Nocturnal lightning show over Jacksonville seen from space

Nocturnal lightning show over Jacksonville seen from space

A phenomenal storm complex lit up the sky with hundreds of lightning strikes as it moved south along Highway 301 Tuesday night. The vivid display was captured by several SnapJax photographers who trained their cameras on the arching electrical streaks cutting the darkness.

Abundant lightning resulted from colder temperatures aloft caused by a passing pocket of energy called a shortwave. This increased the electrical charge inside the thunderstorm between ice crystals and water droplets.

SnapJax of lightning over western Duval county Tuesday night.

The lightning was captured from space by the International Space Station (ISS) along with a fixed satellite hovering over the equator.

The Lightning Imaging Sensor on the International Space tracked the lightning flashes in the Atlantic after pushing away from Jacksonville.  It orbits the planet at an altitude of 250 miles, much closer to the earth compared to the fixed GOES-16 satellite positioned over the equator 22 thousand miles high resulting in a resolution twice as sharp as the higher satellite.

The animation above shows 2 minutes of ISS Flash Events plotted (in yellow) on top of GOES Satellite flashes.

The GOES geostationary satellite resolution is roughly 8 km, in contrast to the ISS’s sensor resolution that’s approximately 4 km.

The animation below shows the same ISS flashes plotted in black, on top of GOES-16 cloud imagery.


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