Posts Tagged lightning

Our Strange Sky: The Lightning Skies of Huntsville or The Gods Must be Showy

8/3/11 Lightning in Northeast Huntsville

In the early days of August, Huntsville was witness to a fantastic lightning show. We attempted to take video but our phone is on its last legs after an unfortunate incident regarding a washing machine. It took some small doing but we found others who captured the phenomenon(in photograph and on video) and shared with the world at large.

Below the jump is a pilot’s video(markopenguin) of the skies filled with lightning attacks.

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Our Strange Sky: And in the Sky, a Crown of Clouds and Light

雷雲

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Our Strange Sky: Lightning and a Lunar Eclipse from the Edge of the Planet of Goats

Thunderstorms almost spoiled this view of the spectacular June 15 total lunar eclipse. Instead, storm clouds parted for 10 minutes during the total eclipse phase and lightning bolts contributed to the dramatic sky. Captured with a 30 second exposure the scene also inspired what, in the 16 year history of Astronomy Picture of the Day, the editor considers may be the best title yet for a picture (title credit to Chris K.). Of course, the lightning reference clearly makes sense, and the shadow play of the dark lunar eclipse was widely viewed across planet Earth in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The picture itself, however, was shot from the Greek island of Ikaria at Pezi. That area is known as “the planet of the goats” because of the rough terrain and strange looking rocks.

via apod

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Our Strange Sky: Fermi Space Telescope Detects Antimatter in Earth’s Thunderstorms

We won’t even attempt to translate what was read in the BBC article. Here’s a bit on the actual anti-matter find.

But within that gamma-ray data lies an even more interesting result described at the meeting by Dr McEnery and her collaborators Michael Briggs of the University of Alabama Huntsville and Joseph Dwyer of the Florida Institute of Technology.

“We expected to see TGFs; they had been seen by the GBM’s predecessor,” Dr McEnery explained.

“But what absolutely intrigues us is the discovery that TGFs produce not just gamma rays but also produce positrons, the antimatter equivalent to electrons.”

When gamma rays pass near the nuclei of atoms, they can turn their energy into two particles: an electron-positron pair.

Because electrons and positrons are charged, they align along the Earth’s magnetic field lines and can travel vast distances, gathered into tightly focused beams of matter and antimatter heading in opposite directions.

The dance of light and matter continues when positrons encounter electrons again; they recombine and produce a flash of light of a precise and characteristic colour.

It is this colour of light, picked up by the Fermi’s GBM, that is a giveaway that antimatter has been produced.

The magnetic field can transport the particles vast distances before this characteristic flash, and one of the Fermi detections was from a storm that was happening completely beyond the horizon.

The results will be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters

Informative video below.

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Lightning Strike Deconstructed in Slow Motion Video, Labeled Cool

(via geekologie, bbc documentary “The Power of the Planet“)

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Look…Up in the Sky!

Flipped through Astronomy Picture of the Day‘s month of October. Two wicked awesome pictures were found:

Moon Lightning
moonlightning
Moonsets are not often quite as exciting as this one. But amateur astronomer Marc-Andre Besel was impressed by the brilliant lighting displays that joined the first quarter Moon and stars of the constellation Scorpius in western skies. On August 22, 2004, his view looked across the Gulf of Mexico from Anna Maria Island, Florida, USA, a region that would experience even more stormy weather in the coming days

Contrails

contrails_nasa
Artificial clouds made by humans may become so common they change the Earth’s climate. The long thin cloud streaks that dominate the above satellite photograph of Georgia are contrails, cirrus clouds created by airplanes. The exhaust of an airplane engine can create a contrail by saturating the surrounding air with extra moisture.

Click the pics for more info on each.

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