The Cause Of Lightening

Long ago people believed lightning was a sign and cause of angry gods. Now we know that it is far more scientific, learn all the facts today!

Once long ago people thought that the bright flashes in the sky were signs that they had displeased their gods and that they were being punished. They made ritualistic sacrifices to appease these angry Gods, but the lightning continued. A lot of these people just thought they were still doing something wrong, but some people began to think. They eventually discovered that lightning was merely a stream of electricity being passed from the ground and from clouds.

One of the first people to prove lightning was actually an electric current was Benjamin Franklin. He tested his hypothesis that lightning was an electric current by flying a kite into the air during a thunderstorm with a key on it capable of conducting electricity. Today we would view his acts as stupid and perhaps insane, but back then he didn't know of the power electricity had.

He observed a shock that came from his kite when it was hit by lightning. Electricity was actually being passed from his kite to him into the ground. The electricity in lightning always tries to achieve the shortest distance from the air to the ground, which is why Ben's kite was such a good target. Had he known of this, he probably could have better observed it and been safer if he had simply attached a lightning rod onto a top of a high building on an open plain.

Because of lightning's path from the air to the ground, standing under trees during a lightning storm is not a good idea. The negatively charged atoms in the sky try to establish equilibrium with the more positively charged atoms around them and stream towards the ground. The ground serves as an anchor and the two charges cancel each other out. Because of this, if you are ever in a lightning storm and seeking safety, it is best to get away from high objects and keep as low as possible.

Some of the first people thought to have harnessed the great power of lighting were some of the natives of the Americas. It is thought that they probably were able to utilize the heat caused by lightning in the form of fire and it allowed them to cook, heat their homes, and forge more powerful weaponry. You can plainly see the importance of lighting throughout history through this; fire was one of the main reasons people were able to advance out of the dark ages.

Lighting, while being at times helpful, also causes many problems. Obviously, being struck by it can be often times fatal, as having huge amounts of energy passed through your body is generally not a good thing. At the same time, it can cause some very odd things, such as striking sand and forming glass in the intense heat.

Lighting, while being beautiful to look at, should be treated with respect. Learn what causes it and how to be safe from it in case you are one day in danger because of it.

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