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Forces of Nature: Lightning 101
Image: iStockphoto.com/vgeniy1

Forces of Nature: Lightning 101

Lightning is striking right now, and it’s likely accompanied by thunder.

In spite of their common occurrence, thunderstorms with deadly flashes of electricity still give scientists something to study. Discover where most lightning strikes in the U.S. and elsewhere — and why you should always proceed with caution in its presence.

National Geographic
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Lightning Safety Tips

Lightning Safety Tips

Lightning kills thousands of people every year around the world. Even though hundreds more survive strikes, you want to do everything you can do avoid an electrical storm. Memorize these safety tips. More...

Article
National Geographic
Lightning: Photo Gallery

Lightning: Photo Gallery

It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice. Take a look at where beautiful bolts of electricity have landed around the world — and beware: It’s not always on the tallest object. More...

Images
National Geographic
Current Lightning Research

Current Lightning Research

Scientists in Florida are launching rockets not because it's fun but to study lightning. Discover how they safely create artificial lightning bolts and trigger strikes from clouds. More...

Article
PBS
How Lightning Forms

How Lightning Forms

When positive and negative charges clash in a storm, they complete an electrical circuit and discharge electricity as lightning. Why do we see lightning long before we hear thunder? Find out. More...

Article
PBS
Lightning

Lightning

After hundreds of years of study, this force of nature remains mysterious...even though it strikes millions of times a day. See how scientists are trying to study its start inside a storm. More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
Lightning Varieties

Lightning Varieties

Great balls of fire may refer to an unusual and never-photographed form of lightning. Take a look at elves, blue jets, red sprites, and other variations on this flashy theme. More...

Interactive
NOVA/PBS
Lightning: Expert Q&A

Lightning: Expert Q&A

Joe Dwyer enlightens with his answers to questions about lightning as an alternative energy source, what you shouldn’t touch if it strikes your car, why Florida gets so many bolts, and more. More...

Profile
NOVA/PBS
Make Lightning Strike

Make Lightning Strike

Lightning is striking again: about 100 times a second all over the Earth. You can cause a bolt to hit a house, tree, car, and a person to find out what it will do. (Hint: It’s not pretty.) More...

Interactive
National Geographic
The Case Files: William Jennings

The Case Files: William Jennings

More than a century ago photographer William Jennings was the first to capture lightning on film. Read his letters describing this innovative, award-worthy achievement. More...

Profile
The Franklin Institute
The Lightning Rod

The Lightning Rod

To protect people, buildings, and other structures from lightning, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin developed his idea for the lightning rod. Learn about the value of this 18th-century invention. More...

Article
The Franklin Institute
When Lightning Strikes

When Lightning Strikes

Lightning strikes can be deadly, and each of the millions of flashes has the potential to cause a devastating shock. Find out how to keep your distance and stay safe. More...

Video
NOAA
When Lightning Strikes: Video

When Lightning Strikes: Video

The most deadly natural disaster, lightning kills hundreds of people every year in the U.S. Watch eyewitnesses describe one such tragic event. More...

Video
National Geographic

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