Lightning in very slow motion

Prof. Ningyu Liu, from NASA’S Geospace Physics Laboratory in Florida, recently filmed lightning using a special camera running at 7,000 frames per second.  Played back at 700 frames per second, the results are mesmerizing. Watch in full-screen mode for best results.

I’d love to see different types of lightning filmed like that – not just forked or chain lightning, but sheet and ball as well.  It gives a whole new perspective on the subject.



  1. AAAHHHHAAAAA!!!! I had always heard that lightening came out of the ground and met the lightening coming from the cloud. Tain't so according to that video.

  2. Is it just me or is that actually playing at about 2-3fps w/frameskip? My browser makes YT stutter sometimes so trying to figure out if it's that or if the video has completely missed the point of slow-motion capture.

  3. Fascinating watching the leader come down from the clouds so slowly then the main bolt returning in less that a frame.

  4. Some years ago I stumbled onto the Discovery channel in a hotel while traveling and saw part of "Raging Planet: Lightning" — I called home to have my wife DVR the whole episode, and the whole thing is amazing, including the first imaging of so-called "sprites" that form over thunderheads (which have now been imaged from the space station).

    You can see the Discovery episode here.

    And sprites from ISS.

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