Lightning is a natural phenomenon that occurs if the atmosphere creates an electric discharge. The discharge could occur inside the cloud, between a cloud and the ground, or between two clouds. Its speed of travel moves is determined by a range of aspects, including the distance it has to cover and the type of lightning.
Lightning moves at approximately 227,000,000 miles per hour (365,321,088 km), about 3700 times faster than sound. However, the lightning rate can depend on the weather conditions in the atmosphere and the kind of lightning. For instance, cloud-to-ground lightning generally travels slower than in-cloud lightning because it needs to travel through the atmosphere before getting to the ground.
Despite its rapid speed, lightning does not happen immediately, and it requires a certain amount of time for an electrical charge to move from one location to the next. The time it takes lightning to advance a certain distance can be determined by dividing the space by the speed at which lightning travels. For instance, when lightning travels at 227,000,000 mph and must cover a distance of 10 miles, it would take approximately 0.000044 seconds for lightning to reach its final destination.
Knowing that lightning is extremely hazardous and must be prevented at all costs is crucial. If you’re outdoors and see lightning, take shelter immediately and clear of high-heeled objects like trees and structures. If you’re indoors, avoid windows and electrical appliances and refrain from using your phone or showering during a storm.
How much brighter is lightning?
The light that comes from lightning bolts is equivalent in magnitude to that of the glow of around 100 million bulb lights.
When the flashes we observe because of lightning strikes move at the light speed (670,000,000 mph), the actual lightning strike is comparatively slow at 270,000 miles per hour.
It would take around 55 minutes to reach the Moon, approximately 1.5 seconds from London to Bristol.
When lightning hits the beach
If lightning strikes sand or soil, it melts the grains and forms tiny glass-like tubes known as fulgurite.
Collectors don’t just prize them; they are also of immense scientific significance in proving how lightning storms have occurred in the past.
The location with the most lightning-struck anywhere in the world
Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is the location on Earth that receives the highest number of lightning strikes. Large storms are common on 140-160 nights in the year—the average rate of lightning strikes per minute for more than 10 hours at a stretch.
This is as many as 4000 lightning strikes one night!
Helicopters cause lightning
Recent research conducted by the Met Office revealed that helicopters could trigger an unintentional lightning strike. When flying, the aircraft is charged with a negative electric charge. When passing close to the area with a positive control (e.g., hail or a positively charged region of the cumulonimbus cloud), it may cause lightning strikes.
1.400,000,000 strikes every year
Lightning is among the most frequent and widespread phenomena. All over the globe, there are more than 3 million flashes each day.
It’s about 44 strikes per second.
Lightning destroys trees
Lightning strikes often destroy trees. If lightning strikes trees, it generally occurs just beneath the bark of the tree, which is covered with an accumulation that is made up of sap as well as water.
The layer gets instantaneously heated and expands, causing the bark to blast off the tree, sometimes breaking the wood.
However, it can also help to grow plants.
Although nitrogen is present in the air around us, for plants to be able to absorb it (a vital process for their development), they have to rely on a process known as Nitrogen fixation.
While most of this process is performed by algae and bacteria, the intense heat generated by lightning strikes causes nitrogen to join oxygen and create nitrogen oxides, which then mix with the moisture in the air to fall in the form of rain and plant life with nitrate-rich waters.
The size of a thumb and hotter than the Sun.
Although the force of lightning strikes can create the appearance of thick bolts in skies, in reality, the length of the lightning bolt is approximately 2-3 centimeters. The typical size of lightning bolts is 3 miles.
The charge that flows through this tiny channel is so powerful that lightning can reach 30000 deg C, which is five times more intense than the Sun.
Did you know that up to the end of the 18th century, the belief was that the ringing of church bells deterred lightning? So churches had bells with the inscription”fulgura frango,” meaning “I chase lightning.”
When there was a storm, bell ringers would rush to the tower to make the bells ring. But a building high with a bell made of metal was, in reality, the worst spot to be.
In the period 1753-1786 in France In France, 103 bell-ringers were hit by lightning and killed, which led to the practice being outlawed.