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In a wide variety of high-voltage applications surface flashover plays a major role in the system's performance and yet has not been studied in great detail for atmospheric conditions with modern diagnostic tools. Environmental conditions to be considered include pressure, humidity, and gas present in the volume surrounding the dielectric. In order to gain knowledge into the underlying process involved in dielectric surface flashover, a setup has been created to produce and closely monitor the flashover event. Surface flashover for both direct current and pulsed voltages is considered. Within the setup, parameters such as geometry, material, and temporal characteristics of the applied voltage can be altered. Current, voltage, and luminosity are measured with nanosecond to sub-nanosecond resolution. Previously measured optical emission spectra is also discussed.