Wednesday, May 03, 2006

St. Elmo's fire on Airplane

This bright St. Elmo's fire was photographed by Martin Popek from Czech Republic on 24.03.2006 during a flight to Antalya, Turkey.

St. Elmo's fire is a spark discharge seen typically from soaring buildings. It is generated by a high voltage between the ground and the air.


Claudia Hinz said...

Congratulation to this picture! I've seen the St. Elmo's fire several times But so far I did not succeed in ever photographing it.

Cordial Greetings

Les Cowley said...

Remarkable that the discharge is maintained in such a fast air flow.

Peter-Paul Hattinga Verschure said...

Is this really St. Elmo's fire ? It appears to me that we see scattering of light from the green wing tip light of the airplane itself, just growing visible by cloud droplets.

marko riikonen said...

My initial impression was wing light as well.

Harald Edens said...

This is scattering of the wingtip light by cloud droplets, not corona discharge. Any corona discharge would predominantly be at the trailing end of the wing, where the electrostatic wicks are mounted, as these are the sharpest protrusions (and that's what the wicks are for). The wing area where the light in the photo is, is right where the starboard light is installed and this area has a relatively large radius of curvature, with not as much enhancement of the electric field. For comparison, a photo of natural corona discharge (on an antenna mast) is at, look for photo of the month August 2006.