Make your home page

Astronaut shares timelapse of lightning from space

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – British astronaut Tim Peake shared a timelapse video that is out of this world.

The time-lapse shows 10-12 minutes of video condensed into about 30 seconds. During the video dozens of flashes of lightning can bee seen on the ground.

“Amazing how much lightning can strike our planet in a short time,” said Peake, who works for the European Space Agency. He said he was flying from North Africa over Turkey towards Russia, traveling about 3,400 miles, while taking the video.

“In a storm that can produce lightning the upper portion of the cloud is positive and the lower portion is negative, forming an electric field,” said WATE 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Trent Magill. “As the storm becomes more intense and the electric field becomes more intense, the negative ions form a path down to the positively charged ground.”

Near the end of the video there are two “star like” objects that appear on the left hand side of the video, just above the earth’s atmosphere line. The European Space Agency said the objects are actually satellites.

In 2012, the European Space Agency released a very brief video of lightning from 2012 showing a cloud light up using the Nightpod camera stand aboard the International Space Station. The Nightpod camera stand compensates for the motion of the station, so the final images are in focus.

The space agency said astronauts can set up the device to take ultra-sharp images automatically using off-the-shelf cameras. The steady progression of frames seen in the video, with the target staying in center of the frame, would be nearly impossible without camera stand.