During thunderstorms, leaves from trees and other plants create mini electric discharges that can significantly alter the surrounding air quality. But researchers are unsure if this is beneficial or harmful.
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.
Storms in the U.S. and Uruguay set new records for longest lightning bolt and longest-duration lightning flash.
Lightning storms on early Earth may have given the planet enough phosphorus to craft the first DNA and RNA molecules, study suggests
Scientists recently calculated the power of so-called superbolts — brighter-than-average lightning strikes.
After two dead giraffes were discovered in a South African nature reserve, scientists determined that the animals had been struck by lightning.
Wildfires burning large swaths of Russia are generating so much smoke, they're visible from space, new images from NASA's Earth Observatory reveal.
A single thundercloud is more powerful than even the most potent nuclear plants on Earth. Scientists used cosmic rays to prove it.
The strange radio bursts usually circle the Earth like electromagnetic ghosts, but scientists have now created and studied their shapes in a plasma chamber on Earth.
If you draw lightning bolts like crooked zigzags, then you're doing it wrong — but at least you're in good company. Artists have drawn lightning incorrectly for hundreds of years, a new study finds.
Whistler waves are normally produced in the atmosphere by lightning. They could help protect nuclear fusion reactors from runaway electrons.
A powerful storm is causing ice crystals to form strange, radar-confusing patterns above New York City.
Death from lightning strike hit a record low in 2017 in the United States, according to a new report.
A spectacular outburst of jet lightning, also known as "gigantic jets," was captured by the Gemini Observatory’s cloud camera on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on July 24, 2017.