Tag Archives: Lightning

Lightning from Above, Spectacular Sights at 40,000 Feet…

From our normal vantage point on the ground thunderstorms put on an amazing show but change your angle of perspective by 40,000 feet and these electrical discharges become spectacular. Filmed from the relative safety of a commercial airplane these thunder clouds can be seen to light up with lightning spreading throughout the cloud. Remember most of these cumulus congestus clouds are over 10 kilometres high and these flashes are spreading from the top to bottom in the blink of an eye.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the best videos capturing thunderstorms from above, as the pilots of these aircraft skirt around the edges of these unstable areas of the atmosphere. Sit back relax and from the safety of your lounge room chair enjoy these electrifying natural displays.

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The Russian Tesla Lightning Towers…

Electricity is the lifeblood of the modern wired world but electricity is not your friend, it will kill you at the first opportunity that you give it. This is especially true for high voltage electricity. In order to make working with electricity as safe as possible it is necessary to test its effects and behaviour under various circumstances.

To this end the Russian Electrical Engineering Institute constructed one hell of a test facility. 40 kilometres west of Moscow is the sleepy town of Istra and the High Voltage Marx and Tesla Generators Research Facility that is able generate and fire high voltage lightning bolts at will. Opened in the late 70’s and still in use to this day the facility is based on work done by the electrical genius Nikola Tesla, Erwin Otto Marx and Vladimir Arkadyev.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is one of the largest lightning test facilities in the world, a test facility able to explode trees and make your hairs stand on end, a facility able to throw lightning bolts like a Nordic god. So sit back, relax and prepare to be struck by lightning’s impressive power.

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Sprites. Space Lightning…

Just above the clouds, on the other side of the sky is a phenomenon that’s caught the eye science, Sprites.

Sprites are a relatively newly discovered – 1989 – high altitude atmospheric optical emission – flash – they are a large-scale electrical discharge that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky.

They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground. Sprites only last for Milli-seconds and can be quite dim compared to the lightning flash below the clouds. They look like recoil from lightning.

Sprites are often inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to a fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges.

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