How fast is lightning?

Topic started by Mortein on Jan. 11, 2011. Last post by hitsusatsu11 3 years, 6 months ago.
Post by Mortein (1,558 posts) See mini bio Level 9

How fast is lightning?

I've seen many different sources saying different things.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning

On Wikipedia it is stated how lightning can travel at speeds of 220,000 km/h, which is

61 100 m/s. The speed of light is 299 800 000 m/s, so lightning is 0.0002x the speed of light, or 4 900x slower then light.

 

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_fast_does_lightning_travel

According to this it is 75 miles per second, or 120 675 m/s. which is 0.0004x the speed of light, or 2450 times slower then light.

 

  http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4082461.html

According to this site it is about 3,700 miles per second, or 5 953 km/s, or 5 953 000 m/s, which is 0.02x the speed of light or 50 times slower then light.

       

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00189.htm

 This last link looks most reliable, so I’ll quote few passages.

  
 „However, the speed is normally no more than half
 the speed of light, usually substantially less.“
  

„Per the MEDICAL MYSTERIES LIGHTNING STRIKES video put out by the Discovery Channel(2000 Publication), it states that lightning travels at a rate of 60,000 miles a second.“

  Here we have two sources, one which states how speed of lightning is normally no more than half the speed of light (suggesting it can possibly go even beyond the 0.5x speed of light), but it’s usually less then that.

 And the other which simply states how speed of lightning is 60 000 miles per second, or 96 540 000 m/s 0.322 x the speed of light

  
  
 So what are your thoughts on subject ?
  
 To me it looks like the speed of lightning is more inconsistent then the speed of DBZ characters lol jk.
Post by sickVisionz (4,223 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator
Lightning doesn't travel at the speed of light (it's not light, it's just something that generates light) but it travels faster than the speed of sound.  That's all I know.
 
The light generated from it moves at that speed of light but lightning itself isn't actually light, it's electricity and the speed it can cut through the air is based on the general speed electricity can travel filtered through atmospheric conditions that can either help or impede it, which is probably why there are so many different measurements for how fast it travels.
 
Phrases like, "usually travels," "can travel," and "travels up to" are keywords for seeing that its speed can vary.
Post by Newdeath (18,555 posts) See mini bio Level 19
Well as far as I know, a lightning bolt can reach a speed level of 140,000 mph. 
 
ND
Post by SSJjanemba (2,176 posts) See mini bio Level 11

my professer said it was the speed of light, but from what i heard it is 1/3 speed of light
Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,711 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Go's from hypersonic to 1/2 the speed of light. 
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