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The First-Ever X-Ray Images of a Lightning Strike

No, that’s not one of the ships from Independence Day vaporizing Kiersten Warren, it’s actually one of the first-ever x-ray images of a lightning strike. Joseph Dwyer, a lightning researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, used a custom 1,500 pound camera, created by grad student Meagan Schaal, to capture the image of the strike.

The camera contains an x-ray detector kept in a box reportedly the size and shape of a refrigerator, which is lined with lead to protect the detector from radiation. The camera took ten million images per second in order to effectively capture the bolt of lightning.

Most of the radiation in a bolt of lightning comes from the tip of the bolt, as shown by the above picture.

For those looking at the picture and thinking Florida weather must be insane if lightning bolts streak across pretty blue skies, yeah, Florida weather is a little ridiculous at times, but in this instance, the researchers artificially triggered the lightning by shooting small rockets with wires attached into the thunderstorms in order to direct the lightning into the camera’s view.

(National Geographic via The High Definite via The Daily What)

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