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Initiation of a lightning search using the lightning and airglow camera onboard the Venus orbiter Akatsuki

  • Takahashi, Yukihiro1
  • Sato, Mitsuteru1
  • Imai, Masataka1
  • Lorenz, Ralph2
  • Yair, Yoav3
  • Aplin, Karen4
  • Fischer, Georg5
  • Nakamura, Masato6
  • Ishii, Nobuaki6
  • Abe, Takumi6, 7
  • Satoh, Takehiko6, 7
  • Imamura, Takeshi8
  • Hirose, Chikako6
  • Suzuki, Makoto6
  • Hashimoto, George L.9
  • Hirata, Naru10
  • Yamazaki, Atsushi6, 11
  • Sato, Takao M.6
  • Yamada, Manabu12
  • Murakami, Shin-ya6
  • And 7 more
  • 1 Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Science, Kita 10 Nishi 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0810, Japan , Sapporo (Japan)
  • 2 Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD, 20723, USA , Laurel (United States)
  • 3 Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), School of Sustainability, Herzliya, 46150, Israel , Herzliya (Israel)
  • 4 Oxford University, Physics Teaching Laboratories, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Rd, Oxford, OX1 3RH, UK , Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • 5 Austrian Academy of Sciences, Space Research Institute, Schmiedlstr. 6, Graz, 8042, Austria , Graz (Austria)
  • 6 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 252-5210, Japan , Sagamihara (Japan)
  • 7 SOKENDAI, Department of Space and Astronautical Science, School of Physical Sciences, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 252-5210, Japan , Sagamihara (Japan)
  • 8 The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Kiban-tou 4H7, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba, 277-8561, Japan , Kashiwa (Japan)
  • 9 Okayama University, Department of Earth Science, 3-1-1 Tsushimanaka, Kita, Okayama, 700-8530, Japan , Okayama (Japan)
  • 10 The University of Aizu, School of Computer Science and Engineering, 90 Kami-Iawase, Tsuruga, Ikki-machi, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, 965-8580, Japan , Aizu-Wakamatsu (Japan)
  • 11 The University of Tokyo, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan , Tokyo (Japan)
  • 12 Chiba Institute of Technology, Planetary Exploration Research Center, 2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narashino, Chiba, 275-0016, Japan , Narashino (Japan)
  • 13 Rikkyo University, Department of Physics, 3-34-1 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 171-8501, Japan , Tokyo (Japan)
  • 14 University of Shiga Prefecture, School of Engineering, 2500 Hassaka-cho, Hikone, Shiga, 522-8533, Japan , Hikone (Japan)
  • 15 Kyoto Sangyo University, Faculty of Science, Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto, 603-8555, Japan , Kyoto (Japan)
  • 16 National Institute of Technology, Matsue College, Department of Information Engineering, 14-4 Nishi-Ikuma, Matsue, Shimane, 690-8518, Japan , Matsue (Japan)
  • 17 Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 236-0001, Japan , Yokohama (Japan)
  • 18 Senshu University, School of Commerce, 2-1-1 Higashimita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, 214-8580, Japan , Kawasaki (Japan)
Published Article
Earth Planets and Space
Publication Date
May 25, 2018
DOI: 10.1186/s40623-018-0836-2
Springer Nature


The existence of lightning discharges in the Venus atmosphere has been controversial for more than 30 years, with many positive and negative reports published. The lightning and airglow camera (LAC) onboard the Venus orbiter, Akatsuki, was designed to observe the light curve of possible flashes at a sufficiently high sampling rate to discriminate lightning from other sources and can thereby perform a more definitive search for optical emissions. Akatsuki arrived at Venus during December 2016, 5 years following its launch. The initial operations of LAC through November 2016 have included a progressive increase in the high voltage applied to the avalanche photodiode detector. LAC began lightning survey observations in December 2016. It was confirmed that the operational high voltage was achieved and that the triggering system functions correctly. LAC lightning search observations are planned to continue for several years.

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