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Publishing date:November 3, 2020
Sprites, elves, jets… few people know that scientists habitually use such other-worldly words to describe what are less poetically called transient luminous events or TLEs, the flashes and electromagnetic emissions that occur during active storms just a few tens of kilometres over our heads. But what are the physical processes and mechanisms behind these phenomena discovered barely 30 years ago? Such are the challenges facing the French Taranis satellite that will be riding aloft this autumn atop a Vega launcher from the Guiana Space Centre.