Lightning

Lightning

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Credit: MARK NEWMAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning. Cloud to cloud lightning bolt silhouettes a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). Lightning occurs when a large electrical charge builds up in a cloud. This is probably due to the rapid movement of water droplets and ice particles within the cloud. Large thunderclouds generally have very turbulent interiors. The charge induces an opposite charge in a nearby cloud, and a few "leader electrons" travel from one to the other. When one makes contact, there is a huge backflow of energy along the path of the electron. This produces a bright flash of light, and temperatures of up to 30,000 degrees Celsius. Photographed in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

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Keywords: climate, cloud to cloud, cloud to cloud lightning, electrical storm, giraffe, kenya, lightning, lightning strike, masai mara, meteorology, night, silhouette, storm, storms, weather

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