Lightning time-lapse from space seethes with electricity

Feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you watch a dramatic video of lightning strikes seen from the International Space Station.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

We all know what lightning looks like from the ground. It's a splashy flash of jagged light, usually followed by a big boom. That can be startling from the vantage point of the Earth's surface, but lightning is even more magical when seen from space.

European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake tweeted a time-lapse video from the International Space Station showing lightning raging through the clouds below. It starts with a calm view of the planet's curved horizon. Then the fireworks begin.

"Amazing how much lightning can strike our planet in a short time," Peake tweeted Tuesday. The time-lapse covers a span of Earth starting from North Africa and heading over Turkey on the way to Russia.

NASA sees dramatic Earth weather from space (pictures)

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Last year, the ESA released a very brief video of lightning from 2012 showing a cloud lighting up. The space agency has one-upped itself with Peake's version, which lasts 34 seconds and flies over a healthy chunk of the globe.

The denizens of the ISS have quite a view of the sometimes chaotic weather patterns happening down below. Astronauts have shared a fascinating array of images ranging from aurora activity to massive blizzards.

Peake has a busy schedule during his time on the space station. Besides an active Twitter account, he is scheduled to run the London Marathon in April (while strapped to a treadmill), recently demonstrated how to make coffee in space and went on a selfie-filled historic spacewalk while wearing the British flag on his suit. The lightning video just adds some more flash to an already dazzling stay on the ISS.