A Mesmerizing Site That Tracks and Displays Real-Time Lightning Strikes

Did you know that a lightning strike emits a broadband pulse of radio waves that can be detected thousands of miles away? It's that phenomenon which allows a website called Blitzortung to show lightning strikes as they happen all around the world, in real-time. If you thought it was hard to tear your eyes away from the World Cup, this is somehow even more entertaining to watch.

The site relies on volunteers stationed around the world who have purchased a detection kit that's capable of sensing those aforementioned radio waves, determining where the lightning strike occurred, and then passing on information about its time and location to Blitzortung's servers. That info is then displayed on the site as a lightning strike on a map, with connecting lines showing where it was actually detected. As a result there is some delay, but it's still a good representation of just how perpetually active storms are across the country.

And for a more in-depth look at the radio wave lightning phenomenon and how this site and its back-end work, check out The Vane's excellent explainer here.

[Blitzortung via Engadget via Reddit]