Lightning comes and goes in a flash. With the naked eye, you can vaguely trace its path, following the brief moments as it branches through the sky. To really get into the details of a lightning strike, you need an assist from an advanced camera capable of recording at 7,000 frames per second. Professor Ningyu Liu at the Florida Institute of Technology has one and used it to document a lightning storm.
The high-speed camera allows for some super slow-motion footage, letting us see every jagged branch in a strike. The Florida Institute of Technology says the footage is just a test run for the camera's eventual use for "capturing and studying the dynamics and energetics of the upward electrical discharges from thunderstorms known as starters, jets and gigantic jets."
We've witnessed lightning happening in unexpected ways recently. A time-lapse video from the International Space Station earlier this year let us witness lightning strikes from an astronaut's viewpoint. In January, a surveillance camera caught sight of lightning shredding a tree. Liu's slo-mo footage is plenty mesmerizing and a fascinating way to see the details that are gone in a flash in real-time.