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What causes a bolt of lightning?

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Rising air. There's a principle in electrostatics called 'the separation of charges'. If you separate charged items, the voltage can become very large. So a rising column of air, that is charged, develops a big voltage and the air breaks down and a lightning bolt equalizes all that charge.

It's EXACTLY the same as walking across a carpet, dragging charges along with you, so that they are separated - then when you touch your little sister, she gets a big jolt.

The equation controlling this is C=QV. As C, the capacitance, decreases and Q, the charge, stays constant, V, the voltage increases.

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I once wrote a story about ball lightning. It had nothing to do with electricity though, but a guy who suffered from what we might call prematurity.
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And I thought you were going to tell me my formula was wrong.....
Prematurity is a very bad thing. Postmaturity is even worse..
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Postmaturity? Beautiful!
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the same thing that causes static electricity, but on a macro scale. the air, or the ground, become positively or negatively charged, and when they get charged enough it discharges, causing a spark if its between you and something else, or a lightning bolt if its in the sky

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Not sure but can't wait to see all of the religious nut jobs answering this question XD

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LOL Stavon

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..a whole lesson in physics that in my country you would be too late,too old for class instruction.