Photographer captures giant jets of lightning shooting above a tropical storm
A photographer documenting a tropical storm in Puerto Rico captured three giant jets of lightning shooting above the clouds.
Upward-moving lightning bolts are extremely rare and have only recently been confirmed by science. Giant jets occur only 1,000 times a year, and are 50 times more powerful than a regular lightning bolt.
Franky Lucena used two cameras to capture this phenomenon, a black-and-white Watec 902HU camera designed for light sensitivity. And the Sony A7s mirrorless astrophotography camera also works well in low-light situations.
Tropical Storm Lucena was capturing on August 20 developed into Hurricane Franklin. The giant planes his cameras saw were red because they made contact with the Earth’s ionosphere, which lies 50 to 400 miles above sea level. Scientists believe that most giant jets occur during thunderstorms over the open ocean.
Lucena, who regularly photographs rare weather phenomena, was looking southeast of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico when the giant jets struck early in the morning around 03:00.
According to the daily MailThis is not the first time Lucena has documented giant aircraft. In 2017, Lucena observed giant jets recorded by the Gemini Cloudcam installed at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.
Lucina said Space climate in a 2017 interview that the giant jets are related to lightning sprites but are “more powerful and easier to see with the naked eye.”
Giant plane puzzle
Scientists have yet to discover why giant jets shoot upward instead of down like typical lightning bolts. Live sciences Reports suggest this may be due to some kind of blockage preventing lightning from exiting the bottom of the cloud, but researchers are still unsure.
In 2017, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) was able to capture footage of this phenomenon that allowed scientists to get a new perspective on the electrical activity that occurs above tropical thunderstorms.
More of Lucena’s work can be found on his site XYouTube, Instagram, and Flickr.
Image credits: All photos by Frankie Lucena.