What Is Heat Lightning?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Many people in the Midwest and East Coast have probably heard the term "heat lightning" refer to a type of lightning that occurs on hot, summer days that doesn't have any thunder associated with it.

However, 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. Areas with trees or city buildings can also help absorb the sound before it reaches 4-5 miles away.

Your Photos

YouNews Fantastic Solar Eclipse Fantastic Solar Eclipse
Chased the sun most of the day but there were enough breaks in the clouds to capture the solar eclipse and the massive
sunspot AR2192. You could view the eclipse through the clouds. These images were taken with a Meade AR6 refractor,
a Nikon D3000 DSLR, a Thousand Oaks Glass (type2) solar filter.
YouNews Double Rainbow All the Way! Double Rainbow All the Way!
My husband works at Vigor on Harbor Island. This double rainbow was directly over downtown Seattle, but these buildings were in the way. Still makes a pretty cool picture.