This amazing photograph comes from German photographer Birk Mobius. In it, we see lightening perfectly arching across the sky, following the path of a rainbow and hitting a passing plane.
Mobius took the image at Taucha aerodrome in Germany. Amazingly, this bolt struck a Boeing 777. Have a hard time seeing the plane? Take a look towards the top of the image. You see a slight break in the bolt of lightning.
That’s the plane.
Such occurrences may seem like they are amazingly rare; however, they are not that uncommon. According to Professor Manu Haddad, who works at Cardiff University’s “lightning lab” (or the Morgan Botti Laboratory), “On average, every commercial aircraft is hit by lightning once a year,” says Haddad, whose lab specialises in testing how to protect aircraft from lightning. “It is routine for an aircraft to land as soon as possible after a strike, but this is a precautionary measure. Lightning is extremely hot – up to 30,000C. The typical damage is a scorch mark where the point of contact was, usually a wing-tip. The plane’s electronics are well shielded these days.”
Of course, we have had a long time to perfect (or try to perfect) the art of flying. As such, Haddad continues by noting that there are no instances of planes being brought down by lightning (crashing) in modern times; however, some are forced to make emergency landings.
Here is a closer view:
NOTE: The lightning appears to be following the path of the rainbow, but this is just a fluke. A neat coincidence. The title is not meant to imply any direct relationship.