Interesting science: 15 beyond belief facts about lightning! 6/1/2016 • Lynda Earls
Are you afraid of lightning? Well, it’s no wonder since lightning is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable phenomena of nature. Let’s discover the most exciting and interesting facts about it!
Lightning is wonderful and mysterious at the same time. Scientists all over the world try to study and classify it using various techniques. However, there are still many gaps in our knowledge of lightning. Here are several facts on lightning that scientists are sure about:
Every minute there are about 1800 thunderstorms with lightning in the world.
Every year the Earth gets about 25 million of lightning strikes. This is more than 100 strikes per second.
An average duration of lightning is one quarter of a second and it consists of 3 or 4 electric charges.
People can hear the sound of thunder 12 miles away from the lightning.
Lightning approaches the Earth at a speed of 60,000 km (37,282 ml) per second.
As a rule, the temperature of lightning is about 50,000 F⁰ (27,760 °C) which is 5 times higher than the temperature on the surface of the Sun.
Famous saying that lightning never strikes twice is actually erroneous. It can strike at the same place an unlimited number of times. For example, there are about 23 lightning strikes at the spire of the Empire State Building in NY yearly.
Current rate of a lightning bolt is 10-500 thousand amperes while its electric potential reaches millions and even billions of volts.
When a powerful lightning bolt strikes at the sand, the latter is transformed into so-called fulgurites – hollow glass tubes. The largest fulgurites ever found are 5 meters long.
Usually, the length of lightning is 2.5 km (1.6 ml), but sometimes it may reach 20 km (12.4 ml)!
Interestingly, lightning is typical not only of our planet. This phenomenon regularly happens on other planets of the Solar system which have atmosphere: Venus, Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The chances that you will be hit by lightning are 1 to 1,000,000. It’s almost the same as one’s chances to die of falling from a bed.
There are several unbelievable cases in the world when people were struck by lightning more than once. Roy Cleveland Sullivan, for example, a park ranger in Virginia, USA, was hit by lightning for 7 times! Every time he managed to survive and was even nicknamed a "Human Lightning Conductor". But as a result, he got a mental disorder and fell into depression. In 1983, he died under mysterious circumstances. Officially, he committed a suicide.
Another strange story happened to Marta Maikia, a Bulgarian woman whose first husband was killed by lightning in 1935. The astonishing thing is that her two next husbands died for the same reason.
If you happen to be in the open country during a thunderstorm, remember that it’s better to find shelter immediately. But never stand under a tree no matter how tall it is, because trees frequently attract lightning. According to researchers, lightning strikes most often at oaks and least often at beeches.
And here is the video recently shot by scientists of Florida Institute of Technology at a very high speed:
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