Lightning is essentially a giant spark of static electricity, though much about how and why it forms remains unknown and the subject of scientific research. It is known that lightning occurs in thunderstorms when there is a separation of electrical charge within the storm clouds, which can cause cloud-to-cloud lightning, the majority of lightning that occurs in a storm. A charge separation can also form between thunderstorm clouds and the ground, leading to classic cloud-to-ground lightning. Thunder is the acoustic shock wave that results from the heat that a lightning strike produces. NASA research suggests that lightning flashes 40 times a second around the globe. Read about the latest lightning research and see amazing lightning photos below.
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Incredible Technology: How to Map a Lightning Strike
lightning over oregon
October 14th, 2013
The science of lightning detection has improved dramatically since Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm in 1752. Researchers can now predict conditions that precede a bolt from the blue, and track the location and strength of a strike while it's o
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Brilliant Red Sprite Lightning Caught on Camera
Column-shaped red sprites
August 21st, 2013
Amazing new photos and video of the elusive red lightning called sprites are helping researchers understand how the mysterious electric bursts form. Dancing on the tops of thunderstorms, sprites last less than a second. They look like jellyfish and have
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Why Eerie Green Lightning Zapped an Erupting Volcano
Green lightning strikes an erupting Chilean volcano
December 9th, 2013
A storm of charged particles coursing through a volcanic ash cloud sparked the spectacular green lightning snapped in a pair of photos at Chile's Chaiten Volcano in 2008.
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Electrocution: New Way to Erode Mountains
Drakensberg mountains
October 25th, 2013
The piles of angular, jumbled rocks that mark mountain summits result from powerful explosions sparked by lightning, a new study shows.
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Is a Car Really a Safe Place to Be When Lightning Strikes?
lightning, tips
September 4th, 2013
Some people may think that the rubber tires on a car help protect a driver and occupants from a lightning strike, but it is a myth.
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How to Survive a Lightning Strike
July 19th, 2013
Lightning strikes worldwide kill about 24,000 people each year, and roughly 240,000 people are injured on an annual basis. Here's what you can do to avoid being a lightning strike statistic.
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