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Lebanese scientist Dr. Maher A. Dayeh has produced the first images of thunder in a groundbreaking experiment using rockets, microphones, exploding wire and some very nasty weather.Dayeh, a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, designed the innovative experiment that produced the acoustic images. Thunder is created when lightning rapidly heats the air around it, causing it to expand faster than the speed of sound. In order to accurately record its acoustic signature, Dayeh had to know where the lightning would strike. So we used what we call triggered lightning," Dayeh told The Daily Star.In order to artificially induce lightning strikes, he and his team had to sit out in thunderstorm conditions and monitor electric fields, waiting for the right moment. Once it's gone, the strike continues like any other, according to Dayeh.The techniques used by Dayeh and his team may have given scientists and researchers an important new tool with which to study lightning formation.The images show the release of acoustic energy from the entire lightning channel.Dayeh also plans to construct a more complex array of microphones in order to generate more detailed acoustic images.
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