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Is it possible to know whether a lightning bolt travel from the ground to the sky or from the sky to the ground?

Alternatively, it could be both sides approaching

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Yes it is: lightning in slow-mo
In general, both are possible, see: types of lightning

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  • $\begingroup$ that's one of my favorite youtube videos. $\endgroup$ – emarti Jan 27 '13 at 23:36

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