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# why doesn’t lightning travel in a straight line?

merlin ankunding

lvl 9
2020-02-05 15:56:22

so it’s kind of a complicated process, but here’s the two-sentence version: lightning is an electric current that takes the path of least resistance from the base of a cloud to the ground. since the air it travels through is not uniform—variations in things like temperature, humidity, and pollutants determine how resistant air is to the charge—the lightning has to zig and zag to stay on that path.

mia herzog

lvl 9
2020-02-05 16:01:51
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52
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32
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chloe shelton

lvl 1
2021-05-17 19:14:10
did you know all that information or did you already now it?

harper eagleman

lvl 1
2021-05-24 17:48:33
yeah

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-05-26 03:29:25
that's right

skylar hamilton will

lvl 1
2021-05-26 22:48:57
i thought it was because of the gertule between thunder and air

jannelle dante

lvl 1
2021-06-02 14:52:33
because air is not a perfect mixture. there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust particles, etc. in the air, and so the resistance varies.

therese herrick

lvl 1
2021-06-02 20:19:26

isabel rm

lvl 1
2021-06-10 15:35:01
tgyuk

anonymous _lexii

lvl 1
2021-06-16 13:25:18
because the light gets blocked. if the light could have the ability to take a curve and travel, we could have seen the lightwave.

mice pigs

lvl 1
2021-06-17 14:29:44
lord log commanded it to travil like a wavey wee

nathaniel gillam

lvl 1
2021-07-02 03:04:19
she looked it up on google

mic wolfaardt

lvl 1
2021-07-03 20:26:22
a short answer; there are variant electrical charges in the atmosphere and lightening, being a negative electrical charge, goes wherever it is 'attracted' to; i've seen 'flash' lightening on the highveldt, while the cape peninsula has 'forked' lightening

gooooooooooood

lvl 1
2021-07-05 11:11:24
avoided?

nelson chuan

lvl 1
2021-07-09 08:13:59
what an joke.i looked in google but it is different i am giving it in my whatver answer box

nelson chuan

lvl 1
2021-07-09 08:17:30

andrew magrisso

lvl 1
2021-07-19 20:42:44
most of these answers minus the "tries to find ground."

andrew magrisso

lvl 1
2021-07-19 20:42:44
most of these answers minus the "tries to find ground."
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kinsler33

lvl 2
2021-05-18 04:40:00

one way to understand it is to look at a crack in the sidewalk (or perhaps a cracker) and compare that shape to the path of a lightning stroke through the sky. lightning usually originates at altitudes of around ten miles, and can reach about that far horizontally. air does not conduct electricity until it is broken down ('ionized') by a high voltage electric field. this breakdown is a random, unpredictable process that proceeds in a series of steps between the sky and the earth.

derrick reichert

lvl 1
2021-05-19 18:04:54

christelle borer

lvl 1
2021-05-19 20:05:50
thanks!!

david jackson

lvl 1
2021-05-22 05:32:53
why is there a cracker in the sidewalk? is he drunk? could he be having an epilepsy event? please, someone call dr. graham immediately!

isabela helmick

lvl 1
2021-06-03 13:25:18
lol

asrita kumar

lvl 4
2021-06-09 11:01:18

lightning basically tries to find the path of least resistance as it travels down to the ground. but this is not always a straight line because air is not a perfect mixture. there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust particles, etc. in the air, and so the resistance varies. the path it chooses doesn’t have to be a straight line (remember, a straight line means ‘the least distance’ and not ‘the least resistance’). in fact, you will never see a straight bolt of lightning, at least not in the real world. does lightning travel up or down?

dawson levesque

lvl 2
2020-02-12 15:49:26

lightning is basically tries to find a path with least resistance as it travels down to the ground

isabela helmick

lvl 1
2021-06-03 13:25:57
simple version :]

eukraios cabrito

lvl 3
2021-05-26 03:33:31

actually they need a path where they have the easiest to ionize

it means there is a 60 meter easy ionization ball

(cuz that's what i call it) of where it still strike (if it really strikes)

if it strikes, it would likely hit the one closest to the 60 meter ball

so it like a person and a tree either getting struck depending on where they were.

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-05-26 03:34:05
it actually goes to where it ionizes easiest btw

charley bins

lvl 1
2021-05-26 09:06:07

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-06-07 10:37:44
the action lab (but the ball thing was something i would call it

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-06-07 10:54:19
also it

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-06-07 10:54:35
also it was just what i remember

eukraios cabrito

lvl 1
2021-06-07 10:54:57

nelson chuan

lvl 3
2021-07-09 08:15:17

air is actually not a good conductor and hence when lightning strikes, it will try to take a path through ions or water droplets in the air. hence, lightning doesn't strike straight down as ions and water molecules don't line up in a straight line in the air.

nelson chuan

lvl 1
2021-07-09 08:16:05

[c2023] mukesh sevuk...

lvl 5
2021-07-07 09:09:15

air is actually not a good conductor and hence when lightning strikes, it will try to take a path through ions or water droplets in the air. hence, lightning doesn't strike straight down as ions and water molecules don't line up in a straight line in the air.

clemmie schiller

lvl 1
2021-07-10 05:05:41
can you explain how you know

chea phanakphu

lvl 5
2021-06-23 07:12:41

lightning basically tries to find the path of least resistance as it travels down to the ground. but this is not always a straight line because air is not a perfect mixture. there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust particles, etc. in the air, and so the resistance varies.

lvl 1
2021-06-25 19:05:44
thank youuu

kwalabapuzo

lvl 7
2021-06-01 20:45:17

lighting is an electric current. it's a flow of electrons that's about a thousand times stronger than the current in our houses.

lightning basically tries to find the path of least resistance as it travels down to the ground.

but this is not always a straight line because air is not a perfect mixture.

there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust particles, etc. in the air, and so the resistance varies.

as a result, lightning strikes are often observed in a zigzag pattern.

mylene wintheiser

lvl 1
2021-06-03 10:05:21

isabela helmick

lvl 1
2021-06-03 13:27:04
lol

anya kub

lvl 1
2021-06-03 17:05:43
tyyy

mckenna lien

lvl 1
2021-06-10 02:56:50
that's true

lily bai

lvl 5
2021-06-12 06:12:08

lightning basically tries to find the path of least resistance as it travels down to the ground. but this is not always a straight line because air is not a perfect mixture. there are fluctuations in temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust particles, etc. in the air, and so the resistance varies.