Theatre of Lightning

September 16, 2005


Provided by: Jens Hackmann
Summary authors & editors: Jens Hackmann; Jim Foster

The photo above showing multiple lightning strikes was taken over Bad Mergentheim, in southern Germany, on July 29, 2005 -- 23:30 Universal Time (UT). There was no rain with this particular storm cell, just wind and fierce bolts of cloud to ground lightning. At least 10 individual down-strikes are visible on this photo. Typically, the base of a cumulonimbus cloud is negatively charged while the upper portion of the cloud, as well as the ground, is positively charged. This separation of electrical charge results in an enormous electrical potential both within the cloud and between the cloud and ground.

Photo details: Taken with Canon EOS 20D Camera and a 18-55 mm zoom lens at 25 mm, exposure time was about 60 seconds at 200 ISO and f/10.

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