Moonlight, Stars, Lightning

Zoltan Hollendus (site) captured this scene at Szekszárd, 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..