# Amazing slo-mo of lightning strike.

1. Aug 8, 2008

### turbo

This is really beautiful - especially all the branching and arcing that occurs before ground contact is made and the main discharge occurs.

Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
2. Aug 8, 2008

### Defennder

It makes me wonder why lightning zig-zags instead of following a straight path or a smooth arc, or a combination of both. There's a thread on this here:

but I don't see any consensus as to why that is the case.

3. Aug 8, 2008

### binzing

I would think it would have to be the path of least resistance. And since air is all pretty similar, and little difference with less resistance would be the way it'd go.

4. Aug 8, 2008

### Ms Music

That WAS slowed down significantly, right? That was just like 4th of July fireworks. So amazing!

5. Aug 8, 2008

### turbo

Yes. That was taken by a camera with a high frame rate and slowed for playback.

6. Aug 8, 2008

### tribdog

You see how all the little branches wiggle around until one touches the ground and the hard strike follows that path. That's a pretty amazing video, I don't think I've ever seen anything like it and I've seen shows on lightning. Does lightning really look like that or has this been altered?

7. Aug 8, 2008

### binzing

Some troglodyte on there was saying it was all an effect.

8. Aug 8, 2008

### LightbulbSun

Yeah, anything on there is always considered a fake. If I ate a sandwhich in slow motion, they would say that was all an effect too. Awesome video by the way!

9. Aug 8, 2008

### turbo

Yep! Fake as all get-out! :rofl: Apparently, the cynical expert has never heard of chip bloom and doesn't know that camera sensors produce artifacts when overloaded. The change in dynamic range after the ground-hit (when max current was passing) must have been incredible - I'll bet that's one  camera.

10. Aug 8, 2008

### tribdog

I have come SOOOOOOO close to buying the model rocket and spool of copper wire to shoot into a storm cloud. I'm afraid I'll get someone killed if I actually do try it. It's supposed to work and bring a lightning bolt right down the wire.

11. Aug 8, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

To some extent that reminds me of effects of the small program simulating diffusion by random walk, download it from my site:

(ignore chemical calculators, scroll down to diffusion.zip). Seems like lightning starts as random walk (together with some kind of a path of the least resistance) at work.

12. Aug 8, 2008

### DaveC426913

Yes, that was what made me go gaga too. I saw this is on a show once, an animation of exactly that sequence of events. Many, many plasma steamers would randomly make their way through the air, ionizing it as they went. One streamer would reach the ground, establishing a continuous path of ionized air all the way from cloud to ground, and then wham! the bolt would flow from the ground to the cloud (not from cloud to ground). You can even see in the video the secondary flows of electricity after the first, as the charges balance.

Awesome. Awesome.

13. Aug 8, 2008

### LowlyPion

Lightening rockets. This is how some research in lightning is conducted.

14. Aug 9, 2008

### LightbulbSun

I noticed the secondary flows too. Very cool stuff. It all happens so fast in real time, that it just looks like one strike to us, but really there's multiple flows of electricity reaching from cloud to ground.

15. Aug 9, 2008

### LightbulbSun

Speaking of lightning, I am always reminded by the worst storm I have ever seen in my life to this date.

Source: http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu:7773/past/may31a/may31.htm"

250 strokes per hour.
4.16 strokes per second.

It was like the finale of a fireworks show, just constant lightning strikes. I was only 9 then and I was scared to death because we did have a tornado warning for our county and an F3 tornado just missed us by about 8 miles to the east of us.

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
16. Aug 9, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

17. Aug 9, 2008

### DaveC426913

per minute.

1 stroke every 15 seconds.

18. Aug 9, 2008

### tribdog

Not necessarily, If I was in the middle of 250 lightning strokes in an hour I'd probably have about 4 strokes per second.

19. Aug 9, 2008

### Chi Meson

Easily, and by far, the best shot of a lightning strike I have ever seen captured on video. And I have seen many, having shown a dozen or so videos on lightning in my physics classes. There's this NOVA special of a few years ago where the narrator says "watch this rare slow motion footage of a lightning strike on a factory ..." (etc.). That was a weak fart compared to this shot!

20. Aug 9, 2008

### kmarinas86

You mean:

15,000 strokes per hour.
250 strokes per minute.
4.15 strokes per second.

4.15 * 60 = 250
250 * 60 = 15,000

I'm right and the others are wrong.

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017

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