A German volcano enthusiast shot these images of lightening bolts blasting out of a Japanese volcano.
Rietze captured lightning erupting from the billowing smoke and ash—an unlikely phenomenon that NASA says is not yet fully understood. According to one Smithsonian article, there are actually two sorts: One occurs when charged gases meet cool air, similar to the way lighting occurs in thunderstorms. The other, which is what Rietze captured, was only recently discovered and is even less understood. It occurs continuously at the mouth of the volcano as it’s erupting, and seems to stem from the collision of highly charged lava and rocks: “There’s some mechanism in there that’s making it come out charged,” scientist Ronald Thomas told the Eric Jaffe.