Photographer captures incredible lightning storm blasting top of volcano

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Lightning strikes a volcano in Guatemala (NASA)

A photographer in Guatemala captured an incredible shot of lightning ripping across the sky above a volcano in a majestic cataclysm.

The shot, showcased by NASA on its Astronomy Pictures of the Day website, shows lightning striking two communications antenna near the top of the crater.

On average, 6,000 lightning bolts strike Earth every minute, NASA says.

A lightning flash is a giant electrical discharge.

But the negative charges inside a thundercloud are not discharged all in a single flash.

NASA explains: ‘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.

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‘The rapid electrical discharges that are lightning soon result. 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.’

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