High-Speed, Time-Resolved Spectrum of a Lightning Stroke

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Science  28 Jan 1966:
Vol. 151, Issue 3709, pp. 451-452
DOI: 10.1126/science.151.3709.451


The first time-resolved spectrum of a return stroke between the cloud and ground has been obtained with a slitless spectrograph. The time for luminosity to rise from zero to its peak in a section of the channel is 10 micro-seconds or less, and the intense emission lines are attributed to singly ionized nitrogen atoms. Several faint lines persisting for approximately 150 microseconds are due to neutral nitrogen and oxygen atoms.