Amatuer photo of a lightning strike, taken at the exact moment it connects.

Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge on a massive scale, the same way dragging your feet on the carpet and shocking one of your siblings is a static discharge on a small, hilarious scale.

Instead of carpet meeting your yabba dabbs doos, lightning is static that builds up inside a cloud, caused by particles of ice, rain or snow colliding as they move around.

Most lightning occur inside of clouds, between these positive (lighter) and negatively (heavier) charged particles contained within, but sometimes it happens between the cloud and the ground.

When objects on the ground (the higher the better) become positively charged – this imbalance between the negatively-charged bottom of the cloud is corrected by passing current between the two charges.

The Earth absorbs 100 lightning strikes every second, so in the time in took me to write this out, the Earth was struck 180,000 times.

Each strike contains up to 1 gigajoule of energy, which is equal to 1 million kilowatts or 1 billion volts.



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