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

  • $\begingroup$ I believe the earth is positively charged in comparison to the clouds - or conversely the clouds are negatively charged compared to the ground. So I'd say the electron current always comes down from the sky. Maybe this wikipage could help: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning#Discharge. $\endgroup$
    – Wouter
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Related: physics.stackexchange.com/q/55340/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Sep 22, 2014 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


Yes it is: lightning in slow-mo
In general, both are possible, see: types of lightning

  • $\begingroup$ that's one of my favorite youtube videos. $\endgroup$
    – emarti
    Jan 27, 2013 at 23:36

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