Scientists Take First Ever 'Footage' Of The Sound Of Thunder
Lightning has long been a favourite of photographers, who can capture the arc of light in stunning detail. But pioneering scientists have captured a ‘picture’ of thesound that goes along with it, taking the first ever detailed image of thunder.
The images are made up of acoustic maps, and are taken using special equipment that can visualise the way that the sound moves in space. By doing so, scientists hope that they can gain a better understanding of the physics behind the phenomenon.
Lightning is created by electrical charges moving either within a cloud or between the cloud and the ground. Thunder is created from the sudden heating of the air that happens as the charge moves through it.
Maher Dayeh, a heliophysicist from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, took the image by sending a copper wire into a cloud to make it send down thunder and lightning. They recorded that event with 15 microphones that were laid out 95 meters from the lightning, which together helped capture the sound waves.
Since the sound waves take longer to get higher up, scientists could use the data discovered to map out how the sound moved about in space.
The researchers also found that thunder is louder if there is more current flowing through the lightning. That discovery could one day allow them to use the noise a lightning strike generates to work out how much energy is being conducted through it.
BY ANDREW GRIFFIN, THE INDEPENDENT