Re: plasma trail

From: Harald Edens (
Date: Thu Feb 06 2003 - 02:48:36 EST

  • Next message: svend aage: "Unidentified subject!"

    At the risk of being completely wrong (I also haven't seen the video 
    clips), probably the flashes are electric discharges from the charged 
    shuttle in the conductive plasma.  The reentry trail is effectively a long 
    semi-conductive tube of ionized gas with a highly charged electrode 
    (shuttle) at one end.  The charged shuttle causes a steep voltage gradient 
    (electric field) with the surrounding air, which would be sufficient for 
    electric breakdown continuously.  Since these discharges would happen into 
    the more or less conductive plasma (at very low pressure) as opposed to the 
    type of lightning discharges we see in a lightning storm, the shuttle 
    discharges would be more of the corona/streamer type.
    Could the camera have been mounted at the top view windows in the 
    cockpit?  The shuttle has a steep angle of attack during part of the 
    reentry, so the crew would have a clear view down the plasma trail from there.
    Harald Edens
    Socorro NM
    At 20:03 2003-02-06 +1300, you wrote:
    >I am unsure if this answers the first question but I am aware that on at
    >least some previous missions (not sure about this one) cams were situated in
    >the payload bay.  You can see the layout of the payload bay on
    > (so sad to see
    >the pic of Kalpana there though!)
    >Over to others on the second question.
    >Robert Holdsworth
    >New Zealand
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Dale Ireland" <>
    >To: "SeeSat-L" <>
    >Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 7:06 PM
    >Subject: plasma trail
    > > The were some very interesting video clips on the news tonight taken from
    > > inside a Shuttle during a previous reentry. Looking out the front windows
    > > from behind the pilot at the bright red glow and looking back at the
    > > trail.  questions: How did they get a shot out the back or down the side
    > > the shuttle looking back?? A camera back where the engines are perhaps? I
    > > had never seen anything like it... and.. both shots showed very bright
    > > flashes every few seconds like electrical discharges not the smooth
    > > nonvariable plasma trail that we have been discussing, any idea what that
    > > was?
    > > Dale
    > >
    > >
    > > -----------------------------------------------------------------
    > > Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
    > > in the SUBJECT to
    > >
    > >
    > >
    >Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
    >in the SUBJECT to
    Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
    in the SUBJECT to

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Feb 06 2003 - 02:57:03 EST