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Shuttle Sparks Electro-Physics. Explosions Recorded

Written By: The Electric Warrior

Posted: 2/18/2003 12:00:00 AM   Reads: 838   Submitted By:0x6a656666   Category: Space
photo: Red Sprite 
(The Electric Warrior) - An unusual purple lightning 
bolt seen in a San Francisco photograph of Shuttle 
Columbia has gained national attention and also 
sparked discussion about rare forms high-altitude 
lightning. A network of sensitive listening devices 
recorded subsonic explosions during the shuttle’s 
reentry which could shed light on the Columbia 
disaster. Another photograph captured by the US Air 
Force Research Laboratory as the shuttle passed over 
New Mexico is also being studied.  
A purple corkscrew lightning bolt can reportedly be 
seen in a photograph taken by a Bay Area shuttle 
buff on the morning of the Columbia accident. NASA 
experts are examining digital photographs which 
await public release by a photographer who at this 
time remains anonymous. 
Strange flashes of colored lightning with names like 
Red Sprites and Blue Jets are a recent scientific 
discovery that continue to intrigue scientists. One 
peculiar thing about the Blue Jets phenomenon is that 
their discharge travels away from Earth, up from a 
stormy cloud bank toward the ionosphere. The Sprites 
leap down from above.  
Researchers at a scientific conference in Denver, 
Colorado have confirmed the intercept of inaudible 
"infrasound" signals during the shuttle’s reentry on 
February 1. Infrasound sensor arrays have been used 
to study the mysterious electrical discharges in the 
upper atmosphere. People cannot hear infrasound, but 
they can feel it from audio systems with the bass turned up. 
The Toledo Blade reports that the Columbia recordings 
have been sent to NASA for analysis. An expert with 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
said "We’ve been asked not to discuss the results 
publicly, and we will honor that request." Some 
believe the recordings could shed light on the theory 
that a Blue Jet knocked Columbia out of the sky. 
An expert in high-atmospheric physics at Los Alamos 
National Laboratories in New Mexico has said it is 
not likely that the electrical phenomenon had 
anything to do with the Columbia accident, but it 
needs to be studied. "I’m highly skeptical they  
could have had anything to do with Columbia’s demise," 
he told the San Francisco Chronicle. "But somebody 
needs to see how they interact with spacecraft." 
NASA investigators have set up a panel of both 
government and private experts to study the San 
Francisco photograph. Another panel is studying 
input from a network of powerful Air Force 
telescopes and radar stations. The Space Agency 
has pooled data from a variety of sources including 
private citizens and secret government cameras in 
an effort to create a time-line of events leading 
up to the Columbia disaster. 
A NASA official has said the "lightning strike" 
photo is being studied to see what it means. The 
digital camera that took the photo is known to have 
its own color glitches. Nikon told WorldNetDaily 
that unless they examine the camera it would be 
speculation to say whether the anomalous purple 
light had anything to do with a defect in the device. 
Listening devices record explosions from dying shuttle 
DENVER, CO (Toledo Blade) - A little-known network 
of listening devices, used partly to detect rogue 
nuclear tests, overheard Columbia’s death, recording 
explosions as the space shuttle broke apart 39 miles 
above the Earth. Government researchers gathered at 
a scientific conference here confirmed intercept of 
the so-called "infrasound" signals during the 
shuttle’s fateful reentry on February 1. 
NASA studying Columbia photos 
SAN FRANCISCO (Chronicle) - NASA investigators of 
the Columbia space shuttle disaster have set up a 
study group to analyze a photograph, taken by an 
amateur astronomer from a San Francisco hillside, 
that appears to show a bolt of electricity striking 
the doomed orbiter as it streaked across Northern 
California...If the San Francisco photograph does 
indeed depict a bolt of electricity in the ionosphere, 
the "infrasonic" sensors in Colorado might be able 
to detect the faint thunderclap that accompanied it.  
Spy telescopes, radar could help shuttle probe 
NATIONAL (CNN/AP) - NASA officials said Monday 
that they have asked the Air Force Space Command 
to review all data that might contain information 
about the shuttle’s last flight. The effort has 
already uncovered an observation made by ground- 
based radar suggesting that an object may have hit 
or broken off the shuttle on day two of its 16-day