Some madly brilliant scientists recently used a gigantic 1,500-pound camera to capture x-ray images of lightning—which they triggered artificially using wires and rockets. Crazy? Maybe, but it’s definitely a beautiful experiment.
As a result of having a camera which could capture a lightning bolt travelling at one-sixth the speed of light, scientists have been able to discover that there’s “a bright ball of x-rays at the head of the bolt, with almost no lingering radiation along the bolt’s trail.” This means that we now better understand how where the radiation carried by lightning bolts comes from—and that we’ll soon have some more crazy-looking images to use as desktop wallpapers. [National Geographic]