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Undesirable surface flashover of high voltage support structures can severely limit the compactness of open air high voltage systems. Only recently, increased effort has been invested in characterizing and quantifying the physical processes involved in surface flashover occurring under atmospheric conditions and under the influence of UV illumination. In this paper, a UV flash lamp and a solid-state UV source, with its much faster turn-off time, were utilized in conjunction with a high temporal resolution testing apparatus. The UV pulse, excitation voltage, discharge current, and flashover self-luminosity were measured with high temporal precision. We relate recent experiments to our experimental findings of surface flashover under atmospheric conditions gained over the past five years. A simple model that describes the observed behavior will be presented. In addition, a more advanced Monte Carlo-type code for electron collision dynamics will be utilized to further analyze the role of UV in surface flashover under atmospheric conditions.