An overview of VHF lightning observations by digital interferometry from ISS/JEM-GLIMS

Takeshi Morimoto, Hiroshi Kikuchi, Mitsuteru Sato, Tomoo Ushio, Atsushi Yamazaki, Makoto Suzuki, Ryohei Ishida, Yuji Sakamoto, Kazuya Yoshida, Yasuhide Hobara, Takuki Sano, Takumi Abe, Zen Ichiro Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Global Lightning and sprIte MeasurementS (GLIMS) mission has been conducted at the Exposed Facility of Japanese Experiment Module (JEM-EF) of the International Space Station for more than 30 months. This paper focuses on an electromagnetic (EM) payload of JEM-GLIMS mission, the very high frequency (VHF) broadband digital InTerFerometer (VITF). The JEM-GLIMS mission is designed to conduct comprehensive observations with both EM and optical payloads for lightning activities and related transient luminous events. Its nominal operation continued from November 2012 to December 2014. The extended operation followed for eight months. Through the operation period, the VITF collected more than two million VHF EM waveforms in almost 18,700 datasets. The number of VITF observations synchronized with optical signal is 8049. Active VHF radiations are detected in about 70 % of optical observations without obvious regional or seasonal dependency. Estimations of the EM direction-of-arrival (DOA) are attempted using the broadband digital interferometry. Some results agree with the optical observations, even though DOA estimation is problematic because of a very short antenna baseline and multiple pulses over a short time period, namely burst-type EM waveforms. The world's first lightning observations by means of space-borne VHF interferometry are achieved in this mission. This paper summarizes VITF instruments, the recorded VHF EM signals, and the results of DOA estimations by means of digital interferometry as a preliminary report after termination of the mission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1


  • Digital interferometry
  • Direction-of-arrival estimation
  • International Space Station
  • Lightning discharge
  • VHF EM radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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