Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First sprites from Lannemezan

Last Monday night, 23-24 July, the new remotely operated camera at Lannemezan near the Pyrenees was set to detection mode when daylight faded, and captured two sprites very far away, near or over the Alps in southeastern France. It was still quite light during the first recorded sprite. The second sprite occurred about 50 minutes later. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a problem of the GPS time inserter, it either has currently too little reception or there may be interference. Approximate times are 20:17:04 and 21:12:13 UTC.
The situation was a bit marginal, but the southern end of the cold front was apparently electrified enough.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

First sprites observed from Hungary

On the night of 20-21 July I managed to capture our first sprites! It was the very first time I set up the system on the purpose to test it. I installed the camera on the roof of our institute. I saw some lightning activity towards North so I pointed the camera there and started to record what the KIWI OSD outputs and started to experiment with the camera settings. I captured more cloud illumination due to lightning, then there they were: a group of carrots! During the night I managed to record 4 events for sure. See some examples below.

Next night (21-22 July) There was a nice convective system North-West from us. I managed to track that system during the whole night and I captured 50 or more sprites, at least one with halo, but otherwise all kinds of them: single/group of columns, columns in ring, single/group of carrots, wishbone, probably one or two dancers! Examples follow.

Also on the night 23-24, July I caught a single event in a comparably smaller convective cell. I feel lucky... :-)

FYI. Main parts of our system are a Watec 902H2 Ultimate camera, Computar 8mm F0.8 lens, KIWI OSD (USA) with Garmin GPS for time stamping and UFO capture software from SonotaCo, Japan.

Many thanks for the good advices regarding the system setup!