Extremely Rare Photo Of Volcanic Lightning

One very brave astrophotographer had the adventure of a lifetime when he recently captured a rare photo of volcanic lightning (something to the likes of this) of the Colima Volcano in Mexico. The photographer, César Cantú, got the shot Sunday night of the currently active volcano.

The 3,800 meter high stratovolcano Colima Volcano, Volcán de Colima, or Volcán de Feugo, as it is sometimes known, is located in Mexico’s west coast. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico, erupting 40 times since 1576.

Though dwarfed by bigger brother Papocatépetl, the smaller volcano is more active. It had a huge eruption in 1913, and again on May 24, 2005, with a series of eruptions from November 2014 that are ongoing, with the most recent on January 25, 2015.

Astrophotographer César Cantú was in the right time at the right place to capture the astronomical and rare sighting of volcanic lightning as the volcano exploded 3 km into the air. The shot can be seen on the photographer’s website. He used a six second exposure that blurs the ash cloud a bit but caught the stunning display of lightning.

Lightning in ash clouds is fairly common however. It’s thought to be static charge built up from all of the glassy ash particles rubbing together and building friction.

César Cantú is a retired astrophotographer from San Pedro, Mexico.

Astrophotography is a specialized type of photography for recording astronomical events and large areas of the night sky. (See pic) Due to somewhat recent advancements in lenses and technology, images could then be captured of celestial bodies like the Moon, the Sun, but now farther stars, nebulae, and galaxies that were once invisible to the human eye. This is achieved by very long time exposures since both film and digital camera lenses collect light particles or photons over long periods of time.

Astrophotography is a sub-discipline of astronomy with a large following of those who have the equipment necessary to capture the images which are often times aesthetically pleasing and amazing for the masses, but have less to do with scientific research.