Lightning & Rocketry

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Karl

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Whilst watching a movie/film in Physics this morning, we were on the topic of electricity and where we can produce it....And we watched a video of a lab that is 10,000ft high on a mountain. And they used Model Rocket Motors & A nosecone attached to a stick (Like a bottle rocket), and a big reel of thin copper wire.

They launched the rockets by using a E-Match and blowing down a tube quite hard, about 100yards away in a small bunker. ( I dont know how this works )

I expected it to be like Estes C6's or something but when I saw the launch video , it was more like they were using Econojet F20's, but they did use normal BP motors. The reason they do this is so that when the rocket goes high into the thunder cloud, lightning hits the copper wire, and travels down into a lab where they Analise it.

I just thought this was a interesting way of using model rocket motors.
 

rstaff3

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I saw that or something similar. IIRC the discsussion at the time was that they were using G80 SUs. The launched remotely from a bunker, lightningh can be bad for you.
 

Bowhunter

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yea I dont think id like to be holding the other end of that copper wire :p that would not be a smart thing lol
 

sandman

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I saw a special on weather a few years back on Public TV with Al Roaker from the Today Show (weather guy).

They did the same thing in a lab in Florida because of the high number of thunder storms there.

They used a Guass meter (sp) to measure the static charge in the air and when it reached a certain leval the launched and "usually" they caught a lighting stick.

The launch rod was set in a bucket of sand and it fused the sand into a really cool looking glass crystal.

Made me wanna try it!:D
 

dr wogz

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I remember hearing about rocket beign use dto catch birds.

Yes, catching birds...

At a prime nesting site, the brid researchers woudl lay out a net, pretty big, on the ground. They would attach two points of teh net on teh ground. The other two ends were attached to rockets, and neatly concealed.

The next day, they would pop into their 'duck blind' and hit teh fire / launch button. The rockets would fire, and, since being attached to the net, would pull the net up and over onto the nesting birds. teh rockets basically flew in a small arc, dictated by the net.
 

Chilly

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I think I've seen that same special on PBS. They were launching Aerotech Airspikes on F20's or something like that. The theory was the exhaust trail would create enough static to trigger a lightning stroke down the trail, like what happened with Apollo 12.
 

Hospital_Rocket

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Originally posted by Bowhunter
yea I dont think id like to be holding the other end of that copper wire :p that would not be a smart thing lol
Actually what you don't see is that this was a frustrated bunch of rocketeers. At the other end of the copper wire is a Copperhead in an H composite motor.

:p
 

Ray Dunakin

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Originally posted by sandman
Made me wanna try it!:D
A word of warning:

Lightning is extremely dangerous. You don't have to be hit by it to be killed -- just being near a strike can buy you a one-way ticket to the Great Launch Field In The Sky. In addition to the main strike, there are often many small, nearly invisible "tendrils" that hit all around the main strike, sometimes at a considerable distance. Also, the energy from a lightning bolt is powerful enough to set up an induced current in nearby objects without being in direct contact with the lightning.

The folks who do this professionally use an air-powered system to remotely launch the rockets. They also stay inside specially grounded bunkers.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone, just saying that if you ever decide to try experimenting with lightning, you'd better know what you're doing!

BTW, about 15 years ago I was taking photos of lightning at least ten miles away. Suddenly there was a lightning bolt directly overhead. It was completely within the cloud, not a ground stike. But the induced current in my umbrella gave me a pretty good shock!
 

wwattles

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Originally posted by sandman
I saw a special on weather a few years back on Public TV with Al Roaker from the Today Show (weather guy).

They did the same thing in a lab in Florida because of the high number of thunder storms there.

They used a Guass meter (sp) to measure the static charge in the air and when it reached a certain leval the launched and "usually" they caught a lighting stick.

The launch rod was set in a bucket of sand and it fused the sand into a really cool looking glass crystal.

Made me wanna try it!:D
I think you may be confusing a couple different groups. There are those who experiment with intentionally triggering lightning discharges by launching rockets into highly charged clouds. Some experiments are designed to test lightning rods and/or lightning protection systems, others are testing means for intentionally un-storming a cloud.

Another guy I saw planted iron rods into the sand out in Arizona or New Mexico, in an area where lightning storms are common. He then went back afterwards and pulled out the fused glass structures and sold them as artwork.

WW
 

wwattles

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Originally posted by daveyfire
https://www.lightningfield.org/

Sounds like an ELECTRIFYING vacation. :p

Sorry, I couldn't resist.
David,

All I can say is this: OHHHHMM!!! I'm SHOCKED you would CONDUCT yourself in such a manner! But I'm CURRENTly too busy to CHARGE over there and personally INDUCE a TRANSFORMation in your LAGging mindset!

:p
WW
 

n3tjm

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Originally posted by Chilly
I think I've seen that same special on PBS. They were launching Aerotech Airspikes on F20's or something like that.
Aerotech Mustangs with either F25's or G40's. I saw that in a National Geographic Magazine, and that was back before the day of F20's and the Airspike.
 
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