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Lightning at Night – Young Scientists Journal
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Lightning at Night

· Other, Photo Competition
Author

Theme: Energy
Award: Highly Commended
Photographer: Stephen Smith

This photo was taken along with several others during a lightning storm that happened almost two years ago, I went outside with my camera, mounted it on a tripod, and set it to take a photo every second or so. Lightning is caused by the buildup of positive and negative charges, the positive and negative charge grows until it is strong enough to overcome air resistance, race toward each other, and connect. When the charges connect, they discharge the collected electricity as lightning. Lightning happens mostly in the clouds, only one-third of all lightning strikes happen on the ground. When the charge is discharged, it is followed by a flash containing millions of volts of electricity. The surrounding air is heated to around 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit, five times hotter than the surface temperature of the sun. The rapidly expanding heated air also produces tremendous shock waves, which become audible as the sound of thunder. There was no editing done to this photo, I may have cropped it, but I don’t believe I did.

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