We have all seen lightning and been surprised by the giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between the clouds and the air. The thunder and loud rumble of the phenomenon can scare a lot of people. If one can observe closely, on film or otherwise, lightning is always seen in a “zigzag” pattern known as steps.
These “zigzags” (also known as steps) are explained in a recent study that was published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. It also explains how lightning can travel thousands of miles.
Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground or within the clouds themselves, depending on National Geographic. Most lightning strikes occur within clouds. “Leaf lightning” describes a distant bolt of lightning that illuminates the entire base of a cloud. Other visible studs may appear as beads, ribbons, or rocket beams.
Thunderclouds have powerful electric fields that excite electrons to the point where they have enough energy to produce “single delta oxygen molecules.”
These molecules and electrons combine to form a small, strongly conducting step that briefly emits bright light.
Another bright, flashing jump occurs after a brief pause during setup at the end of the step. The procedure is repeated continuously to form the zigzags.
According to the The conversation, Lightning photographs reveal a multitude of details that cannot be seen with the naked eye. There are usually four…