Nasa has published an awe-inspiring image of a fork of lightning crashing into the summit of a volcano.
The picture was captured in Antigua as a storm raged above the Volcan de Agua volcano. Photographer Sergo Montufar is responsible for the incredible picture, which has been featured as the space agency’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Nasa explained: ‘Details of what causes lightning are still being researched, but it is known that inside some clouds, internal updrafts cause collisions between ice and snow that slowly separate charges between cloud tops and bottoms.
‘The rapid electrical discharges that are lightning soon result.’
At any rate, it’s a stunning achievement to capture an event that happens in the blink of an eye.
Lightning usually takes a jagged course, rapidly heating a thin column of air to about three times the surface temperature of the Sun.
The resulting shock wave starts supersonically and decays into the loud sound known as thunder.
On average, around the world, about 6,000 lightning bolts occur between clouds and the Earth every minute.
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