The Eiffel Tower and Lightning

October 13, 2013


: Bertrand Kulik 
Summary Authors: Bertrand Kulik; Jim Foster

October 2013 Viewer's Choice Air is a good electrical insulator. The primary reason why lightning has a propensity to hit the very tallest objects is because the insulating effect of air is less than is the case for structures having a shorter stature. However, it’s a mistake to think that nearby objects are relatively safe during electrical storms simply because they’re further from the base of the storm cloud. TParisJulyLightninghis animation, from a storm on June 19, 2013, shows the Eiffel Tower escaping the bolts that crashed nearby. However, It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the 1,063 ft (324 m) high Eiffel Tower is often the target of lightning events. The strike at left shows the Tower getting hammered by a muscular discharge during an unusual morning thunderstorm on July 27, 2013. Such are the vagaries of lightning, which clearly demonstrates the need to take heed whenever thunder is heard.

Photo Details: Camera Model: Canon EOS 7D; Lens: 17-70mm; Focal Length: 57.0mm; Aperture: f/11.0; Exposure Time: 1.300 s; ISO equiv: 100. Taken at 6:54 a.m.