Lightning is such a common phenomenon that people often overlook
just how powerful it is (provided it
doesn’t hit you, obviously). But over the past decade, research
has gradually revealed just how extreme lightning is. This everyday
phenomenon is powerful enough to
produce antimatter and
transform atoms, leaving a radioactive cloud in its wake.
Understanding how all of this happens, however, is a real
challenge, given just how quickly multiple high-energy events take
Now, researchers have used an instrument attached to the
International Space Station to track the physical processes that
are triggered by a lightning strike. The work tracks how energy
spreads out from the site of a lightning bolt into the ionosphere
via an electromagnetic pulse.
Lightning from space
The work relies on a piece of hardware called the
Atmosphere–Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), an ESA-built
instrument attached to its lab module on the International Space
Station. It’s an impressive piece of hardware, tying together two
X-ray/gamma-ray detectors, three UV detectors, two
optical-wavelength light meters, and two high-speed cameras.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
Data from the International Space Station confirms: Lightning is insane