Was Last Week's Storm Heat Lightning?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Many wondered if last Thursday's storm was heat lighting. Many people in the Midwest have probably heard the term refer to a type of lightning that occurs on hot days that doesn't have any thunder associated with it. That was the case in the early stages last week when thousands could see lightning to the east, but not hear it.

But "heat lightning" really doesn't exist -- at least, not as a special kind of lightning. The reason you would not hear the thunder is simply because the lightning strike was too distant for you to hear it.

Light can travel much greater distances than sound, so if the lightning bolt is far enough away (say, over 10 miles), you'll see the flash, but the air will have long absorbed the sound of thunder before it reaches you. In last Thursday's case, the storms were so tall, the lightning could be seen for several miles.

Your Photos

YouNews Meteor Trail & M15 Meteor Trail & M15
Imaged a meteor trail during some calibration runs as it past the field of view of M15 Tuesday night around 11pm.
This single 4 minute exposure was taken with a 6-inch refractor (Meade AR6) and a Nikon D3000 at prime focus.
YouNews Spider web water catcher Spider web water catcher
If we could catch water this efficiently our water woes would cease to exist.Taken at the Railroad bridge park in Sequim, WA.