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Frequent Flyers Could Take a Hit of Radiation from Lightning


San Francisco — The energy released by a lightning bolt is so strong that it creates an intense flash of light and usually loud thunder. But recent data taken by spacecraft and a few crazy research pilots reveals that lightning also often emits an intense burst of X-rays and gamma rays. The bursts typically radiate [...]

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Wind Turbines Generate “Upside-Down” Lightning [Video]

image of lightning emanating off of several wind turbine blades

The turning blades can actually help spark lightning strikes, potentially incapacitating wind turbines

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Lightning x-rays imaged for the first time [Video]

SAN FRANCISCO—The first 30 pixels of information ever recorded of a lightning bolt in the x-ray spectrum was presented as a video December 14 here at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.   Despite being a common weather occurrence, lightning is still poorly understood as a natural phenomenon. Scientists are not sure what triggers [...]

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Harness lightning for energy, thanks to high humidity?


Why do the roiling, black clouds of a thunderstorm produce lightning? Ben Franklin and others helped prove that such lightning was discharged electricity, but what generates that electricity in such prodigious quantities? After all, storms generate millions of lightning bolts around the globe every year—even volcanoes can get in on the act as the recent [...]

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Plugged In

Could lightning keep the lights on?


Could lightning be used as an energy resource? The answer is “yes” – but you probably don’t want it to. A single bolt of lightning contains approximately 1 billion joules of energy, or about 300 kilowatt-hours (300 kWh). The average American home uses around 900 kWh (more than 3 billion joules of energy) each month. [...]

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