Help NASA study this weather phenomenon with a camera

If you want to collaborate with NASA on a citizen science project, with a decent camera you can catch a special phenomenon during storms and lightning. Pay. Help NASA study this weather phenomenon with a camera

If you want to collaborate with NASA on a citizen science project, with a decent camera you can catch a special phenomenon during storms and lightning. Pay.

There is lightning and then a reddish light flashes above the storm. If you happen to witness this phenomenon, you're lucky enough to see a little-known weather phenomenon called a sprite. But if you can capture this electrical phenomenon in the Earth's upper atmosphere with your camera, your photo can contribute to an important scientific discovery. Using crowdsourcing, he advances the study of these atmospheric ghosts and other "Transient Luminous Events" (TLEs).

TLE events include a wide range of electrical phenomena that occur above thunderstorms. lightning) occur and produce sudden short flashes of light. The Citizen Science Project is trying to create a connection between professional scientists and people who are interested in imaging this phenomenon.

Burcu Kosar, the principal researcher of the Spritecular project, said: "People take wonderful images of the ghost phenomenon. They go down a storm, but these photos are shared sporadically on the Internet, and most of the scientific community is not aware of them. Therefore, this project will fill this gap by creating the first crowdsourced database of TLE events and will be an accessible way for scientific research." They appear after lightning strikes. A sudden reddish flash that can take a wide variety of forms, but is often a combination of scattered columns and glowing, branching roots. Some of these ghosts somehow dance above storms, turning on and off one after the other.

Eyewitness reports of strange flashes of light above storms go back hundreds of years, but it was in 1989 that the first image was captured. of such an event was recorded. Researchers at the University of Minnesota were testing a low-light television camera for an upcoming rocket launch mission when, quite by accident, they recorded the first reliable evidence of the phenomenon. According to Borjo Kausar, although it was not a high-resolution or fast-recording camera, because it was in the right direction at the right time, it had the entire silhouette in its field of view. Help NASA study this weather phenomenon with a camera

A ghostly lightning event captured by Mission 44 astronauts from the International Space Station in 2015 .
Credit: NASA

Scientists have dubbed these elusive events "ghosts" due to their peculiar appearance, which resembles the mythical fairy-like creatures in popular culture. This naming process continued with the discovery of other types of TLE, and today such phenomena are called "ELVE", "Halos", "Blue Jets", "Gigantic Jets" and etc.

There are still many unanswered questions about these events. Like how often do they happen and what is their shape based on? How do they affect the Earth's global electrical circuit and what is their contribution to the energy in the Earth's upper atmosphere? Or how do they interact with gravitational waves? Answering these questions will lead to vast advances in the science of the Earth's upper atmosphere, but this issue also requires collective participation.

  • A strange blue light over Europe from The International Space Station has been spotted

The first goal of NASA's Spritecular project is to build an image database. The hardest part is knowing when to look at what area. Therefore, on the website of this project, using the information of experienced ghost hunters, extensive guidance has been made in this field.

For recording images, note that many DSLR cameras on the market are suitable for capturing images of these ghosts. . For example, cheap cameras such as Nikon D3000 or Canon EOS 4000D can be an ideal option for recording such events and participating in this scientific project. DigiCala

After your tryst during a storm, if you think you've captured a photo of a sprite or TLE, you can create an account on the project's website and upload the photo and its history, including time and location. It is clear that in order to upload a photo, you must own it and all rights belong to you.

All photos submitted are reviewed by scientists, and if the user's photo leads to a scientific study or discovery, it is closed. Depending on the level of participation, the name of the photographer will be mentioned as a study partner in the articles.

In the next phases that are being planned, more tools will be available to users. gave to analyze their images and contribute more to the scientific method.

Cover photo: A ghost event in the storm of December 4, 2021 from the eastern part of Athens, Greece
Credit: Thanasis Papathanasiou

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