Lightning is one of nature's most spectacular phenomenon. I seek to document lightning's beauty, power, and fierocity using an array of optical and electromagnetic sensors in hopes of better understanding its behavior. Since 2007, I have used high-speed cameras capable of recording lightning at up to 100,000 images per second. These cameras enable us to see lightning like never before as we can clearly watch lightning propagate downward from the clouds or upward from tall objects.
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A vehicle is struck by lightning while driving 75 mph on I-90 east of Rapid City, SD on 9/11/09. The 20 second exposure from a digital still camera shows the moment when the bright return stroke illuminated the vehicle and water spray kicked up from the rain-soaked road. The bright lines from the wheel wells shows that the current from the lightning strike arced to ground from the vehicle rims.
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