Institute of Astronomy

LEAP - Lightning, electricity, atmospheres of planetary objects

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Christiane Helling (University of St Andrews)5 May 2016Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


Charge processes in planetary atmospheres have always sparked fear and fascination. Lightning is a natural phenomenon with which we – here on Earth – grow up, but do we understand what it is? If nature is universal, lightning and charge processes should also occur outside our solar system. Where? Only in planets? Maybe not. The desire to understand the physics of lightning and it’s impact on its environment drives the LEAP project. Exciting question touch upon fundamental physics, numerically challenging models, planetary atmospheres and volcano outbreaks.

I will present an overview of the LEAP group’s work on how ionisation processes (thermal, dust collision, cosmic rays, flow-induced) structure cloud forming atmospheres, 3D cloud formation modelling in dynamic planetary atmospheres, and the emergence of lighting in such chemically and dynamically active atmospheres.


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