Encore - Summer Lightning Near Keota, Colorado
July 11, 2015
Take a look back at some of the EPODs our viewers found particularly eye-catching. Today, and every Saturday EPOD invites you to rediscover favorites from the past. Saturday posts feature an EPOD that was chosen by viewers like you in our monthly Viewers’ Choice polls. Join us as we look back at these intriguing and captivating images.
The Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado is an exceptional place both to observe nature and to stargaze. Observers have a nearly unobstructed view of the horizon. During the summer months, lightning can be seen miles away, and the night sky is generally free of annoying light pollution.
While waiting for skies to darken at a star party near Keota, Colorado last month, I directed my scope and camera toward a summer thunderstorm plowing across the plains. Its accompanying lightning; especially the cloud-to-ground lightning was quite dramatic. As shown above in a time lapse photo, a dozen or more strokes were recorded in less than half a minute. Each bolt typically generates 100,000,000 volts of electricity, and the more energetic strikes can reach temperatures of 54,000 degrees F (30,000 C). Before too long, the storm moved off, and I was able to turn my attention to the clearing and darkening sky. Photo taken on August 6, 2010.
Photo Details: Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi (Hap Griffin modified); Lens: EF50mm f/1.4 USM; Focal Length: 50mm; Aperture: f/22.0; Exposure Time: 20.000 s; ISO equiv: 200; Photoshop processing.