Lightning strikes from storm clouds down to the ground. It also strikes up into storms and also out into thin air. Sometimes isolated sparks shoot up out of the ground. Lightning Channels sometimes sail in strong wind and take bizarre, unlikely paths through the sky. This video is about the weird behavior of strange lightning.
Most of us have seen epic lightning bolts branching from the cloud down to the ground, But have you ever seen lightning bolts branching up? Upward-moving lightning or ground-to-cloud lightning often has a strange smooth and fluid channel. This type of lightning was extremely rare prior to the industrial revolution and is said to have only occurred from mountain peaks. Tall, man-made structures help trigger this discharge and increasing skyscrapers and radio antennas are making this brilliant phenomenon more common.
Most lightning discharges occur only in the clouds never striking the earth. This is called intracloud lightning. But sometimes it leaps out into the naked air, and so this phenomenon is called cloud-to-air lightning
During a lightning storm It’s a good idea not to be the tallest thing standing around. But that doesn’t mean you’re safe if you’re the shortest. Lightning seems to have a physics defying mind of it’s own and often takes unlikely, erratic paths before striking a random target.
Milliseconds before a typical lightning strike, a stepped leader advances from the cloud to the ground. Before reaching the ground a charged ionic channel called an upward streamer reaches up to meet the leader. When they connect a massive electrostatic discharge flashes. During some strikes, multiple upward streamers spark up and only one makes a connection. In rare photographs you can see these lonely upward streamers failing to make a connection.
After a strike, the main lightning channel begins to cool and sometimes decays into glowing fragments slow enough for the human eye to detect. This string of dots is called bead lightning or chain lightning.
Sometimes lightning photographs have parallel successive flashes or strokes off-set from each other. This is called Ribbon Lightning and occurs when strong winds actually blow the flashing channel through the camera frame. Here’s some video of lightning actually sailing in strong wind.
LIGHTNING STROKES or FLICKERS
We’ve all seen lightning flicker, but we generally don’t see all the flashes or strokes because they happen too fast for the eye to see. Some lightning strikes are said to flash up to 30 times. When you slow video down you can detect more of the flashes, but this video was shot at 30 frames per second and lightning can hide several stokes inside one of those frames. 480 frames per second will give a more accurate stoke count, but again it is possible to have several strokes inside one of those frames. The best way to get an accurate stroke count is with one still frame. Open your shutter on a dark night and pan your camera back and forth. If lightning strikes during a pan, you’ll have recorded and separated the strokes. Notice the primary flash is the only one with branches.
Perhaps the strangest manifestation of lightning is Ball Lightning which is said to be a floating luminous ball that can pass through walls. Despite the trillions of selfies shot every second around the globe, There is no solid photographic proof of ball lightning.
In fact it’s entire existence is based solely off of reported public sightings. I scoured the internet and was only able to find one plausible photograph of ball lightning.
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