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July 2010 Lightning Over Athens Credit & Copyright: Chris Kotsiopoulos Lightning usually takes a jagged course, rapidly heating a thin column of air to about 3x the surface temperature of the Sun. The resulting shock wave starts supersonically & decays into the loud sound known as thunder. Lightning bolts r common in clouds during rainstorms, & on average 6,000 lightning bolts occur btwn clouds & the Earth every minute. Pictured abv, an active lightning storm recorded over Athens, Greece.

Double Strike by PadburyPhoto on Flickr.

Rapid City, South Dakota thunderstorm.

Double Strike by PadburyPhoto on Flickr.