Observing lightning and transient luminous events from the international space station during ILAN-ES: An astronaut's perspective

Yoav Yair*, Melody Korman, Colin Price, Eytan Stibbe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The ILAN-ES (Imaging of Lightning And Nocturnal Emissions from Space) experiment was conducted by Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe in April 2022 as part of the Axiom Space company AX-1 private mission to the International Space Station, in the framework of Rakia, a set of experiments selected for flight by the Ramon Foundation and the Israeli Space Agency. The mission objective was to manually record lightning and transient luminous events from the Cupola window in the ISS, based on preliminary thunderstorm forecasts uploaded to the crew 24–36 h in advance. A Nikon D6 camera with a 50 mm lens was used, in a video mode of 60 frames per second. During the 15-day mission, 82 different targets were uploaded to the ISS of which 20 were imaged by the astronauts, yielding a total harvest of 45 TLEs: sprites, Elves and Blue Corona Discharges. The methodology and execution by the ISS astronauts are described and recommendation for future observations by on-board human-operated instruments on the ISS are given.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-599
Number of pages8
JournalActa Astronautica
Volume211
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Earth observations
  • International space station
  • Lightning
  • Thunderstorms
  • Transient luminous events

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