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New weather satellites show 5 million lightning strikes as seen from space

Photo shows glimpse of lightning strikes across the Western Hemisphere (Photo via Lockheed Martin video)

The planet gets a lot of lightning -- roughly 100 strikes a second on Earth at any given moment.

NOAA's fairly new GOES-16 and brand new GOES-17 satellites are now equipped with state-of-the-art instruments (called the Global Lightning Mapper) that can measure lightning strikes in real time. Technology partner Lockheed Martin shows us what some 5 million strikes across the Western Hemisphere looked like over the past week or so:

The video is sped up 10,000 times.

GOES-17 and GOES-16 are parked near each other in geosynchronous orbit over the East Coast, but GOES-17 will eventually move west over the West Coast as it nears completion of its six-month calibration and heads into operational status later this year.

Once there, GOES-17 will be able to give better views of lightning over the West Coast as well.

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