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Rocket-Triggered Lightning

AGU - 2013-03-15

To induce a lightning strike, researchers fire a rocket dragging a wire into an approaching electrical storm. If they are lucky, current will flow from the cloud, through the wire, to the ground, and vaporize the wire. If scientists witness a second lightning strike, it typically follows the path of the vaporized wire...but not always. On this particular dark and stormy afternoon in Florida, most of the wire exploded. But a second bolt, which burst from where the top of the wire had been, took a circuitous route, fracturing into multiple branches as it approached ground, said William Gamerota, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida and lead author of the paper about this uncommon event. He and his colleagues report on the anomalous lightning strike in an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Read the full story on the AGU GeoSpace blog: http://wp.me/p1t6VA-Ef. 

Video Courtesy of: 
Lightning Research Laboratory, 
University of Florida. 

Music by: Vaisnava "Drop back": http://audiojungle.net/

joeplanes7378 - 2015-04-02

It's cool how the copper wire turns green when it vaporizes!

J Anything - 2019-01-02

They use copper in fireworks to make green sparks.

Erik Adalbert van Nagel - 2019-06-04

@J Anything nope, they use Barium.

J Anything - 2019-06-05

@Erik Adalbert van Nagel Actually both. Copper oxide produces a green flame.

Erik Adalbert van Nagel - 2019-06-05

@J Anything yeah I know , but Barium is brighter, lighter and so it's better than copper. so why do they (firework makers) want to use copper if you have a better alternative.

I also used Barium instead of copper to make green flame in chemistry class (I tried both).

rex1030 - 2019-11-09

Copper is green when it burns. All the green you see in fireworks is copper.

Richard Walsh - 2015-10-28

I swear someone was doing this to get a strike into his sand pile and create glass art he sold. Can't find it though....

TheBackyardScientist - 2015-11-06

+Richard Walsh I remember also

Some High Voltage Channel - 2019-09-12

@TheBackyardScientist what? your here?

Štěpán Řebík - 2020-01-09

@Some High Voltage Channel he was, 4 years ago

ZeeC - 2018-10-19

hey, hold this wire.. ill show you magic

Nathan Straccia - 2019-01-03

Ok take this key 🔑 and hold this wire

DoubtingTamus - 2020-01-25

imagine the tazer

izzzzzz6 - 2017-11-13

Why didn't anyone tell me about this university when i was 20?

Julas xZiom - 2014-08-16

That's one of the most amazing lightning vid ever i've seen 

watertakken - 2014-11-20

That is sweet.

Hartrusion - 2013-06-24

wow, awesome.

Andy Bonnici - 2013-12-23

Who said science is boring? Man! I would love to see it for real !!

GJ3 - 2017-08-28

Andy Bonnici then do it yourself, use balloon and safety first



and run like f*** before you let that balloon go. . .

Django Apple - 2019-03-06

You can see it for real. I did that shit back in the nineties by accident with bottle rockets. Don't need a wire. Just bottle rockets and a thunderstorm. Oh, and run like hell when you light the fuse.

fuomag10 - 2019-05-22

@Django Apple Or just go inside a faraday cage

Roseare Red - 2020-02-18

Remember you need a remote control system

plantguyrama11 - 2014-06-25


AVKtt - 2013-07-12

ure welcome 2003 year lightnin ece ufl edu

Acutus Lux - 2020-03-16

cool, now how do we capture the energy and store it?

Nathan Straccia - 2019-01-03

1.21 jigawatts

UCS Vapor - 2019-01-07


Un buckle - - 2018-07-10

Free abundant energy.

Cory Miller - 2019-10-03

What size conductor could carry that? Run it down I35 through Texas with missle arrays at intervals at lighting contact pads. Call it wild fire prevention then make $ of the power. LOL

Nick Muffin - 2019-06-27

What was length of wire used here?

lostinthemoonlight - 2018-10-12

Did you see these guys? They use high voltage to "lure" the lightning to increase their chances of a strike. https://youtu.be/1naaZvXTqv4

Choice777 - 2019-12-10

At what altitude does it connect ?

Relaxer - 2014-11-22


Brandon Smith - 2018-08-20

Thanks Reddit

john smith - 2015-08-11

I want to know how some clouds have a net positive charge and others have a net negative charge. Do they all start out positively charged?

The Lightning Hunter - 2017-08-09

john smith Most thunderstorms have a tripole structure where there is a main positive charge above a main negative charge, and a lower positive charge at the bottom.

Aarav Marjss - 2019-10-27

Can we store this electricity using capacitors

rex1030 - 2019-11-09

this has been asked by scientists for a long time. It is a very challenging and expensive problem that no one as succeeded at. it usually just blows stuff up.

malakai252001 - 2018-08-26

Did the lightning in the anomalous strike, contact the ground or was the lightning from the ground up.

bamaslamma1003 - 2019-04-02

Both. Lightning begins as a negatively charged “stepped leader” descends from the cloud. As the leader approaches the ground, several “positive streamers” leap up from the ground. The streamer that successfully connects to the stepped leader triggers the upward “return stroke.” The return stroke is the highly luminous part of the strike that we see.

Chris Blackwood - 2017-03-19

With the anomalous strike, how far away from the point of launch (along the ground) did the second strike hit? And how close can an observer safely stand from the point of launch without significant risk?

GJ3 - 2017-08-28

Chris Blackwood i think you can make metal cage and strike on yourself, i am not kidding

allentowntony - 2019-04-28

New weapon defense

Jude Crooker - 2019-09-07

allentowntony why is a weapon the first thing you think of when you see this

Cory Miller - 2019-10-03

A yard mini missile silo. And defense doesn't necessarily mean "weapon". This could divert strikes on your home at an anticipated threshold. But launching one off the cab of someone's vehicle sounds pretty good too.

Lord Random - 2019-12-11

@Jude Crooker Muricans

Suren Bono - 2019-07-11

....so what was the proper wire gauge for lightning conduction ....that can withstand at least 100 strikes..from this experiment..?


THE LIGHTNING IS ANGRY. . . IT GOT TRIGGERED BY A ROCKET!!!!. . . The lightning is a feminist

Some High Voltage Channel - 2020-02-22

Bucket list

GJ3 - 2017-08-28

I wanna also do, but i will use helium balloon and copper wire, with sefty

ungratefulmetalpansy - 2015-07-09

Do you use parachute or streamer recovery for the rocket?

24hourspacebar - 2016-03-10

+ungratefulmetalpansy Do you use a UAV or overflight to recover a nuclear bomb casing?


ungratefulmetalpansy - 2016-03-11

As the kids say, that's the joke, man.

Scalywag - 2016-05-25


Val Colmer - 2018-09-21

@24hourspacebar Nukes are a hoax.

Nomadic Tents Film Project - 2019-02-04

@Val Colmer Totally. The internet isn't real either.

prasanth babu - 2014-05-30

can anyone say how get more info on the lightning triggering rocket if possible how to join the lightning triggering community 

Roseare Red - 2020-02-18

And this is probably against the law

Aleziss - 2018-07-04

totally ruined by back ground music... why... just why...

Michael Talavera - 2016-06-24

Any one want to no how to do this is so say yes in the comments :}.

PersonalPerson - 2017-01-16

They described how to do it, are you blind

GJ3 - 2017-08-28

Anonymous i can use helium balloon and a copper wire