Maxablaster: The homemade 52 million candlepower flashlight.
The article says 38, but apparently Ralf has already upgraded to 52 with his newer setup.
The 45-year-old Dutch optics engineer has been building his own lights since he was eight, but his recent 38-million-candlepower creation, the Maxablaster, is more like a miniature star. To start, Ottow stripped out the innards of a powerful commercial flashlight and switched in a mercury arc bulb, which generates light by creating an ultra-hot plasma between two closely spaced electrodes inside the gas-filled central chamber of the lamp. That results in a brighter, more focused beam but also kicks out more ultraviolet light (hence the sunburn, a product of early testing). So he added a specially coated reflector and designed, ground, and coated a new glass window that would trap UV rays while still pumping out light.
Powered by a pack of 54 batteries, the Maxablaster can put a bright spot of light on a cloud four miles high and illuminate a house from just as far. But Ottow doesn't use it to spook his neighbors. It's not a torch you'd walk your dog with," he says. "It would probably cook your dog."