Ultra-high-speed footage of a classic negative cloud-to-ground lightning strike, with seven return strokes. The first stroke is preceded by stepped leaders, short branching channels of charge that ionise the air, opening a channel through which the main discharges can occur. The repeated use of the same channel is what gives lightning its flickering look to the naked eye. Filmed at 7200 frames per second in South Dakota, USA, in summer.
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