German photographer Birk Mobius couldn’t have known back in 2014, as he pointed his camera around the small aerodrome he was visiting, that he was about to capture an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime moment.

As he casually snapped some pictures of a Boeing 777 cargo plane on a tumultuous 30-minute flight from Frankfurt to Leipzig, the stormy weather positioned the airplane’s path straight through a vivid rainbow – just as a rogue bolt of lightning struck.

The plane, which is owned by German cargo airline company AeroLogic, landed safely at its destination and reported no ill effects from the strike. Mobius, however, was feeling the effects of having caught the once-in-a-lifetime moment on film and knowing it had been a pretty special day. He later said it was “probably the most unique and spectacular” photo he’d ever taken.

It’s the combination of rainbow and lightning that makes the picture unusual. Certainly, each airplane is likely to be struck at least once a year by lightning and since a strike caused a fuel tank explosion on a U.S. plane in 1967, safety measures have improved exponentially.

In fact, the 1967 crash was the last known occurrence of lightning causing a commercial plane to crash in the U.S and the only effects your regular passenger will experience during a strike now are a sudden flash and perhaps a flickering of lights on board as the plane briefly occupies a place in the electrical circuit created between the cloud regions of opposite polarity.

Check out the pictures below, with a section enlarged so you can view the astonishing event in more detail.

Images: Birk Mobius. This post originally appeared on our UK site.