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    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 225, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2021.105760

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Estimating the electron energy and the strength of the electric field within sprites using ground-based optical data observed over South African storms

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Article number105760
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume225
Number of pages7
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/09/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We present a new simplified method to estimate the characteristic electron energy and electric field within a mesospheric transient luminous event using ground-based calibrated and filtered optical data. We assume non-relativistic motion, a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, a model of the electron-neutral collision frequency, elastic electron collisions, that the collisional excitation cross-section can be assigned to a single value, and that each electron-neutral collision produces one photon on average. Example observations of carrot sprites over South Africa give estimated electron energy of 4.6–4.9 ± 0.03 eV, which compares favourably with previous similar results using more sophisticated methods. Ideally, two wavelengths should be observed simultaneously but we show a good estimate is possible with only the bright N2(1 PG) red emission.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 225, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2021.105760