Lightning. Time-exposure image of a bolt of lightning striking above a city landscape at night. Lightning occurs when a powerful electrical charge builds up in a cloud. This is due to the rapid movement of water droplets and ice particles within the cloud. Large thunderclouds have very turbulent interiors. The charge induces an opposite charge on the ground, and a few 'leader electrons' travel to the ground. When one makes contact, there is a huge backflow of energy up the path of the electron. This produces a bright flash of light and temperatures of up to 30,000 degrees Celsius. Photographed over the city of Tucson in Arizona, USA.

Credit: Kent Wood / Science Source

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