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Table 2 Key characteristics of Venus lightning observations

From: Lightning detection on Venus: a critical review

Studya Platform Instrument Signature Instrument designed for lightning? Detections Amplitude or Sensitivity Controls Other explanations for data Area observed Duration
Krasnopolsky 1979, 1983a,b Veneras 9 and 10 orbiter Visible spectrometer Spikes in optical intensity No (spectral scanner) 1 burst of ~ 2 flashes/s over 70 s 1E8 W 3E7 J/flash Dark sky Debris from spacecraft? 1500 km2 2 spacecraft × 25,000 s (night)
Ksanfomality et al. 1979, Ksanfomality et al. 1982, Ksanfomality et al. 1983 Veneras 11 and 12 lander. Veneras 13 and 14 lander Groza (V11, 12) Groza-2 (V13, 14) magnetic and acoustic sensors 10 and 36 kHz impulses Yes Near-continuous noise (few to ~ 40 pulses per second) Tens of μV/μ/Hz0.5 Spacecraft noise: but time (altitude) dependence argues against Few million km2 (?) Depends on propagation 4 spacecraft, ~ 1 h each descent
One burst (V12) 150 pulses in 8 s 20–40 μV/μ/Hz0.5 As above 1 million km2 (?) 4 s/c × 8 s every 3–6 min for ~ 1 h
Scarf et al. 1980, 1987 Pioneer Venus Orbiter Electric field detector E-field bursts at 100 Hz (Yes) 4240 bursts > 20 μV/μ/Hz0.5 Plasma noise. Spacecraft noise Unknown 257 h
Borucki et al. 1991 Pioneer Venus Orbiter Star scanner Optical pulses No   2E8 J Statistics of off-disk pulses Cosmic rays ~1 million km2 ~ 80 s
Huestis and Slanger 1993 Pioneer Venus Orbiter UV spectrometer Spikes in optical intensity No (spectral scanner) 1 event > 70 kR Meteor trail was preferred explanation < 1000 km2 ~ 600 orbits, 10 min each
Gurnett et al. 1991 Galileo flyby Radio Electric field Yes 9 impulses 10–16 V2 m-2 Hz-1 Observations before/after encounter Plasma noise, spacecraft noise Disk 53 min
Belton et al. 1991 Galileo flyby CCD Camera Bright spots on image Yes Nondetection 4 × 1E9 J N/A Part of disk  
Hansell et al. 1995 1.54 m ground-based telescope CCD camera Bright spots on image Yes 7 flashes 7E7–1E9 J Dark frames Cosmic rays ~ 70% of disk 3.75 h
Gurnett et al. 2001 Cassini flybys Radio and plasma wave Electric field Yes Firm nondetection   Earth lightning N/A ~ Disk  
Russell et al. 2007a, 2007b. Hart et al. 2013 Venus Express Magnetometer Bursts at 64 Hz Indirectly ~ 700 s of activity per 225 days (10 min/day) ~ 0.1–1 nT Variation with altitude Plasma, spacecraft noise ~ 200 km  
Moinelo et al. 2016 Venus Express VIRTIS near-IR spectrometer Bright spectra No Nondetection Not stated N/A (varies) ~ 50,000 s total
  1. aIn many cases, many papers examine the same data (especially Pioneer Venus and Venus Express, see main text)—here lists only the papers from which the table entries have been derived