A team of scientists from the Florida Institute of Technology was able to capture an amazing lightning show using a high-speed camera.

The slow-motion video showed lightning as it struck Earth during a May 20 storm near the Melbourne, Florida campus. The research team recorded the lightning show at 7,000 frames per second (fps).

In the video they released on YouTube on May 24, the team, which was led by Professor Ningyu Liu from the Geospace Physics Laboratory, used a playback speed of 700 frames per second.

Lightning strikes are fascinating to watch, even to the naked eye. But the lightning video allowed people to see the sharp, jagged branches in amazing slow motion.

"When there's a storm just north of a window, we turn on the camera. The thunderstorms are so frequent that we can just turn on the camera and get some interesting videos," said Liu.

The camera they used was being tested in preparation for its ultimate purpose. The team will use it to capture and analyze starters and gigantic jets. These are the ascending electrical discharges produced by thunderstorms.

Capturing the jets using a high-speed camera will help them study their energetics and dynamics. Liu hopes that through video analysis, his team can help improve the available data on lightning physics.

Throughout this summer, the scientists will continue the experiment and increase their frame rate. They hope to capture more cases and create better videos.

The research team included co-professor Dr. Hamid Rassoul and graduate students Alan Bozarth, Julia Tilles and Levi Boggs. The team acquired the high-speed camera using a National Space Foundation grant worth $456,000.

Catching Lightning

In February, British astronaut Tim Peake from the European Space Agency shared a time-lapse video of lightning striking the planet. But the video he shared showed us an amazing lightning show from a different angle — from space.

The February video covered a great deal of the planet starting from North Africa all the way to Russia.

"Amazing how much lightning can strike our planet in a short time," Peake tweeted on Feb. 9.

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