Artwork showing evolution of lightning bolt

Artwork showing evolution of lightning bolt

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Credit: DAVID A. HARDY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning bolt. Series of three images depicting the evolution of a bolt of lightning. In the top frame, a faint 'leader' is seen descending from the cloud. This is followed (centre) by the start of a spark rising from a point on the ground. When the two meet in mid-air (bottom), a channel of ionised air has been formed and the main charge of electricity may flow. This is the main bolt of lightning, usually the only part seen by the naked eye. The discharge current may be several thousand amperes across a potential difference of hundreds of millions of volts.

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Keywords: bolt, climate, electrical storm, evolution, evolutionary biology, lightning, meteorology, storms, weather

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