NASA's Terra Satellite shows smoky pall over most of California

More than 650 wildfires are blazing in California after unprecedented lightning strikes, storms, and a heatwave that has set new records in the state and NASA's Terra satellite captured the smoke-engulfed state on Aug. 24, ...

Ammonia-rich hail sheds new light on Jupiter's weather

New Juno results suggest that the violent thunderstorms taking place in Jupiter's atmosphere may form ammonia-rich hail, or 'mushballs,' that play a key role in the planet's atmospheric dynamics. This theory, developed using ...

Lightning data more useful than previously thought

Lightning is a spectacular natural phenomenon closely associated with the electrification and discharge of thunderstorms. Different types of thunderstorms correspond to different lightning characteristics and charge structures. ...

700-km Brazil 'megaflash' sets lightning record: UN

The UN's weather agency announced Thursday the longest lightning bolt on record—a single flash in Brazil on October 31, 2018 that cut the sky across more than 700 kilometers.

Gemini gets lucky and takes a deep dive into Jupiter's clouds

Researchers using a technique known as "lucky imaging" with the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii's Maunakea have collected some of the highest resolution images of Jupiter ever obtained from the ground. These images are part ...

page 1 from 26

Lightning

Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. In the atmospheric electrical discharge, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s (130,000 mph), and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F), hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass channels known as fulgurites which are normally hollow and can extend some distance into the ground. There are some 16 million lightning storms in the world every year.

Lightning can also occur within the ash clouds from volcanic eruptions, or can be caused by violent forest fires which generate sufficient dust to create a static charge.

How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate: Scientists have studied root causes ranging from atmospheric perturbations (wind, humidity, friction, and atmospheric pressure) to the impact of solar wind and accumulation of charged solar particles. Ice inside a cloud is thought to be a key element in lightning development, and may cause a forcible separation of positive and negative charges within the cloud, thus assisting in the formation of lightning.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA