Moon Rays - Lightning - Stars

Rafael Schmall caught the scene at Fejer, Adony, Hungary. Scroll the top image.

Contrast the colours of the lightning lit sky and that suffused by the rays of the moon. A lightning stroke results in a tube of plasma, ionised gas, only a few cm diameter but miles long. Its temperature is 20-30,000 Celsius. It emits a continuous spectrum with superimposed bright lines of ionised nitrogen and of hydrogen atoms. Moonlight, yellow - but only by comparison, has approximately the temperature of the sun's surface - a mere 5-6000 Celsius.

Images ©Rafael Schmall, shown with permission
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