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X-ray Observations at Gaisberg Tower

Ångstrom Laboratory, Division of Electricity, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University, 534, SE-75121 Uppsala, Sweden
OVE Service GmbH, Kahlenberger Straße 2A, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Morse Hall 309, 8 College Road, Durham, NH 03824, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2018, 9(1), 20;
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 13 January 2018
PDF [2310 KB, uploaded 16 January 2018]


We report the occurrence of X-rays at ground level due to cloud-to-ground flashes of upward-initiated lightning from Gaisberg Tower, in Austria, which is located at an altitude of 1300 m. This is the first observation of X-ray emissions from upward lightning from a tower top located at high altitude. Measurements were carried out using scintillation detectors installed close to the tower top in two phases from 2011 to 2015. X-rays were recorded in three subsequent strokes of three flashes out of the total of 108 flashes recorded in the system during both phases. In contrast to the observations from downward natural or triggered lightning, X-rays were observed only within 10 µs before the subsequent return stroke. This shows that X-rays were emitted when the dart leader was in the vicinity of the tower top, hence during the most intense phase of the dart leader. Both the detected energy and the fluence of X-rays are far lower compared to X-rays from downward natural or rocket-triggered lightning. In addition to the above 108 flashes, an interesting observation of X-rays produced by a nearby downward flash is also presented. The shorter length of dart-leader channels in Gaisberg is suggested as a possible cause of this apparently weaker X-ray production. View Full-Text
Keywords: X-ray; upward lightning; tower; mountain X-ray; upward lightning; tower; mountain

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Hettiarachchi, P.; Cooray, V.; Diendorfer, G.; Pichler, H.; Dwyer, J.; Rahman, M. X-ray Observations at Gaisberg Tower. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 20.

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