A Semi-Automatic, Remote-Controlled Video Observation System for Transient Luminous Events

Thomas Højgaard Allin, Torsten Neubert, Steen Laursen, Ib Lundgaard Rasmussen, Serge Soula

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In support for global ELF/VLF observations, HF measurements in France, and conjugate photometry/VLF observations in South Africa, we developed and operated a semi-automatic, remotely controlled video system for the observation of middle-atmospheric transient luminous events (TLEs). Installed at the Pic du Midi Observatory in Southern France, the system was operational during the period from July 18 to September 15, 2003. The video system, based two low-light, non-intensified CCD video cameras, was mounted on top of a motorized pan/tilt unit. The cameras and the pan/tilt unit were controlled over serial links from a local computer, and the video outputs were distributed to a pair of PCI frame grabbers in the computer. This setup allowed remote users to log in and operate the system over the internet. Event detection software provided means of recording and time-stamping single TLE video fields and thus eliminated the need for continuous human monitoring of TLE activity. The computer recorded and analyzed two parallel video streams at the full 50 Hz field rate, while uploading status images, TLE images, and system logs to a remote web server. The system detected more than 130 TLEs - mostly sprites - distributed over 9 active evenings. We have thus demonstrated the feasibility of remote agents for TLE observations, which are likely to find use in future ground-based TLE observation campaigns, or to be installed at remote sites in support for space-borne or other global TLE observation efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEOS Trans., Fall Meet. Suppl.
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Publication date2003
Publication statusPublished - 2003
EventEOS Trans., Fall Meet. Suppl. -
Duration: 1 Jan 2003 → …


ConferenceEOS Trans., Fall Meet. Suppl.
Period01/01/2003 → …

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