Friday, July 4, 2008

Lightning and The Phoenix Lander


We had an awesome display of lightning the other night and was able to capture some cool shots.


Some interesting facts on lightning, did you know for example that lightning can increase the temperature of the air around it by up to 50,000 degrees F, and that it contains up to 100 million volts? Also the leading cause of injuries in the home during a lightning storm is talking on the phone, wow, I never knew there was such a category, what is going on in people's minds? "Wow, cool thunderstorm, think I'll make a phone call and then take a bath."





Having said that I thought I would post one of my wide angle shots of lightning, what was I thinking? Most lightning injuries occur in the spring/summer when a lot of people are out doing things like, swimming, golfing, biking, taking pictures of lightning in a wide open space under power lines, ect.

If you hear thunder you are within 10 miles of lightning and you could be struck, seek shelter! You should avoid situations in which you may be vulnerable, like being under power lines, at the end of my photo shoot there was rain, lots of thunder, lightning, hey I don't have just one guardian angel, I got a group of them tag teaming.



A quick update on the Phoenix Lander, apparently the lander had some ice water rich soil in it's latest scoop, it was to be delivered to it's optical microscope Thursday and if there was any left over the rest was to be delivered to one of it's ovens for analysis to be done next week.

Scientists and engineers are thinking this could be the last chance to use the lander's ovens due to the fact one has developed an intermittent short. Whenever they deliver a sample to the ovens they have to shake the ovens to get the sample into them, no shake no sample to analyse, if oven number 4 shorts out again and causes the other ovens to stop shaking before they get a sample into the target oven number 0, they are not going to be able to perform any tests on the soil, if they get a sample into the oven and then oven 4 shorts out, they can still do tests, apparently the short doesn't effect the oven's abilities to analyze the sample once it's made it into the oven.

I'll leave you now with some shots of lightning I took a few days ago.

44 comments:

Two Feathers said...

Ha! I'm the first to comment!! Yowsers, how did that happen?? So, the stuff about lightning is interesting. Recently here in the KC area, a couple of kids went swimming as a severe thunderstorm was getting ready to move through the area. One of them was killed when lightning struck. Really makes you think, doesn't it?

I think we have a tendency to be all isolated and feeling "safe" in our homes, watching nature unfold through the filters of television, internet, and movies. We forget that nature can be raw and terrible and dangerous.

Last winter, a kid ran his car off the road in below zero weather and thought he would walk somewhere to get help. He wasn't even wearing a coat! It didn't take long for him to freeze to death.

Ok... enough of the gloom and doom stuff.

I loved the pleiedes (Pliedes?? Peliedies?? how the heck do you spell it??) pictures. The moon was just awesome that night. Wow.
Great post! Love your videos by the way!

The Supplicant said...

What....you never had a bath while talking on the phone during a lightning storm? Boys oh boys, I tell you...there's nothing like it...you know, living dangerously....LOL
Bob, beautiful lightning shots. I bet you were getting nervous out there LOL...well I would of been a tad nervous especially near a power line... how did you explain your shorts to your wife ... you know after you crapped in them from fear while attempting to get the perfect shot? LOL
Bob...another excellent post my friend. Great reading. HEck I didn't even know about the baking problems Phoenix was having. So I guess the oven baked brownies are a no go eh?

Take care.
~JD

Swubird said...

Bob:

Great shot of the lightning. Someday I'll have to write a post about the time that lightning struck right between my wife and I. We shouldn't have been out in the open like we were, but it never occurred to us that we would actually get hit.

You're killing me Bob over this whole Phoenix and Martian water thing. We are an inch away from the most important discovery of all time, and you're telling me that a short circuit in a subminiature circuit board is going to prevent it? Murphy is definitely on board the Phoenix!

My fingers remain crossed.

Happy stargazing my friend.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Ohh...scary lightning photos. I always knew you were suppose to stay off the phone, out of water, away from open spaces & trees ... and unplug electrical stuff whenever lightning strikes. It's electrical ya know! lol

My dad was a ham radio operator, so we had a huge lightening rod in our back yard ... lovely.

Plus, my nephew was almost hit by lighting while sitting in his bedroom. The lightning came right in the window ... fried everything that was plugged in to an electrical socket in the house. Scared my nephew half to death!

Having said that ... amazing shots you got there! Stay inside & safe next time tho!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Shirley, It's spelled, Pleiades,lol, don't worry it took me a while to memorize it, and spell checkers don't know how to spell it either,lol. You are right Mother Nature is very powerful and unforgiving, we a lot of the times forget this fact.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, JD, hey I didn't realize what I was doing till near the end of the shoot I looked up overhead at some lightning and the power lines came into focus, like I said what was I thinking.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks swubird, wow you should write about the lightning. The phoenix is killing me too, lets hope that the sample is analyzed before it vapourizes. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol drowsey, you think it would be obvious wouldn't you, the lightning pole is a good thing attracs the lightning to something else besides you, mind you don't ever stand around one, that would be bad. That nephew story is freaky, note to self, keep windows closed,lol.\m/\m/

Susanne49 said...

We have sometimes such strong lightnings, I'm still scared....really, I am! :-)

Nice photos and interesting post, Bob!

Sherer said...

Great video at the end Bob. It would have been even greater with some music behind it. I imagined perhaps some rachmonioff or even some metalica! Great stuff - be back soon

Andrew said...

I never gave power lines a thought when capturing lightning images! :( .Oh well,I guess the risk is worth it....well,sort of?!.Taking pix of lightning is fun isn't it?! :).I always have a good time despite the risk!.Funny part about is,most all of my lightning shots are taken near or under power lines.In fact,the last image that I posted was taken using the pole that the lines are connected to as a brace to hold my camera steady!.Once again....I never gave it a thought.Perhaps it is time to find a safer place to capture the images!!.
That is a excellent shot!.I didn't realize the area that you live in was so flat!?. You are very lucky my friend!!.
Andrew

Peter said...

Hi! With all that power, I wonder why planes aren't affected by strikes. You would think they'd be knocked out of the sky. Anyway, just a thought!

Now for these samples taken from Mars and the like. Have they ever given thought to bringing them back?

Take Care,
Peter

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Susanne, glad you like them. Lightning is cool from the comfort and safety of our homes, outside a different matter altogether, surprised myself after the fact that I was doing what I was doing, where I was doing it.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Jesse, I would love to learn how to add music to some of my videos, you are right some cool music would have added to the presentation.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Andrew, your image on your blog gave me the idea in the first place.

Lol, funny how we do almost anything to get the pic, and then look back and think, wow I can't believe I did that.

Flat is very good for Sun and Moon rises/sets for sure, although it would be nice to have some hills, mountains or lakes for a change of scenery. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Peter it is amazing that planes can take hits and be okay, I guess it is the way they are wired, I know people that were in a plane that was hit, the lights flickered and then everything was normal.

As far as returning Martin soil back to Earth, they plan on doing a sample return no later then 2020, hopefully within the next decade.\m/\m/

Genie said...

I LOVE shooting lightning and I know it's dangerous but I'm like a moth to a flame. Telephone poles around my home, however, really chap my hide. Nearly every lightning photo I take from my yard has telephone poles/lines in it. ACK!

Thanks for putting the "subscribe by email" widget on your blog. Yea! Now I can keep up!

Hmm, didn't know the phone was a danger during storms but all my phones are cordless and from what I've read, those are quite safe during a storm.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol genie like a moth to a flame, this was my first time taking lightning images, was fun until I noticed the overhead power lines, then it got exciting.

Battery phones are okay as long as there is no metal on them, land lines have a direct path to ground, you.

Thanks for the idea about email subscription, cool idea and easy to subscribe. \m/\m/

Priyank said...

gaaa... taking pictures standing under power lines... I should be careful too. The photos are stunning, I wonder how you got the 'right moment'? Did you take like a hundred pics?

Marvin the Martian said...

I love lightning! And thunder. You are brave to stand out there and take pictures. ;-) Beautiful!

Interesting about the short in #4 oven. All those millions of dollars and they can't make a reliable Easy-Bake oven. Argh.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks priyank, I took 251 images, just kept a clicking, it's the only way to go with stuff like this, mind you I had a great thunderstorm to work with as well.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks marvin, frustrating to say the least about the oven, your people didn't have anything to do with it did they? lol

Roger said...

Very electrifying captures Bob!

rv dealers said...

I guess in us 30 people get killed every year . However where i live in last 30 years no one got killed.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Roger.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks rv dealers for dropping by with the info.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Thank you for risking your life, Bob, so we could be entertained by beautiful lightning!

More doom and gloom: My father-in-law was 'struck' via his golf partner, lightning went through his partner (killed him) and hit Don's dad, who recovered just fine. A third man on the golf course came running to help and died of a heart attack! Crazy stuff.

Bob Johnson said...

Ruth, wow that is crazy!!!, lightning is a tricky thing, it could just happen with out any warning, could move in from afar and be on top of you like that. your Father-In-Law is really lucky.

Will said...

I am guilty of enjoying a good thunderstorm. I do try to pick my spots with safety in mind, but there is nothing better than sitting at the edge of a wide open field watching the display and listening to the thunder. Oh well. Do as I say, not as I do, right?

The photo on your post looks like dry lightning. Was it raining. We can have trouble here in Oregon in the summer when we get lightning without accompanying rain.

A couple of times when camping I have been caught right under the storm, under tall trees with bolts exploding all around. You quickly realize you have no control over the situation and just hope for the best. Once after such a storm there were spot fires all around the hills where we were. Fortunately there was enough rain with the storm that the fires did not spread.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Bob, I'm posting. :D

That's great advice about lightning. Downed power lines remind me of that. We had one laying across our driveway for five days. Our car didn't move in all that time because we couldn't drive over it.

Great post and photos!!!


Hugs, JJ

Max said...

Hey Bob,

Wow...this is an extremely cool lightning photo!! I am amazed!

No, I didn't know any of this! 100 million volts? Now my mind pictured a terrible scene: a person in a swimming pool, being hit by a lightning...totally fried!
"Wow, cool thunderstorm, think I'll make a phone call and then take a bath" - LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL excellent one LOL LOL *nodding*! However, I don't think that the same thing would happen here, cause our phone cables are under the ground...nevertheless it is a funny picture LOL...

"Most lightning injuries occur in the spring/summer when a lot of people are out doing things like (...) taking pictures of lightning in a wide open space under power lines, etc." LOL LOL LOL what were you thinking indeed? LOL *nodding*...Ah, Bob you kill me LOL...

Thank heavens you have a group of guardian Angels, Bob! You are just like me lol ;D!

Those are great news from Phoenix!

I wish you a great week, Bob! This post was absolutely wicked! Loved it!

Cheers

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Will, it was dry to start with, which was very cool, didn't get the camera wet, later I had to cover up the camera with my jacket, you are right in the wide open is always the best, ads to the atmosphere,lol.

I hear ya about the camping, Ive been caught in a few of those too, scary.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey JJ good to see you, wow, you had downed power lines, for five days yet, hope you had lots of food,lol.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks max, doesn't matter if they are underground, still will carry through to you, actually I don't know of telephone lines above ground anymore.

You too with the guardian angels, we are so lucky,lol.

Thanks again max and you have a great week too.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Oh Bob these are so cool. Hey you forgot standing under the tree, I guess it would fall under the hiking category. You know once we hand thunderstorm so bad that all the phones at home started to ring, and I was not on the phone. It was scary. We had also thunderstorm yesterday, it filled up local creeks in matter of minutes. I am kind of ticked off, because we have bird droppings on one of the windows, and I am waiting for the day that the wind will shoot that direction and clean the windows, lol, I guess yesterday missed again [time to climb the roof, lol]. Again, really cool images, and I guess you have wide angle lens too. Thanks for sharing, Anna :)

Anna said...

...just forgot to mention, I was watching once NatGeo and they mention that lightning actuall travels from ground up, hard to believe, but also if you look at your images, it kind of looks like that, lol. Anna :)

kml said...

Excellent lightning photos! Now - be careful when you are out there - there are many strikes in that first photo.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Anna, hey standing under a tree is a no go like taking a bath and using the phone.

Anna I got myself a too cool 10-17mm Tokina fisheye, let me tell you it is awesome, it works really good on Canons like ours, something to do with the amount of cropping our Canons have built in, great reviews.

Yes Anna the majority of lightning sends feelers out from the ground to attract and make avpath to the sky, you have got a good eye, you can see the effect really good in a couple of my images.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, like I said it goes in my "what was I thinking" category, lucky this time, you know how it is, you just gotta get one more picture.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Bob, I have Sigma fish eye lens, and when I took pictures of my tiny backyard, it made it look tripple the size, lol. It is a cool lens to play with, great for landscapes, but don't try to take pictures of groups of people, because those on the sides will hate you (majour distortion) - I took one of my family, and I avoided to show it to most of them, lol. Anna :)

Max-e said...

Thanks for the Phoenix update - pity about the short circuit.
I enjoyed your lightning photos. We don't have much lightning here, though I have lived in places where the lighting was extreme. I was at boarding scholl at Settlers in the Limpopo province. With some of the lightning storms we would watch the lighting strike the ground within a few hundred metres of the dormitory. The thunder clap was loud and instantaneous. There were a lot of terrified kids hiding under the beds, while others watched.
In Zimbabwe the Herald newspaper had a column recording the lightning deaths in the rainy season - it would eventually amount to hundreds every year. It was very macabre and has been stopped..

peaceful cosmos said...

great! thanks very much for sharing!

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