Tag Archive: lightning

Lightning is really really fast

lightning

Posted on in , with 16 Comments.

In case you didn’t already know it, lightning travels incredibly fast. Although this video is 33 seconds long, in reality, this event happened in only a little over 0.1seconds. What to us look like a simple flash of light, when slowed down 300x, is really an incredibly beautiful and complex phenomenon. There are a number of theories about how lightning originates, but all involve a build up of charge in the atmosphere. This, in itself, isn’t what causes lighning. What does is the difference in charge between the atmophere and the ground. To equilise this charge differential, electrons need to flow downhill. This is what we see in the first half of the video. Electrons always like to flow down the path of least resistance, and want to find the shortest distance to the ground. However, the electrons in the cloud don’t know where this is, so we see a random, branching pattern reaching out in all directions. This downstroke …

Visit us on:

FacebookUnpopular Science on Facebook TwitterUnpopular Science on Twitter SubscribeSubscribe to Unpopular Science
Share