Bad Astronomy

The storm below

I love pictures of the Earth from space. They give us a great perspective on our little planet down here. And sometimes they are simply stunning for their own sake… like this shot of lightning internally illuminating a storm cloud over Brazil:

[Click to 1.21gigawattenate.]

That was taken by astronaut Paolo Nespoli in January 2011 as the Space Station passed overhead. Having lived in several storm-prone areas I’ve seen lightning flash in huge thunderclouds from below, from the side, and even once from above in an airplane (which was awesome and terrifying), but never like this. If it weren’t for the caption on that picture I’d have never guessed what it was. Amazing.

I have to laugh, though: given the language they speak in Brazil, isn’t it funny it looks like a Portuguese Man o’ war?

Image Credit: ESA/NASA

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- Epic lightning storm electrocuting Saturn… for eight months
- Who says clouds screw up observing?
- A shadow across the Shuttle
- Squishy Moonrise seen from space