Tag Archives: lightning

A spectacular two-image composite of lightning striking communication antennas near the top of Volcán de Agua (Volcano of Water) in Guatemala earlier this month.

Details of what causes lightning are still being researched, but it is known that inside some clouds, internal updrafts cause collisions between ice and snow that slowlyseparate charges between cloud tops and bottoms The rapid electrical discharges that are lightning soon result. Lightning usually takes a jagged course, rapidly heating a thin column of air to about three times the surface temperature of the Sun. The resulting shock wave starts supersonically and decays into the loud sound known as thunder. On average, around the world, about 6,000 lightning bolts occur between clouds and the Earth every minute.

(ImageSergio Montúfar (Pinceladas Nocturnas)

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A rare form of lightning called ‘red sprites’ (only confirmed 30 years ago) observed earlier this month at Kununurra in Western Australia. To wit:

100-meter balls of ionized air shoot down from about 80-km high at 10 percent the speed of light and are quickly followed by a group of upward streaking ionized balls. Red sprites take only a fraction of a second to occur and are best seen when powerful thunderstorms are visible from the side.

(Pic: Ben Broady)

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1000 frame per second films of lightning strikes at various parts of the US (but mainly Arizona) captured in 4k by filmmaker Dustin Farrell using a Phantom Flex4K high-speed camera. The three minute film contains a total of three terabytes (3,000GB) of data. Farrell sez of it:

Lightning is like a snowflake. Every bolt is different. I learned that lightning varies greatly in speed. There are some incredible looking bolts that I captured that didn’t make the cut because even at 1000fps they only lasted for one frame during playback. I also captured some lightning that appear computer generated it lasted so long on the screen.

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