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Lightning but no thunder?

(16 Posts)
NomNomNominativeDeterminism Sun 27-May-18 21:56:16

Could someone explain lightning physics? It was lighting up the sky spectacularly, so why could I not hear thunder?

Pangur2 Sun 27-May-18 21:57:06

I wondering about this too yesterday (London). Was it very very high up perhaps?

LollipopViolet Sun 27-May-18 22:04:19

heat lightning?

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Sun 27-May-18 22:07:09

Could be, lollipop. Wow!

SouthwarkSkaters Sun 27-May-18 22:11:42

Lightning is an electrical discharge and thunder is the noise caused by it. Because light travels much faster than sound, you generally don’t hear the thunder for a few seconds after the lightning. The closer together they are, the closer to you the lightning has struck.

So basically what it means is the lightning was probably striking too far from you for you to hear the thunder.

DanFmDorking Sun 27-May-18 22:11:52

It's because the lightning is too far away and the sound dissipates before it reaches you.

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Sun 27-May-18 22:16:32

So how far away does it have to be for the sound not to reach you?

SouthwarkSkaters Sun 27-May-18 22:22:30

About 20 km (Siri tells me that’s 12.43 miles - sorry, I’m from a metric country with an awful lot of thunderstorms smile )

DanFmDorking Sun 27-May-18 22:26:25

This map shows the thunder sound front on higher zoom levels.

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Sun 27-May-18 22:31:26

That map is beautiful.

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Sun 27-May-18 22:35:54

Another question. If I’m watching planes land and it looks like they gain significant height after I first see them but before they land, is that because they do fly higher, or because of the curve of the earth?

DanFmDorking Sun 27-May-18 22:56:12

nope, sorry, I don't know

FishFingerInjury Sun 27-May-18 23:08:15

Can you see the amazing lightening cloud tonight too. It looked really close to us but my BIL who is about 20 miles away can see it too.

It was beautiful.

FishFingerInjury Sun 27-May-18 23:09:13

Oh and we live on a flight path of a busy airport and I can’t say I’ve noticed that with landing planes.

PastBananas Sun 27-May-18 23:27:58

Planes thing - if they are coming towards you it is just a matter of perspective. They only look higher up because they are getting closer.

NomNomNominativeDeterminism Mon 28-May-18 07:57:51

Perspective! Ah. I see this is my Father Ted moment <feels like an idiot>. Thank you PastBananas, for a revelation that has made me smile on a Monday morning.

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