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An Introduction to Dark Lightning

dark lightning

Image credit: Lightning Wall by أسامة الطيب via Wikimedia commons. Licensed by CC.

As we know, lightning is caused by the charge separation in a cloud. When electrons negatively charged is accumulated at the basis of a thundercloud, anything it passes over would be positively charged. If the cloud passes over a quite high object, such as a skyscraper, the electrons could jump up, thus producing the pitchfork of light streaking across the sky.

Scientists have identified that the process of producing regular lightning could create sprays of x-rays and gamma rays which are ejected into the atmosphere as well. This phenomenon is called by scientists as dark lightning. Although we are unable to see it, dark lightning could really generate some very measurable cascade effects.

If you want to know more about dark lightning, please check out the following video made by NASA.