Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lightning from space

Image shot from the ISS, looking down at a lightning storm over west Africa 220 miles below. Credit: ESA/NASA
Amaze your friends with this spooky fact: Lightning strikes the ground somewhere on Earth 100 times each second.  For the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) this creates a constant light show. 

Moreover, there are 5 to 10 times as many cloud-to-cloud flashes as there are ground strikes. That adds up to about 40 to 80 million lightning flashes every day.

Here's the NASA page on the ISS. It includes an image gallery.

The ISS orbits Earth 16 times a day, and if lit up by the Sun when it passes your bit of sky, is clearly visible with the naked eye.  Consult the Heavens Above website for its current path and position.