Photoelectric observations of the light emitted by lightning flashes

Mackerras D. (1973) Photoelectric observations of the light emitted by lightning flashes. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 35 3: 521-535. doi:10.1016/0021-9169(73)90041-X


Author Mackerras D.
Title Photoelectric observations of the light emitted by lightning flashes
Journal name Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics
ISSN 0021-9169
Publication date 1973-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/0021-9169(73)90041-X
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 35
Issue 3
Start page 521
End page 535
Total pages 15
Subject 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
1908 Geophysics
Abstract Observations of the light radiated by lightning have been made using high-vacuum phototubes sensitive to light from 300 to 600 nm wavelength. These observations were related to the charge transported and energy dissipated by lightning flashes to ground. Measurements of the light radiated by the visible portion of flashes at various distances were normalised using the inverse square law. For ground flashes at a standard distance of 1 km, the median peak light pulse caused a peak photocathode current density of about 1.7 mA/cm2 and liberated from the photocathode about 0.34 microcoulomb/cm2. The corresponding median peak illumination was about 4 × 105lux. For 50 per cent of the ground flashes examined, a fraction between about 0.01 and 0.03 of the power dissipated in the channel was converted to radiation between 300 and 600 nm. The waveshapes of the light pulses from the component strokes of ground flashes frequently exhibited two peaks a few hundred microseconds apart, and lasted about I msec. A corresponding model lightning stroke current waveshape with two current impulse components is suggested. The ratio of the peak rate to the mean rate of emission of light was measured for all types of lightning flash. The median value of this ratio was found to be 1400 for ground flashes and 150 for cloud flashes, indicating that impulsive discharge processes are less important in cloud flashes than ground flashes.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import - Archived
 
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