Saturday, August 02, 2008

1-2 August, Italian sprites, eye-witnessed

The Corsica camera was operated last night and observed sprites over northern Italy right from the moment it was dark enough. The first sprite at 1948 UTC was quite a large one and observed also in color.
Above is a lightning map of 1950 UTC.
Several more sprites followed, a total of 9.

The storm system appeared very active after 21:15 with many lightning flashes, there could be a few more sprites hidden in the data. No images are present for the period after 00 UTC, perhaps they arrive later.
Pic du Midi also observed but only detected the 2050 UTC sprite which can be triangulated. The early sprites could not have been observed because there was still daylight in the Pyrenees, and apparently the event detection thresholds were not sufficiently sensitive, despite the other events being rather large as well (puzzling...)

The sprites have been noticed by Marko Korosec:
"I was on the beach in Lignano on the north Adriatic coast yesterday evening, when a nice MCS formed over NW Italy. And I think I saw a red sprite above that system. However I am not sure if its actually possible to observe them from sea level, though the distance was around 250km."
So, yes, it is certainly possible to see them from sea level, provided you are at a very dark location!


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