A photo posted online in August 2015 shows a beam of light which appears to be shooting through a cloud bank.
Rolling Shutter Artifact
The “beam” is simply a shutter artifact created by a bolt of lightning in the photo.
Let’s first, however, take a look at what has been claimed about the photo in question.
A post on Before It’s News describes the photo: “It Is NOT Lightning Is It??!! Satellite Weapons Test? Mysterious Beam Of Light Lasted 3-5 Seconds In Fort Myers, Fl.” The article also notes that someone posted the photo on Reddit but then “the post disappeared.”
“Could it be a strange new weapon?” the site asks.
The photo does, in fact, appear on Reddit, and the top comment correctly identifies the anomaly as a rolling shutter artifact.
As Production Apprentice explains, artifacts such as this occur “when something is visible for less than the amount of time it takes the sensor to create an image. A great example is a camera flash or a bolt of lightning.” As you can see in the enlarged section below, a lightning bolt does appear in the image.
For a comprehensive discussion of other photos which have included similar “beams of light” see this post over on Metabunk.
The photo showing a beam of light stretching from the sky to the ground in Ft. Myers, Florida is simply a camera artifact created by a bolt of lightning.