Interesting Facts About Lightning and Thunder
It's a powerful electric discharge, an astonishing flash of light with the deafening thunder following it. Lightning is quite a common phenomenon that is very dangerous and destructive, though, so make sure that in a thunderstorm you are in a safe place, for example, at home. But what else do you know about lightning bolts? People have studied lightning for a long time but have begun to make discoveries very recently, and so many things are still to reveal! Here you'll find the most interesting, amazing, sometimes even scary or funny facts about lightning that you might not know. For example, what is the temperature of lightning? What is the voltage and amperage of a lighting strike? Is it dangerous for planes?
Top 10 Amazing Facts
- Earth is not the only planet in the Solar System where lightning occurs — it has also been detected on Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Saturn.
- Planes all over the world get struck by lightning almost daily. Every aircraft is hit by a bolt of lightning on average 1-2 times per year. But thanks to lightning protection covering all over the plane, the crew, passengers, and equipment are safe.
- The longest lightning bolt ever recorded is about 768 kilometers! It was detected in 2020 in the south USA.
- The lightning voltage ranges from several tens of millions to a billion Volts, while the amperage can reach 100 thousand Amperes!
- The longest single flash of lightning was recorded in 2020 in Argentina. It had been lasting 17.1 seconds!
- Although a chance of a lightning strike hitting a person is very small, Roy Sullivan has been struck seven times in his lifetime and stayed alive. He was even enlisted in the Guinness World Records for this.
- Lightning strike (return stroke) travels at an incredible speed of up to 100 thousand kilometers per second. This is only three times less than the speed of light.
- In addition to the usual lightning bolts we are used to seeing, there are also blue jets, elves, and sprites. These types of lightning occur in the upper atmosphere, and their duration is much shorter.
- In Russian, most people mistakenly call a widespread lightning protection system ''thunder rod'' (gromootvod). In fact, the right term for this will be "lightning rod", which makes more sense.
- Overall, about 1.4 billion lightning strikes occur on the entire Earth during the year. That's about 44 flashes per second! Thanks to satellites, we can track them.