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Artificially Triggered Lightning And A Healthy Dose Of Curiosity Combine To Create The First Image Of Thunder

May 13, 2015
Thunder and lightning have fascinated mankind for as long as we can remember. We've sought explanations for these phenomenons long before science was around. While we initially looked for explanations through mythology (Zeus, Thor, Indra...nearly all cultures have a powerful thunder deity), we now know that lightning is caused by a spark produced by positive and negatively charged particles in a cloud, similar to a spark of static electricity but on a much larger scale.

Recently, scientists were able to delve deeper into the mysteries of lightning and thunder by capturing a precise acoustic map of thunder resulting from an artificial lightning strike. On a stormy day, scientists shot a rocket with a long copper wire attached into a lightning-prone cloud. The lightning followed the wire to the ground where the team had set up a network of microphones. The green flashes are a result of the intense heat transmitted through the copper wire.
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