- Lightning is a discharge of atmospheric electricity which is triggered by a buildup of differing charges within a cloud. The result of the buildup is a sudden release of electricity which causes a bright flare of electricity,
followed by a thunderclap. An average instance of lightning lasts about a quarter of a secondand consists of 3-4 strikes, and thunder can be heard about 12 miles away from the source.
- Lightning bolts travel at speeds of up to 60,000 miles per second, and the average length of a single lightning bolt is 2-3 miles.
- The temperature of a typical lightning bolt can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit which is 5 times greater than the temperature of the surface of the Sun.
- Scientists suspect the cause of lightning may be directly related to the presence of ice crystals in the cloud.
- There is a saying that “Lightning never strikes in the same place twice”. This isn’t true. Lightning can strike many times in the same location.
- The irrational fear of lightning is known as keraunophobia. The fear of thunder is termed brontophobia.
- Lightning strikes the Empire State Building in New York City about 23 times a year. The tallest object in an area is the most likely target for a lightning strike. Most tall buildings have lightning rods attached to their structure. The rod attracts the lightning and sends its energy directly into the ground.
- Glass forms when lightning strikes into sandy soil. After a storm you can find strips of glass in the sand.
- Every year, the Earth experiences an average of 25 million lightning strikes during some 100,000 thunderstorms. That’s more than a hundred lightning bolts per second.
- Lighting is one of the most beautiful, powerful, unpredictableand, and dangerous of all natural phenomena. The energy contained in a single lightning strike can power a 100 Watt light bulb for 90 days.
Fast Facts Resources