Lightning Over Table Mountain Observatory
Lightning Over the Observatory's 16-inch Telescope Facility
This color photograph of Lightning in the skies above Table
Mountain was taken with Kodak Kodacolor
100 ASA 35mm film with a Zeiss-Ikon 35mm camera using a 35mm f/2 wide angle lens on September
17, 1981 around 10 PM. This and subsequent 'strikes' were actually several miles to the SE over the
ridge in the background. The camera was mounted on a tripod, under the eaves of a nearby building, as
it was raining very hard with no wind. This was a 20 minute exposure taken while I was actually in my
office. I never saw the lightning 'strike' itself! It wasn't until a few days later when I got the pictures back
that I realized the 'prize' I had.
Ironically, several hours after the storm had passed, I discovered a fire on the background ridge (as seen
in this photograph), probably caused by a strike other than this one pictured here. It was put out the next
day by the USFS, as it was just an old obscure tree trunk away from other trees, and not threatening to
the surrounding forest.
Table Mountain Observatory, operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is located just west of the
town of Wrightwood, California at an elevation of 7500 feet.
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