Space shuttle observation of an unusual transient atmospheric emission

Yoav Yair, Colin Price, Baruch Ziv, Peter L. Israelevich, David D. Sentman, Fernanda T. São-Sabbas, Adam D. Devir, Mitsuteru Sato, Craig J. Rodger, Meir Moalem, Eran Greenberg, Ofer Yaron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report an observation of an unusual transient luminous event (TLE) detected in the near IR, south of Madagascar above the Indian Ocean. The event was imaged from the space shuttle Columbia during the MEIDEX sprite campaign [Yair et al., 2004]. It was delayed 0.23 seconds from a preceding visual lightning flash which was horizontally displaced >1000 km from the event. The calculated brightness in the 860 (±50) nm filter was ∼310 ± 30 kR, and the morphology of the emitting volume did not resemble any known class of TLE (i.e., sprites, ELVES or halos). This TIGER event (Transient Ionospheric Glow Emission in Red) may constitute a new class of TLE, not necessarily induced by a near-by thunderstorm. We discuss possible generation mechanisms, including the conjugate sprite hypothesis caused by lightning at the magnetic mirror point, lightning-induced electron precipitation and an extraterrestrial source, meteoric or cometary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2005


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