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Did Lightning Really Strike Vatican After Pope's Resignation?
AccuWeather.Com ^ | February 12, 2013 | Jesse Ferrell

Posted on 02/12/2013 5:22:27 PM PST by PJ-Comix

News hit the Net yesterday afternoon that lightning had struck The Vatican twice, just hours after Pope after Pope Benedict XVI's sudden resignation. As a lightning photographer and weather photo hoax buster, I investigated to see if the photo was real.

#PHOTO: Lightning strikes St Peter's dome at #Vatican on day the #Pope announced resignation, by Filippo Monteforte twitter.com/AFP/status/301...— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) February 11, 2013

When the picture first started circulating on Facebook, Meteonetwork Puglia e Basilicata ONLUS (a division of Associazione MeteoNetwork Onlus) and commenting members of the Facebook page thought that the photo might be faked (loose internet translation here), because the strike didn't seem to reflect on the dome, because it didn't seem to make close contact with it, and because there was no reflection on the wet street below (see annotated image). Since many photos you see on Social Media are faked, or at least re-purposed, I was immediately suspicious as well.

However, when it was announced later in the day that the photographer was an Italian professional photographer Filippo Monteforte, the photo was transmitted by AFP, and BBC ran a video of the lightning strike, this quelled most of the controversy. If you look closely in the video (embedded above), you can see something I've noticed dozens of times when filming lightning -- the initial stroke of lightning is often too bright and overexposes the photo. But lightning strikes through its channel rapidly, dozens of times, and the last few strokes (what we see as "fading") provide the opportunity to get a clear shot of the bolt, with minimal reflection on nearby surfaces. For this reason, I believe the photo is plausible, and since it was taken by a professional, with potential video to back it up, I'd say that the photo is legitimate.

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Archived lightning strike data is not easy to come by in foreign countries, but certainly multiple Facebook users viewing the photo confirmed that a thunderstorm was present in Rome Monday afternoon, on the edge of a powerful storm system that brought snow to much of the country. A request to the Worldwide Lightning Network didn't turn up any lightning data, but they don't measure 100% of lightning. CORRECTION 5 PM: An amended request did confirm lightning in the area. Most importantly, official weather observations from CIAMPINO Ciampino, Rome, do indicate that there was a thunderstorm for approximately 3 hours in Rome yesterday:

It also may just be coincidence that lightning struck. The Empire State Building in New York City is hit by lightning 100 times per year. If the Basilica is properly grounded and an attractive source for lightning strikes, it's possible that it gets hit every time a thunderstorm moves through Rome. The only thing working against that is that it doesn't appear from a Google Image Search that a similar image has ever been captured before.


TOPICS: Unclassified
KEYWORDS: lightning; popebenedict; vatican
Some folks said the photographer took that picture sometime in the past and released it yesterday. However, that makes no sense. If you have a fantastic photo like that would you just sit on it?
1 posted on 02/12/2013 5:22:35 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix

I agree. It’s a stunning photo. On the other hand, I doubt God would need the accompanying thunder storm to launch it.


2 posted on 02/12/2013 5:25:03 PM PST by Mach9
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To: PJ-Comix

3 posted on 02/12/2013 5:25:13 PM PST by PJ-Comix (Beware the Rip in the Space/Time Continuum)
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To: Mach9

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XG3MTP7JLw


4 posted on 02/12/2013 5:26:53 PM PST by RummyChick
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To: PJ-Comix

Yes, although I’m not saying the photographer sat on the photo.

However, if he had, the photo would have gone from an interesting photo, worth a few bucks, to a very interesting photo worth a lot of bucks.

It’s all about timing.


5 posted on 02/12/2013 5:27:02 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: Mach9
...it doesn't appear from a Google Image Search that a similar image has ever been captured before.
6 posted on 02/12/2013 5:27:13 PM PST by PJ-Comix (Beware the Rip in the Space/Time Continuum)
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To: PJ-Comix
I'd say that the photo is legitimate.

I'm so relieved.

7 posted on 02/12/2013 5:29:30 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" - Isaiah 7:9)
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To: PJ-Comix

Lightning is actually pretty easy to capture. I’ve got a couple on my profile page that I took once I learned the ancient chinese secret.


8 posted on 02/12/2013 5:29:30 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: PJ-Comix

And everything known to mankind since the beginning of history is already catalogued on Google? Besides, not even Google can prove a negative.


9 posted on 02/12/2013 5:33:38 PM PST by Mach9
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To: Mach9

There has been a fair amount of wind and rain in Rome in the last few days (I happen to have been checking the weather there because I was planning a trip to Rome, by coincidence, in the next few weeks).

So I’d say it’s probably real.

When I was at World Youth Day in Madrid two years ago, a horrible wind and rain storm broke out and lightning was slamming down all around us. The Pope sat there, eyes closed, praying, and this was the only thing that calmed down the nearly 1 million people who were there and let us last out the storm.

At the time, it seemed to me that the Devil was striking at the Pope and this is how it seems to me in this photo, too.

So to me, that means that the Pope is doing the right thing by resigning, and something really bad must be brewing - but he has averted it for now and Satan is angry.


10 posted on 02/12/2013 5:34:03 PM PST by livius
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To: Alex Murphy

I saw it on the internets - so yeah - it happened.


11 posted on 02/12/2013 5:34:51 PM PST by DJlaysitup
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To: RummyChick

I don’t for a moment doubt it happened. My sister was over there and saw it (or at least what we’re now seeing) on RAI, but I had to wait for the photo to see it. I just don’t get the overawe and concern.


12 posted on 02/12/2013 5:37:22 PM PST by Mach9
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To: PJ-Comix

I’d say it’s a photoshop job...


13 posted on 02/12/2013 5:39:13 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: livius

Some signs are too ambivalent to have meaning. I have more faith in the Pope’s infallibility ex cathedra than I have in any signs.


14 posted on 02/12/2013 5:42:30 PM PST by Mach9
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To: Mach9

Some lightning bolts do not come from the clouds down, they jump from the ground up.


15 posted on 02/12/2013 5:52:30 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar ( Too old to cut the mustard any more.)
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To: Sacajaweau

Second-worst troll of the week.


16 posted on 02/12/2013 6:00:22 PM PST by jiggyboy (Ten percent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: PJ-Comix

I read, somewhere, that is is not uncommon for lightening to strike the dome of St Peters. There is a lightening rod up there, as you would expect.


17 posted on 02/12/2013 6:01:23 PM PST by sneakers (Go Sheriff Joe!)
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To: cripplecreek

Love taking pics of lightning, and yeap it’s pretty easy once you get it down. There’s a program called Imagestacker that’s great for repetative frames with same background. Can stack lots of bolts for a major cool pic!!!


18 posted on 02/12/2013 6:07:20 PM PST by colinhester
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To: cripplecreek

Love taking pics of lightning, and yeap it’s pretty easy once you get it down. There’s a program called Imagestacker that’s great for repetative frames with same background. Can stack lots of bolts for a major cool pic!!!


19 posted on 02/12/2013 6:08:18 PM PST by colinhester
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To: jiggyboy
Second-worst troll of the week.

Wow, you guys never quit. Ever. If anyone disagrees with what you perceive to be the truth, they are "trolls", "anti-catholic basher" or worse. It never ends.

20 posted on 02/12/2013 6:08:55 PM PST by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin (Freedom is the freedom to discipline yourself so others don't have to do it for you.)
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To: Mach9

“I have more faith in the Pope’s infallibility ex cathedra than I have in any signs.”

Where in Scripture does it intimate that anyone besides the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is infallible? Just wondering. Because I have never read anything even closely resembling what you have stated above as pertaining to mere us mere mortals, of which the one to which you assign infallibility is one.


21 posted on 02/12/2013 6:12:38 PM PST by DennisR (Look around - God gives countless, indisputable clues that He does, indeed, exist.)
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To: livius

So to me, that means that the Pope is doing the right thing by resigning....

^^^
I am sure he has done much praying about his decision. It occurred to me this evening that perhaps he learned that he is in the early stages of dementia. Whatever the reason for his decision, I am sure he has taken the right path for the Church.

Prayers up for him, for his successor, and for the Church. May the Holy Spirit send His Wisdom upon all of us.


22 posted on 02/12/2013 6:13:49 PM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: colinhester

What I do is find a distant focal point and get my focus first. I use a narrow aperture, low ISO setting. Then put the camera on bulb setting and hold the shutter open till I get a lightning flash.

If its a good dark night you can keep the shutter open and capture several lightning flashes.


23 posted on 02/12/2013 6:18:30 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: DennisR

If you’re not a Catholic, I can’t hope that you’d understand. Matt. 16:19 for the biblical source. The Pope speaks infallibly on faith and morals (and ONLY faith and morals) when he speaks ex cathedra, literally, from the chair (of Peter). If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t/couldn’t be a Catholic. If you want to know more, I’d be happy to expand, but there are plenty of internet sources to check.


24 posted on 02/12/2013 8:09:01 PM PST by Mach9
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