Lightning is one of nature’s most powerful forces; its spectacular displays are beautiful, yet can be deadly — although it rarely strikes people. In this video you see a series of veins descending from the clouds just prior to one large strike hitting the ground.
Professor Ningyu Liu from the Florida Institute of Technology’s Geospace Physics Laboratory, managed to capture the footage while testing out a new high-speed camera at 7,000 frames per second (FPS). Although most of us have seen lightning storms, watching lightning this close-up and at these camera speeds isn’t common.
Liu estimates that this powerful lightning strike was from a distance of around six miles. The camera that captured this lightning flash has only recently been deployed, and it will eventually be centered on capturing and studying the dynamics and energetics of starters, jets, and gigantic jets, which is the upward electrical discharges produced by thunderstorms in the upper atmosphere.
Each time a storm is brewing the researchers turn on the camera hoping to obtain rare footage that will be valuable to their research regarding lightning physics. Liu adds that his experiment will continue throughout the entire summer. The playback speed seen in this video is 700 FPS; however Liu said the team will increase the recording frame rate, hoping to capture more detailed videos.
Even at 700 frames per second it is still 290 times more frames per second than your average film. Check out the footage above, it’s pretty cool to watch.