Science Articles

THE CAUSE OF THE LIGHTNING

Lighting begins as the static charges in the clouds full of water. There is turbulence inside the clouds owing to the winds.

Have you ever witnessed the sparks of lightning produced in the sky? Have you ever got an electric shock? Or have you seen the sparks produced when the fibres of your woollen blanket rub against each other? Well, lightning happens to owe to the same reason that occurs on a very large scale.

 

ORIGINATION OF LIGHTNING

Lighting begins as the static charges in the clouds full of water. There is turbulence inside the clouds owing to the winds. The water inside the cloud gets frozen when it gets uplifted at greater heights by the updrafts. On the other hand, the downdrafts of the cloud push the ice down. Electrons get stripped off at the point where the ice meets water. An electrical field is created as a result of the negatively charged bottom and a positively charged top. The atmosphere acts as an insulator in between the electrical fields in the cloud but when the strength of the charge becomes too overpowering for the atmosphere, lightning originates.

The electrical field looks out for an escape for releasing the charge. When the storm moves across the ground, the positive charges of the ground tends to attract the negative charges of the cloud. This, in turn, makes the positive charge to move up the tallest of the objects like poles, trees, houses etc. The negative charge in the cloud then searches for an escape to meet the ground.

When ascending of the negative charge to the ground, the positive charge moves up to meet it. Both of them connect with each other to create the lightning spark. The strokes often use the same path for travelling for the electrical discharge which makes it appear as flickering lightning phenomena.

Even though it looks quick to the human eye, watching the lightning in slow motion can be insightful.

 

SOME FACTS ABOUT LIGHTNING
  • Dismantling the common notion, lightning can take place at the same point twice.
  • Lightning is of around 27.000 degree Celsius which makes it 6 times hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • A majority of lightning happens inside the cloud. Only sometimes does it occur between the ground and the cloud.
  • Lightning kills almost 2000 people worldwide every year.
  • You cannot expect to have a thunder without lightning.
  • The fear of being struck by a lightning is also called as astraphobia.