Lightning Research is Hot

Florida Tech video of lighting filmed at 7,000 frames per second goes viral

Scientists at Florida Institute of Technology used a high-speed camera to capture an amazing lighting flash from a May 20 storm near the university’s Melbourne campus. The video above has circulated around the world in major media outlets such as here, here, and here. The flash was recorded at 7,000 frames per second (FPS). The playback speed seen in the video is 700 FPS.

The video was made possible with new high-speed camera purchased with a $456,000 grant from National Science Foundation obtained by Dr. Ningyu Liu, the principal investigator for the project, and Dr. Hamid Rassoul, dean of Florida Tech’s College of Science and the project’s co-principal investigator. 

The camera’s ultimate use will be centered on capturing and studying the dynamics and energetics of the upward electrical discharges from known as starters, jets and gigantic jets.

Findings from the research of what’s known as transient luminous events (TLEs) may provide a clearer understanding of their formations, dynamics and evolutions. The camera, a Phantom v1210 from Vision Research, is the first piece of a complete spectrometer planned to carry out research of rare lightning on the Florida Tech campus. The video above is a result of Liu and Rassoul testing the camera before they add additional components such as an intensifier and prism systems later this summer to collect additional data.

We can’t wait to see the next batch of videos.

Lightning captured in slow motion


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