Lightning

Lightning

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Credit: GEOFF TOMPKINSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning. Time-exposure image of a lightning bolt striking the ground during a thunderstorm. Lightning occurs when a large electrical charge builds up in a cloud. This is probably due to the rapid movement of water droplets and ice particles within the cloud. The charge induces an opposite charge on the ground, and a few "leader electrons" travel to the ground. When one electron contacts the ground, there is a huge backflow of energy up the path of the electron. This produces a bright flash of light, and temperatures of up to 30,000 degrees Celsius.

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Keywords: atmosphere, atmospheric phenomenon, bolt, bolts, climate, electric, electrical, electrical storm, electricity, energy, flash, fork, forked, forks, ground, horizon, illuminated, illuminating, lightning, meteorological, meteorology, night, sky, storm, storms, stormy, strike, striking, thunderstorm, time-exposure, twilight, weather

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