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5
votes
1answer
350 views

Why some thunders sound deeper while others sound snappier?

Why does some thunder sound deeper and lower in pitch while others sound snappier and higher in pitch? I don't think there should be any difference between the lightnings and so the thunders sound be ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

How can similar lightning strikes produce thunder with different time durations?

Here in Florida, lightning happens quite often. On occasion, I have noticed that one bolt will discharge and its resultant boom will be very very short, and then a second later another bolt will ...
14
votes
2answers
882 views

Why is the shape of lightning or an electric spark a zig-zag line?

Why is the shape of the lightning (or an electric spark) always of a zig-zag nature? Why is it never just a straight line? Image source.
1
vote
1answer
22 views

Can ligthning produce a reverbed sound if it falls on a high-tension line?

Last night, a rather strange noise woke me up around 5 am. It was like if a normal thunder sound had been fed to a reverb/delay box. As I was getting back to sleep afterwards, I could hear the sound ...
1
vote
2answers
36 views

Why is Lightning referred to as High frequency source?

Lightning strike is categorized as DC because of its electrostatic nature. The negative flash/stroke is found to have 200KA of current with a voltage close to 300KV (cloud to ground). But why is it ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it possible to overload a lightning rod?

A couple of weeks ago we had a big storm roll through the Chicago area. I watched as the city's skyscrapers were struck multiple times by lightning throughout the night and told my coworker about it ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Fork and Sheet Lightning

I've noticed that during British lightning storms, I have only ever seen sheet lightning However, on holiday in other countries, I frequently see Forked Lightning Q) Is this just caused by ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Natural electricity in the atmosphere - lightning

If air is such a poor electrical conductor, how can lightning be produced that appears to travel through it?
2
votes
1answer
42 views

Protect drone from lightning [closed]

I am designing a dirigible, robotic drone. It is basically a polyurethane airship, approx 3.6 m length and 2.1 m diameter. I am worried about lightnings: as far as I know, a Faraday Cage should be ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Why does lightning cause sound?

If I understand correctly, lightning is the discharge of electricity from the atmosphere into the planet. However, if I switch on a lamp, the wires are not causing thunder (or any audible sound). ...
3
votes
1answer
303 views

Do high voltage power lines attract lightning strikes?

I always thought that high voltage power lines would attract a lightning strike more than other structures in the same area. Turns out I was wrong. My neighbor's chimney got struck by lightning and it ...
1
vote
2answers
139 views

How does a lightning striking stall a moving car?

I am currently an undergraduate student leading a discussion section for an introductory electricity and magnetism course. I was asked this question that I was unable to answer and I am hoping for ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Lightning on my Car

Could anyone clarify to me the following: Lightning gives off high current when it hits a car/vehicle, and since the electrical components of the car is grounded on the chassis, are there ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Electricity from lightning

According to the internet, a lightning strike contains about 5 billion joules or 5 GJ. How was this calculated? Another thing: Once the lightning strike a metal grounded rod, a current will flow. ...
36
votes
6answers
4k views

Without seeing the lightning, can you tell how far away it struck by how the thunder sounds?

Is there any way to tell how far away a lightning strike is by how its thunder sounds? I thought one way might be by using the fact that higher frequencies travel faster than lower frequencies. Would ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

Layman explanation and demonstration of positive lightning

Inspired by the thunderstorm overhead, and after reading the question and answers Voltage and current of positive lightning - what is an effective means to explain this phenomenon to a layman? Also, ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Why does cloud-ground lightning occur so much less frequently over ocean?

I was talking with an acquaintance about lightning, and we came up with opposite theories and predictions for the frequency of lightning over ocean. My theory is that since seawater is a fluid ...
2
votes
4answers
254 views

Does an object's movement affect the likelihood of being struck by lightning?

Does the state of whether an object if moving or stationary affect the likelihood of it being struck by lightning? I suppose some things that could be considered would be: Whether the movement ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Why is lightning considered a plasma?

I was wondering why a lightning bolt is coined as "plasma", or a "spark" from an electrical wire/device is as well, yet flares, molten lava, and burning buildings are not(flares are pyrotechnic, ...
5
votes
2answers
506 views

Does lightning have mass?

My chemistry teacher/book states that lightning is just light, and therefore has no mass and takes up no space (we're not very far through the book yet, it's defining matter). However, I take issue ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

How is the energy of a lightning calculated?

I was wondering how is the energy of a lightning measured? Is it based on the luminous intensity and/or the generated sound? What about the generated heat and energy spent in the production of ozone? ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does lightning emit light?

What exactly is causing the electric discharge coming from the clouds to emit light while traveling through the air. I've read and thought about it a little but with my current knowledge I cant really ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Local real-time lightning tracker site?

Is there a site that tracks lightning strikes at a local level in real-time? Google results for "lightning tracker" yield several sites, but none do this. It seems easy enough to set up. Have ...
2
votes
3answers
247 views

How much iron ware to make a Faraday cage

In a thunderstorm I was thinking the following: suppose I am rowing in a lake during a thunderstorm. How big a Faraday cage do I need to make to protect myself? If lightning strikes the cage, will it ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Does rubber insulate lightning more effectively than air?

Last week, an Ars Technica writer was struck by lightning. He says that the 911 operators were concerned about whether or not he was wearing shoes at the time, but he didn't think it would make much ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Does a lightning rod prevent lightning strikes?

I was always under the impression that a Lightning rod worked to protect a building by being the tallest part of the building and having a low path of resistance to the ground, thus being a good ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Lightning and Charge Displacement

There is something I don't really understand about flashes of lightning. When a flash occurs, how come electricity be transferred at the speed of light since electricity's displacement is very slow ? ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

Rolling sound of thunder

When sound of thunder travels to the listener from its location,different parts of the same wave have to travel through air of different moisture levels,densities and molar masses. This is what I ...
3
votes
0answers
45 views

Nature of electricity [duplicate]

Suppose a lightning strikes and there is an iron rod and a coconut tree. How does the electricity know that rod is the least resistant path before hand.
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Where does the energy of a lightning strike go?

Lightning contains a lot of energy, so where does this energy go after lightning has hit the ground? Does it travel all the way to the core? What happens after that?
4
votes
2answers
764 views

How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...
0
votes
1answer
242 views

Travel direction of lightning

Is it possible to know whether a lightning bolt travel from the ground to the sky or from the sky to the ground? Alternatively, it could be both sides approaching
2
votes
2answers
396 views

Lightning driven electrolysis

Could a lightning bolt be harnessed to perform electrolysis, would a useful amount of hydrogen be produced? I'm imagining some industrial scale device in the ocean with some hydrogen capture ...
20
votes
4answers
455 views

Why is lightning more rare during snow storms than rain storms?

Lightning and thunder during a snow storm is uncommon. As far as I know, more uncommon than during a typical rain storm. Why is this? I speculate it might be one, or both, of the following two ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Electric field inside and outside a metallic hollow sphere

1) It is known that inside a metallic hollow sphere it will not experience outside electric field because of the charge separation of electrons and holes at the surface of sphere and creating an equal ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Does Fire Conduct Electricity? Why?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a YouTube video by Veritasium describing the conductivity of fire. My question is: how exactly does fire conduct electricity? I am a high school student; therefore ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Can Gases conduct Electricity?

Liquid electrolytes ionize and hence a current can pass through them. So if a gas can ionize, can it conduct electricity too? If so, what are a few such gases?
0
votes
3answers
438 views

Is there a way to save electricity from lightning? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can the lightning be captured and used as power source? Each lightning contains several kilo volts of electricity. Saving them could be a boon to soaring need of it. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Loopy lightning

What causes lightning to follow the path it does ? picture from BBC news: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/62891000/jpg/_62891901_untitled-1copy.jpg main page: ...
2
votes
3answers
630 views

is lightning attracted to pointy objects?

Advice I was given when growing up: in a thunderstorm, stay away from tall, pointy things. It's pretty obvious why lightning would prefer to strike tall objects, but pointy ones? Is there any truth ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

Can the lightning be captured and used as power source?

I would like to update my knowledge in this area, that is really out-of-dated and stopped somewhere like ten years ago. I asked the very same question on my physics lecture at my studies and got the ...
6
votes
2answers
991 views

Voltage and current of positive lightning

For a physics issues investigation I chose to investigate what effects lightning could have on an aeroplane while in flight if it was struck and then go on to discuss some possible implications of ...
24
votes
1answer
913 views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
9k views

Is there any significance to 1.21 GW?

In connection with a related question on Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange page: does this number 1.21 GW make any sense? What is 1.21 GWatts? With what can you compare it? Can the ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Can energy be extracted from clouds?

Can cloud charge imbalance be used as an energy source? First off quite some energy must be present in clouds: a lightning path is quite long, and electrical breakdown of air requires about 1MV/m. ...
4
votes
1answer
27k views

How much energy is in a lightning strike?

According to Wikipedia an average lightning has 1TW, the whole world used 16TW in 2006. (I suppose this means the same as 16TWh in one year?) Sometimes the lightning reaches 100kA. This peak last for ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Tying knots in power cables to prevent power surge from lightning strikes

There are plenty of references to this claim on the internet that tying knots in power cables will prevent a piece of equipment e.g. television or computer from a power surge. How can this be ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Phyics Explanation for the Tubular Shape of Petrified Lightning

When lightning strikes the ground in a sandy location it may fuze sand grains together to form a mineraloid known as Fulgurite. Is there a physics explanation for the tubular shape? Why is it hollow ...
4
votes
1answer
264 views

Why is it that when driving in a car, and a lightning bolt strikes, my AM radio gets cut off for a while, but FM stays on?

I noticed this one day, a lightning/thunder occurred and my Fabulosa Spanish music died for a second. But not FM?
9
votes
4answers
13k views

Why stay in the car during thunderstorms?

So there appears to be quite a bit of misinformation on the web as to why people should stay in their cars during a thunderstorm. So I'd like to clear some things up. One such non-nonsensical answer ...