Thursday, January 24, 2008

Arcs and Sparks

Well, Matt may have taken pictures of lightning striking the Sears Tower, but I took one of a "bolt from the blue" destroying my trailer in my back yard, right next to my palm tree.  Yeah, that's a lie.  But, Kane Quinnell of Australia did take that picture, and almost die.  That picture is of so called "positive lightning," which is often 10 times more powerful than regular lightning.  One interesting thing is that this lightning bolt, in a sense, goes from the ground up.  That is, a "leader stroke" (or several) travels from the ground up to the top of a cloud.  Then, the huge electrical discharge follows the leader stroke of least resistance back to the ground.  If you look a the above picture, you'll see a leader stroke that comes right toward the base of the palm tree.  It's faint and out of focus, but it's there.  If the main stroke had followed that leader, our intrepid hero would be a dead intrepid hero. 

Anyway, you should really check out this website, Arcs and Sparks, that has photos and videos of amazing electromagnetic phenomena.  Among other things, there are transformers exploding and "captured" lightning:

That's a photograph of a static object.  Cool.

- Seth 

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