Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Image From Space: Incredible Photo Of Lightning Flashing In Hurricane Eye

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured
lightning flashing in the eye of Cyclone Bansi last week.  
My new best friend is Samantha Crisoforetti.

We never met each other, but I, like everyone else in the weather geek community,  has spent the past several days gaping at awe at a photograph she took, the one in this blog post.  

Click on the image to make it bigger and easier to see.

She's an astronaut on the International Space Station, and she snapped a nighttime photo of very strong Cyclone Bansi in the southern Indian Ocean.

(Hurricanes are called Cyclones in the Indian Ocean.)

When she took the photo, a flash of lightning popped in the eyewall of this storm. As noted in the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, the flash illuminates the clouds lining the eye of the storm. They curve backward from the center, giving the eye the appearance of a stadium.

You also see one low cloud extending across the base of the eye, which I often see in strong hurricanes for some reason.

The lightning flash brilliantly lit up the eye, but also slightly illuminated the entire eyewall around the cyclone. You can see the swirling, chaotic cloud structures with the intense storm.

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