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Intersection: Lightning Research

Photo by Donna B. Cooper, via Flickr
Photo by Donna B. Cooper, via Flickr

This show originally aired July 4, 2017

Summer time is thunderstorm time. Florida is the lightning capital of the country, and according to the National Weather Service, more people are killed by lightning in Florida than any other state.

Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology are in an ideal spot to study lightning, but as Amitabh Nag explains sometimes they’ll give nature a hand.

“There is a facility we can use to shoot rockets into thunderstorms and trigger lightning artificially,” says Nag, an assistant professor of physics and space science at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

“It’s a very fascinating experience and a very powerful one. Of course there is a lot of safety that goes into an operation like this. No one should attempt that at home, it’s absolutely fatal if one does,” he says.

Nag’s research could help the space industry and it could help improve safety.