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Statue of Liberty takes a hit

Iconic New York landmark battles the elements

Statue of Liberty takes a hit
06 October 2010

In these days of Photoshop and CGI, it’s easy to get cynical about shots as stunning as these. But New York photographer Jay Fine used a Nikon rather than hi-tech PC software to capture this picture of lightning striking the Statue Of Liberty.

But it wasn’t just mere luck. Fine spent the night braving a pretty dicey electrical storm, filling up his memory stick with 81 other snaps before he struck lucky with this particular bolt of lightning.

And there’s no need to be concerned — no American icons were harmed in the making of this picture.

Lady Liberty is reportedly hit by around 600 bolts of lightning a year — that’s roughly 74,400 since she was erected in New York’s harbour in 1886.

The 305-ft tall statue is made up of enormous copper plates, each one double the thickness of a one cent piece. And, as you no doubt recall from GCSE physics, copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, so, when the lightning hits, it dissipates safely through the body and into the earth.

It’s not without its side-effects though. In 1986 the statue was given a thorough renovation for its centenary and thousands of attachment points were found on the iconic landmark — scorch marks the size of 10p pieces where the lightning had hit.

They were promptly scrubbed off although, from the looks of things, come 2086 the whole process will have to be repeated.