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Posts Tagged ‘satoshi furukawa’

I’ve put off writing about sprites because I’m not sure I can explain what they are  — powerful upward lightning flashes that send electricity around the earth and were originally going to be photographed by an astronaut on the ill-fated Columbia.

A team of scientists and a few daredevil pilots flew repeatedly into storms to prove the visions were real. The television show Nova covered the quest.

“NARRATOR: On a stormy night, in Denver, a team of scientists takes to the air to investigate a mystery.

“RONALD WILLIAMS (United States Air Force): I reported it, and nobody believed me.

“NARRATOR: They’re trying to catch a burst of energy so fleeting and hard to see that scientists call it by the ethereal name of ‘sprite.’

“EARLE WILLIAMS (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): The bolts that cause sprites are superbolts, the kind of lightning that’ll blow your T.V. sky high. …

“KERRI CAHOY (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): You can see airglow that’s more diffuse and just in layers than the curtain-like aurora.

“NARRATOR: NOVA takes to the air, on a quest to record these elusive events.

“GEOFF MCHARG (United States Air Force Academy): Sprite!

“NARRATOR: And the effort also continues above, from the vantage point of space, where the work had it’s beginning during the ill-fated Columbia mission, with Israeli astronaut Ilon Ramon.

“YOAV YAIR (The Open University of Israel): I asked him, ‘Please bring me one sprite image.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get you a couple.’

“NARRATOR: Ramon’s colleagues now continue where he left off.

“SATOSHI FURUKAWA (Japanese Astronaut): We must take over their work. I thought that was the survivors’ duty.

“NARRATOR: Their dramatic discoveries are revealing that we live on an electrified planet, surrounded by a global circuit that rings the earth. And like a planetary heartbeat, we can now detect it.”

More here.

 Image: Nova

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