There's a mesmerizing new project from an organization called Blitzortung.org that lets you see real-time lightning strikes around the world. It works using a network of volunteers willing to purchase and set up a $275 or so detection kit consisting of an antenna system, amplifier and controller. Once activated, each station can spot the radio signals from a lightning strike and transmit the precise time and location to the Blitzortung.org's servers. From there, the lightning is displayed (complete with bug-zapper sound) on one of five maps including North America and Europe, along with a line between the strike and detecting station. Curiously, a sensor in New York can pick up lightning in Cuba, for instance, since the low frequency RF waves from lightning can travel thousands of miles. Hit the source if you want to participate, or just check the maps to marvel at another striking example of crowd-sourcing in action.
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