Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thunderstorm Outlook Fri 22 - Wed 27 July

High pressure over southwestern Europe has suppressed thunderstorms over our observation area the past few days. But the situation is slowly changing to a very favourable thundery weather pattern again, starting this Sunday. Different models all agree that an upper trough approaches, and it will dominate the weather in our observation area for at least a few days. One surface low pressure area passes Sunday/Monday, with the best chances of storms probably over northern France. A second low will follow Tuesday/Wednesday, and looks very favorable for widespread storm development over France because of the deeper southerly flow component and large scale rising motions.

July 19 and 20 - no thunderstorms

Last night and tonight there have been no thunderstorms, so no chances to catch a sprite. We are currently having some tests and setting up the camera at Puy de Dome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

First night - FIRST SPRITE!

A careful re-analysis of the images we collected last night showed that we indeed caught a sprite, far away over northern Italy!

Here below, the image of the sprite after reprocessing it.

There is in fact a coincidence with a lightning +CG flash occurred just after 00:45 UCT as shown on the map (medium sized cross at 45.3N and 10E - just off Milan). There may have been more sprites in that region but the thickness of the atmosphere over that distance (more than 700 Km) has made them hardly observable. [click on the images to enlarge them]

First night of observation

A few last tests until early in the night, then the camera at Pic du Midi has started to operate

The picture on the left shows lightning flashes detected around 2:00 am. The two stars over France show the location of the two cameras, the one at Puy du Dome (centre) still not operational. Most of the activity has been on Northern Italy, too far for the Pic du Midi camera.
Only a few lightning flashes triggered the event-detection software, resulting in no-sprite images.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Camera installation update

The Danish team has arrived at the 'Observatoire Midi-Pyrenées' today. The setting up is going on. The computer part of the spritewatch system was setup Sunday. The installation of the cameras on the roof of the OMP has been delayed due to strong wind. We plan to have the complete system running on Monday, depending on the weather.