Monday, June 25, 2012

Anatomy of a Lightning Strike

These progression photos are of a lightning strike containing multiple branches that vary in intensity, disappear entirely, then reappear.  It is really quite amazing when you slow it down and break apart the life cycle of a lightning strike.  At the end of the progression photos are two videos.  One is a combined slowed progression of the strike and the second is a real time video clip of the strike as it actually happened.


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 1: Before the strike...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 1: Before the strike...



Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 2: The sky starts to turn purple as a pre-flash builds
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 2: The sky starts to turn purple as a pre-flash builds



Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 3: A flash...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 3: A flash...




Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 4: The flash then fades
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 4: The flash then fades



Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 5: As the initial flash subsides...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 5: As the initial flash subsides...


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 6: Then the lightning bolt leader starts to form on the right through the trees, rising from the ground...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 6: Then the lightning bolt leader starts to form on the right through the trees, rising from the ground...





Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 7: A second bolt starts to form at the bottom... and a third in the middle of the tree... all branching out from the first bolt
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 7: A second bolt starts to form at the bottom... and a third in the middle of the tree... all branching out from the first bolt


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 8: Another explosive flash as energy is released...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 8: Another explosive flash as energy is released...






Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 9: The second bolt extends across the sky as the third subsides...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 9: The second bolt extends across the sky as the third subsides...



Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 10: The bottom bolt branches out in all directions...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 10: The bottom bolt branches out in all directions...


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 11: For some reason the bottom bolt splits in the middle as the first part of it fades and the trailing half on the right gains energy and becomes stronger...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 11: For some reason the bottom bolt splits in the middle as the first part of it fades and the trailing half on the right gains energy and becomes stronger...

Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 12: You can't see it in this photo, but as the bolts extended to the left and strengthened, they went all the way across the horizon.  Very cool!
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 12: You can't see it in this photo, but as the bolts extended to the left and strengthened, they went all the way across the horizon.  Very cool!

Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 13: The energy seems to shift to the bottom bolt from the initial bolt as it disappears...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 13: The energy seems to shift to the bottom bolt from the initial bolt as it disappears...




Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 14: Another flash as the bottom lightening bolt increases in intensity...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 14: Another flash as the bottom lightning bolt increases in intensity...



Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 15: As the bottom bolt subsides, the initial lightening bolt at the top re-intensifies and appears again after disappearing totally...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 15: As the bottom bolt subsides, the initial lightning bolt at the top re-intensifies and appears again after disappearing totally...


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 16: As the top bolt disappears again, the bottom bolt intensifies again...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 16: As the top bolt disappears again, the bottom bolt intensifies again...


Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 17: As it intensifies, branches start to spread out on the sides again...
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 17: As it intensifies, branches start to spread out on the sides again...

Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 18: And then it is done!
Anatomy of a lightning strike frame 18: And then it is done!

video 
Here is a slowed video progression of the above photos.

video
Here is the lightning strike in real time.

©All photos and videos in this article are copyrighted by Jack Mc    They may not be reproduced in any way without written permission.

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