Grassland birds are silhouetted against a stormy sky over the Platte River in Kearney, Nebraska.
Most powerful electrical storm on record detected
The total charge in a single thundercloud could have powered New York City for half an hour.
As clouds gathered over the city of Philadelphia in 1752, Benjamin Franklin stood outside with a simple kite-borne experiment and proved the electric nature of lightning. Now, more than 250 years later, scientists have uncovered a shocking secret about the awesome power of thunderstorms.
With the help of charged particles originating from space, a team in India has for the first time accurately measured the electric properties of a giant thundercloud, determining that the behemoth contained 10 times more energy than any previously investigated storm. Along with discovering a novel connection between cosmic and terrestrial events, the findings might help solve a 25-year-old mystery in high-energy physics.
Since 2001, physicists in Udagamandalam, India, have been using the Gamma Ray