Moonlight, Stars, Lightning

Zoltan Hollendus (site) captured this scene at Szeksz�rd, Hungary.

At upper right the Moon, hidden by the clouds, casts rays across the sky.

Below, lightning discharges light the air with the glow of nitrogen ions and hydrogen atoms generated for a brief instant by temperatures 3-5X those of the sun's surface.

©Zoltan Hollendus, shown with permission.


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A lightning spectrum obtained by Denis Joye showing emissions from excited nitrogen ions and hydrogen atoms. A lightning stroke is several km long but only a few centimetres in diameter. Within there are temperatures of 20-30,000 Celsius - Enough to dissociate air and water molecules and ionise to a plasma..