Q:

How fast does lightning travel?

A:

Quick Answer

Lightning travels at around 220,000 miles per hour when traveling downwards from a cloud, and then reaches a speed of 220,000,000 miles per hour when moving skyward on its return stroke. A flash of lightning is just 1 to 2 inches wide, but it generates a massive amount of electricity that is equal to 300 million volts, or 30,000 amps.

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Full Answer

Lightning is extremely deadly and can kill a person on impact. To reduce the chances of being struck by lightning, it is important to avoid handling any metal objects or electronics during a thunderstorm, or while lightning is present in the distance. Certain signs such as a strange burning smell in the air or an abnormal spike of static electricity on portable electronic devices may mean that a lighting strike is imminent.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where does lightning come from?

    A:

    Lightning forms when opposite charges between a cloud and the ground or between two clouds develop. The charges have to be large enough to overcome the resistance of air to create a visible lightning spark. A single lightning strike can reach up to 100 million volts and generate temperatures five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

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  • Q:

    What color is lightning?

    A:

    Lightning is usually white, but it can be a variety of colors depending on what the light travels through to get to the viewer’s eyes. In snowstorms, lightning can appear pink or green. Particles in the atmosphere affect the color by absorbing or diffracting a portion of the white light.

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  • Q:

    How does lightning form?

    A:

    Lightning forms when the electrons in the bottom of a cloud are attracted to the protons in the ground. When the attraction of these electrical charges is greater than the surrounding air's resistance to electrical flow, the electrons are able to stream down to the protons. At this point, lightning forms, heating the air around it and causing the air to expand. Thunder is then heard.

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  • Q:

    What is the charge-cloud model?

    A:

    The charge cloud model is an atomic model postulated by Erwin Schrödinger that takes into account the particle-wave duality of electrons orbiting an atomic nucleus. This model assigns a cloud of probability densities in regions around an atomic nucleus where electrons can be found with a high degree of certainty.

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