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Thread: Green Lightning???

  1. #1
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    Default Green Lightning???

    A friend of mine has captured some great lightning shots but in some of his pictures there are green lightning artifacts, or "ghost" strikes while all the rest of his pictures were quite normal. The entire group of pictures were taken within a two or three hour period during a rather normal monsoon storm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    We were wondering if someone can help us figure out whether there is such a thing as green lightning phenomena, or is it a problem with his camera like a lens flare, or something else. He is using a Canon Rebel XTi with standard Canon lenses.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Sincerely,
    Bill Robertson

    Here are links to the pictures:

    http://www.pbase.com/brobertson/image/84425900

    http://www.pbase.com/brobertson/image/84425902

    http://www.pbase.com/brobertson/image/84425904

    http://www.pbase.com/brobertson/image/84425906

  2. #2
    Dan Robinson
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    These are lens reflections, usually caused by a UV filter (or any other additional layer of glass, such as a window) on the lens. If you look at all of the ghost lightning channels, their shape matches one of the main lightning channels on the same image. In this case the channels are inverted (upside down) matches of the true lightning.

  3. #3

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    Definitely looks like ghost images thanks to the lens flare, like Dan said, if you have some sort of filter on the lens that might be the culprit.
    Jayson Prentice -- Iowa State Meteorology '09 -- KC0TQO
    NEW Storm Chasing Website: Severe Plains
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  4. #4
    Member Willie Dines's Avatar
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    I'm glad that you guys had confirmed what I had though also this morning, when I looked at the photos

    I am aware that on rare occasions, some lightning bolts are apparently a greenish color, but I've never seen any photo's prove/disprove this, I think that it was mentioned on wikipedia or something, when I was looking to find out about the various colors of lightning, that are known to be seen

    The only colors of lightning that I have seen in my lifetime are Blue, pink, red, and blue, but I believe this is more dependant on where the lightning strike is, in co-ordination to the amount of rainfall between the observer and the lightning bolt itself

    Willie

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    Member Dave Gallaher's Avatar
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    Driving north from Fort Lauderdale in 1979, accompanying the brush by Hurricane David, greenish lightning was very evident. I'm not sure what the terminology is for cc lightning that seems to fall apart and leave descending 'blobs' (particulate?), but this was what we saw on the Sunshine Parkway near West Palm Beach in latitude. I remember it well because rain had blown into our truck's intake and stalled the engine, leaving us stranded on the roadside for a very nervous half-hour.
    Dave Gallaher
    Huntsville, AL

  6. #6
    Dan Robinson
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    Lightning emits light with a visible spectrum similar to sunlight, or white light. Impurities in the atmosphere can shift the perceived color the same way it does during a sunset, depending on the distance to the observer.

    Just like a sunset is never green, lightning is never green in color. Greenish or turquoise colors are always the result of power flashes from arcing lines, which in many cases are intense enough to match the brightness of lightning. Lighting often triggers power flashes (flashovers) if it hits energized lines, which can cause both to occur together.

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    Member cdcollura's Avatar
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    Good day,

    I think the effect of "green coloring" hail in the storm can affect lightning color.

    Hail often causes a green hue to sunlight due to its effect on filtering light. A lightning bolt can have similar effects if hail is present.
    Christopher Collura - KG4PJN
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  8. #8
    Member Greg Campbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brobertson2 View Post
    A friend of mine has captured some great lightning shots but in some of his pictures there are green lightning artifacts, or "ghost" strikes while all the rest of his pictures were quite normal. The entire group of pictures were taken within a two or three hour period during a rather normal monsoon storm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    We were wondering if someone can help us figure out whether there is such a thing as green lightning phenomena, or is it a problem with his camera like a lens flare, or something else. He is using a Canon Rebel XTi with standard Canon lenses.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Sincerely,
    Bill Robertson

    Here are links to the pictures:
    It's just lens flare.

    The ghost lightning in this one is clearly mirror symetric to the middle and rightmost main bolts.

    http://www.pbase.com/brobertson/image/84425904

    -Greg
    "HEY!! You look like a real jerk!"
    "Well, I am a corporate executive!"

  9. #9
    Paul Austin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Robinson View Post
    Just like a sunset is never green, lightning is never green in color. Greenish or turquoise colors are always the result of power flashes from arcing lines, which in many cases are intense enough to match the brightness of lightning. Lighting often triggers power flashes (flashovers) if it hits energized lines, which can cause both to occur together.
    I'm sure you are referring to the lightning channel itself, as the original post is directed, and this I would agree with. But as Chris suggested, lightning flashing through hail / heavy precip can often take on a greenish hue, especially if it originates from a relatively high position in the storm. It's not entirely uncommon, just as sunlight passing through such precip shafts often appears greenish. It depends on the precip and the angle of the light passage. This is clearly not the case with these photos, however. Yeah, lens flare / filter artifacts.

  10. #10
    Member Susan Strom's Avatar
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    I see green lightning a couple times per year in Arizona. It seems to occur when the monsoon flow is influenced by increased moisture from broken up tropical systems coming up from Mexico. Usually the green color is very pronounced, but more of a teal, and the green lightning is almost always intracloud.

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