Electrostatic Application

What is lightning?

A lightning strike happens when there is an unbalance of electrostatic charges in the atmosphere. Usually the lightning moves from cloud to cloud, then to the ground. The phenomenon know as "thunder", is the sound accompanied by the lightning strike.
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How lightning works (into more detail) (electrostatics)

-When the electrons accumulate at the bottom of the cloud, it repels the electrons in the ground and forces them away from the surface.

-A streamer of electrons then is attracted to the ground because the surface of the ground is positively charged.

-As the streamer of electrons approches the ground, the positive streamer is repeled by the ground and is attracted by the negative streamer.

-When the streamers connect they have a fairly good conductibility allowing electrons to jump to the ground, this is lightning.

see video below.

How lightning works

Fun lightning facts

Did you know that rubber shoes do nothing to protect you from lightning? That talking on the telephone is the leading cause of lightning injuries inside the home? That standing under a tall tree is one of the most dangerous places to take shelter?


Static electricity 4: Electricity and lightning. Science net links

The physics classroom, Electric fields: Lightning, \

Flash facts about lightning: National geographic

How stuff works, How lightning works,

Science joy wagon, Lightning physics