You are here:

Physics/rain

Advertisement


Question
Hi,

Why many times we get rain without thunder, lightning. But sometimes we get with thunder and lightning. Why is it so? Also I read that lightning is triggered by cosmic rays, is that true?

Regards.

Answer
Lightning requires the right type of air currents to form.  This is usually associated with massive amounts of water in clouds moving up and down, but not always.  If you just get enough water vapor in air, with the right temperature shift, you can definitely get rain without the air movement that will separate electrical charges and fuel lightning.  As a laboratory model, look up Van de Graaf generators to better understand the process.

Physics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.