Storm hunter turns two

Monday, June 15, 2020 - 11:00 in Astronomy & Space

Image: The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor or ASIM, mounted outside the European laboratory of the International Space Station, enters its second year of science operations.Launched in April 2018, the payload began operating on 14 June 2018 and has been studying thunderstorms 400 km above Earth ever since.Specifically, ASIM is on the hunt for elusive electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere, or lightning that extends upwards into space. These discharges have alluring names like red sprites, blue jets and elves and have been reported by pilots over the years.Besides these phenomena ASIM is also studying terrestrial Gamma-ray flashes. These are high-energy discharges of photons that propagate out into space.All these light shows appear to be more common than originally thought and scientists are eager to know more about how they could influence Earth’s climate.ASIM is outfitted with a collection of optical cameras, photometers and an X- and gamma-ray detector designed to track and...

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