Lightning Imaging Sensor Project

Project Description
The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), is a space based instrument used to detect the distribution and variability of total lightning (cloud-to-cloud, intracloud, and cloud-to-ground lightning) that occurs in the tropical regions of the globe. The LIS is a science instrument aboard the TRMM Observatory, which was launched on 28 November 1997 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.

This lightning sensor consists of a staring imager which is optimized to locate and detect lightning with storm-scale resolution (4 to 7 km) over a large region (600 x 600 km) of the Earth's surface. The TRMM Satellite travels a distance of 7 kilometers every second (nearly 16,000 miles per hour) as it orbits the Earth, thus allowing the LIS to observe a point on the Earth or a cloud for almost 90 seconds as it passes overhead. Despite the brief duration of an observation, it is long enough to estimate the flashing rate of most storms. The instrument records the time of occurrence, measures the radiant energy, and determines the location of lightning events within its field-of-view.

Information provided by http://thunder.msfc.nasa.gov/lis/