Key Takeaways

  1. NASA has shared captivating images of lightning captured from the International Space Station (ISS).
  2. The photos offer a unique perspective of white lightning over Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and beneath a thunderhead over Bolivia.
  3. The images were taken using Nikon D3S digital cameras, and NASA used the opportunity to promote their advanced equipment, “Firestation,” on the ISS.
  4. Firestation allows the observation of approximately 50 lightning strikes daily and measures associated phenomena like static discharges and gamma rays.
  5. The images were cropped and enhanced by NASA to improve contrast and clarity, resulting in striking visual portrayals of lightning from space.

Witnessing the raw power of lightning is awe-inspiring, but seeing it from space takes it to a whole new level. Recently, NASA shared a mesmerizing pair of photographs, offering a glimpse of white lightning as observed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The first image, taken on December 12, 2013, showcases the fascinating spatial angle of lightning illuminating the skies over Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In a second, more ominous photo, lightning is seen beneath a thunderhead, capturing the intense energy of a storm system over Bolivia.

While these breathtaking shots were captured using Nikon D3S digital cameras, NASA had a more profound purpose in sharing them with the public. The space agency sought to promote its latest equipment aboard the ISS, known as “Firestation.”

This advanced tool enables the observation of approximately 50 lightning strikes per day while measuring static discharges and short bursts of gamma rays associated with certain lightning discharges. To enhance clarity and remove any lens artifacts, NASA carefully cropped and enhanced the images, giving us an extraordinary perspective of one of nature’s most electrifying phenomena.

Enjoy more Lightning From Space


An astronaut on board the International Space Station was on the lookout for thunderstorms. ESA/NASA


This lightning flash with an upward branch, observed south of Langmuir Laboratory, helped researchers understand the mechanisms by which lightning can escape clouds. COURTESY LANGMUIR LABORATORY


Image Credit – Chris Holmes.


A storm captured from the upper atmosphere. Credit: Santiago Borja


One of the crew members aboard the International Space Station photographed this night view of storm clouds over Southern California. Early morning lightning can be seen as a white blotch just to the right of center. The yellow colored area, beneath the grey clouds, which almost shines because of night lights, is part of the highly populated area of Los Angeles and San Diego. This image was released July 21, 2013. (Image credit: NASA)


Photograph by NASA
5 5 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
9 months ago

These pics are amazing!