in the northern hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Baltic sea
  • Lightning location
  • Transient luminous event (TLE)


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