Based on scientific research, the distance of a thunderstorm can be statistically calculated from the observation of lightning flashes and thunder sounds. The US National Weather Bureau suggests the 30-30 rule when lightning is imminent: when a flash is seen and the thunder is heard less than 30 seconds later, the storm is within 10 km.
The AS3935 from austriamicrosystems is a programmable Lightning Sensor IC that detects the presence and approach of potentially hazardous lightning activity in the vicinity. It detects intra-cloud activity as well as cloud to ground flashes, often enabling risk to be evaluated for approaching storms. The new chip detects lightning activity as it approaches from up to 40 km away which provides a much longer distance for lightning warning. In addition, the device identifies and rejects interference signals from common man-made sources such as: fluorescent lighting, motors, microwave oven, switches, etc.
The flexible IC allows for configurability that allows the part to work both indoors as well as outdoors, just changing the gain setting in a register. [via]
World’s First Lightning Sensor IC Detects Lightning up to 40 km Away - [Link]
I have always been fascinated by photographs about lightnings. While it is relatively easily to put a lightning strike in any photograph using image editing techniques I still prefer the real thing. Since photography is a hobby of mine, I wanted to be able to photograph lightnings. However, when I tried to do it without any specialized equipment, I didn’t have much success.
DIY Lightning Detection for Photography – [Link]
Make an electronic circuit that will trigger camera flashes in sync with a thunder soundtrack (great for Halloween)! The camera flashes are salvaged from old, broken cameras. When used along with lamps plugged into a color organ circuit, it makes a very effective lightning effect.
Lightning effect using camera flash units – [Link]
Richard Hodgkinson build a lightning distance timer that is able to automatically calculate the approach or retreat of a thunderstorm. The device is powered from two AA batteries.
Imagine you’re right in the middle of a thunderstorm; the lights have gone out, and there’s nothing better to do than time the number of seconds between a lightning strike and the thunderclap in an effort to see whether the storm is approaching or receding.
Lightning distance timer - [Link]