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Can be lightning coloured?

  1. Feb 2, 2009 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Lightning is just the air heated to extreme temperatures so is mostly a black body.
    It could have color if it ionized air causing particular transitions but since it would create a whole bunch of different transitions it would tend to average out.
    My guess is that these strong colors are either a filter (optical or photoshop) or a software effect in the cameras as it tries to fix the color balance on a very weirdly illuminated scene.
     
  4. Feb 2, 2009 #3
    As far as I know, the colour of black body depends on its temperature; sun with its tamperature 6000K is yellow. So if one lightning is hotter than another, shoudn't it has some different colour?
     
  5. Feb 2, 2009 #4

    mgb_phys

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    But the BB curve is quite broad so once it gets near the middle of your eye's response it covers most of your visual range. That's why daylight looks white and you don't see things heated green-hot.
     
  6. Feb 2, 2009 #5
    The photographer probably used a series of different filters to get this picture. It is obviously an exposure made with the shutter open for an extended period of time. If he was clever in the use of his filter by watching the time he could have the right color balance for the background while still having individual lightening bolts different colors.
     
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