World's Fair

I just saw this video at McSweeney’s (which in turn got it from Today’s Big Thing). It’s quite the stunner, watching the lightning seek out ground and then BOOM.


  1. #1 NPD
    August 19, 2008


  2. #2 Hank Roberts
    September 2, 2008

    Is there a science journal article to go with that video? The bright dots at the ends of the original branching structure, before one of the ionization channels connects to the ground and the upward stroke takes over, make me wonder if there’s something there to give a clue to ‘ball lightning’ — it looks like the bright spots in the video are still ‘connected’ by trails of ionization up to the charge concentration in the cloud. But if one of those broke off in an insulated environment, could it persist for a while?

    I don’t recall ever seeing anything about that kind of multiply branching structure for the first cloud-to-ground discharge, before this video.

    Anyone know how it was made and with what equipment?