Great Lightning Display Near Frankfurt, Germany

July 08, 2011

Frankfort lightning top2
Frankfort lightning bottom 2
Photographer: Oliver Stiehler 
Summary Author
: Oliver Stiehler; Jim Foster

The photos above were taken during an amazing lightning display that lit up the skies near Frankfurt, Germany on the evening of June 4, 2011. With cloud-to-ground lightning, the base of a cumulonimbus cloud is typically positively charged while the ground surface and the top of the cloud, or thunderhead, are negatively charged. The opposite charges may induce lightning if the electric field is sufficiently charged to overcome the atmosphere's considerable insulating properties. Even in powerful bolts like the ones shown above, the diameter of a lightning channel is only an inch or two (2.5 - 5 cm).

Photo Details: Top - Camera: Canon EOS 60D; Focal Length: 18.0mm; Aperture: f/5.0; Exposure Time: 18.000 s; ISO equiv: 100. Bottom - same except: Aperture: f/4.0.