Cloud lit up by flashes of lightning at night

Cloud lit up by flashes of lightning at night

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Credit: FRANK ZULLO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning. Clouds lit up at night as lightning passes from one to another. In the foreground is a silhouetted mountain. Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by the accumulation of electrical charge on clouds. The exact cause of this accumulation is unclear, but it is probably due to the rapid movement of water droplets and fragments of ice within clouds. The charge builds up in the cloud until it creates an ionised path to an object with an opposite charge. The charge then passes rapidly down this pathway, producing blinding white light and temperatures up to 30,000 degrees celsius. Photographed at Monument Peak near Payson in Arizona, USA.

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Keywords: climate, cloud to cloud, cloud to cloud lightning, electrical storm, environment, lightning, meteorology, mountain, night, storm, storms, weather

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