In the video below, the Slow Mo Guys, Gav and Dan, travel to Singapore at the height of the monsoon season to film lightning strikes that occur within microseconds in slow motion. They clearly capture the process whereby the current begins its descent from the cloud in the form of what is called “leaders”. These are root-like patterns of electric current that branch out until one of the branches reaches the ground. When this happens, an electric current rises from the ground to the cloud through the path of the leader forming what we actually see as the lightning strike.
If you don’t have the patience for the extended introduction, the actual video of the lightning strikes begins at 4 minutes and 50 seconds. Being the creative and learned guys they are, Gav and Dan play their breathtaking slow motion lightning video to the tune of Night on Bald Mountain by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. Even if classical music isn’t your “thing”, many of the older generations will recognize this music from its inclusion in Disney’s 1941 film, Fantasia (note: in Disney’s version, Night on Bald Mountain merges at the end with Franz Schubert’s, Ave Maria).