There is a common stereotype, stating that lightning strikes from the top down.This is not so, because in addition to land, there are intracloud lightning and even lightning, which exist only in the ionosphere.

lightning is a huge electric shock, the current which can reach hundreds of thousands of amperes and voltage - hundreds of millions of watts.The length of some lightning in the atmosphere could reach tens of kilometers.

Nature lightning

first time the physical nature of the lightning described American scientist Benjamin Franklin.In the early 1750s, he conducted an experiment on the study of atmospheric electricity.Franklin waited onset of stormy weather, and launched into the sky kite.The snake struck by lightning, and Benjamin came to the conclusion about t
he electrical nature of lightning.Scientist lucky - at about the same time, the Russian researcher G. Richman also studied atmospheric electricity, was killed by a lightning strike in the machine designed it.

most fully studied processes of lightning in storm clouds.If lightning runs in the cloud, it is called intracloud.If strikes the ground, it is called ground.

Ground lightning

The formation of ground lightning involves several stages.First, the electric field in the atmosphere reaches its critical value, ionization occurs, and finally, the spark discharge is produced, which strikes of lightning cloud to ground.

Strictly speaking, lightning strikes from the top down only partially.First, from the cloud toward the ground rushes initial discharge.The closer he comes to the earth's surface, the more enhanced electric field.Because of this, towards the approaching lightning ejected from the ground return charge.After this, connecting heaven and earth ionized channel lightning thrown head.He really hit the top down.

intracloud lightning

intracloud lightning is usually a lot more ground.Their length can be up to 150 km.The area is located close to the equator, the more likely it occur intracloud lightning.If the northern latitudes ratio intracloud and ground lightning is approximately the same, in the equatorial band intracloud lightning is approximately 90% of all lightning.

sprites, elves and jets

Apart from the usual lightning storm, there are little-studied phenomenon as elves, sprites and jets.Sprites are like lightning, which appear at an altitude of 130 km.Jets are formed in the lower layers of the ionosphere and are level in the form of blue cones.Bits-elves also have a conical shape and can reach a diameter of several hundred kilometers.Elves usually appear at an altitude of about 100 km.