Lightning is one of the most impressive and terrifying natural phenomena. However, there’s a lot we still don’t know about them. Recently, a group of researchers in Brazil managed to capture an impressive image of lightning, revealing surprising details about how lightning rods work and how we can protect ourselves from them.
In this article, we’ll explore the research behind this stunning image and find out how we can stay safe during a thunderstorm.
The research behind the image
Researcher Marcelo Saba, from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, and doctoral student Diego Rhamon managed to capture a rare image of lightning in São Paulo, Brazil. The image shows how several arresters try to connect to the lightning downstream.
You can see the image at this link.
The image was captured thanks to high-speed cameras installed on top of buildings in São Paulo. The image shows details of the «crown brush» (the part of the electric discharge that looks like a brush), the «streamers» (the branches of electric discharge) and the «space stems» (plasma formations released from the discharge).
The image was published on the cover of the magazine Geophysical Research Letters, along with an article detailing the research behind the image. The investigation used advanced equipment, including a camera that captures 40,000 frames per second, to assess the impact of lightning and how we can protect ourselves from it.
How lightning rods work
The image of the Brazilian researchers also shows us how lightning rods work. As lightning approaches the ground, lightning rods and other tall objects on nearby buildings produce positive upward discharges to connect with the downward lightning discharge. The image shows how several lightning rods try to connect to the lightning downstroke to prevent damage to buildings and protect the people inside them.
It is important to note that lightning rods do not attract lightning. Instead, they provide a safe and easy path for the electrical discharge to be discharged to the ground without causing harm to nearby people or buildings.
How to protect ourselves from lightning
Although lightning rods protect us from lightning, there are still steps we need to take to stay safe during a lightning storm. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Stay indoors: If possible, stay inside a building during a thunderstorm. Avoid going outdoors and avoid contact with metal objects.
- Avoid Water: Do not swim, bathe, or shower during a thunderstorm. Water is a conductor of electricity and can increase the risk of being struck by lightning.
- Stay away from metal objects: Avoid metal objects such as bicycles, umbrellas, tools, etc. during a thunderstorm. Metal objects are good conductors of electricity and can attract lightning.
- Take shelter in a car: If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm and there are no buildings nearby, take shelter in a car. Cars provide lightning protection due to their metallic structure.
- Don’t stay under a tree: Don’t take shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm. Lightning can strike trees and travel through the ground, increasing the risk of being struck.
It is clear that the research behind the image captured by the Brazilian researchers has given us a unique insight into how lightning rods work and how we can protect ourselves from lightning during a thunderstorm. By taking safety measures, we can stay safe and appreciate the beauty of lightning without taking unnecessary risks.