Non Detection of Lightning During the Second Parker Solar Probe Venus Gravity Assist
The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft completed its second Venus gravity assist maneuver (VGA2) on December 26, 2019. For a 20 min interval surrounding closest approach, the PSP/FIELDS Radio Frequency Spectrometer (RFS) was set to "burst mode," recording radio spectra from 1.3 to 19.2 MHz at sub second cadence. We analyze this burst mode data, searching for signatures of radio frequency "sferic" emission from lightning discharges. During the burst mode interval, only four spectra were observed with strong impulsive signals, and all four could be attributed to saturation of the RFS high gain stage by in situ electrostatic plasma waves. These RFS measurements during VGA2 are consistent with previous non detection of radio frequency lightning signals from Venus reported by Gurnett et al. (2001, <A href="https://doi.org/10.1038/35053009">https://doi.org/10.1038/35053009</A>).
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Geophysical Research Letters
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