logo

You are here

VUBToday: VUB-scientists discover why lightning often strikes twice

In contrast to popular belief, lightning often does strike twice, but the reason why a lightning channel is ‘reused’ has remained a mystery. Now, an international research team led by the University of Groningen, including prof. Olaf Scholten and Stijn Buitink (VUB), has used the LOFAR radio telescope to study the development of lightning flashes in unprecedented detail. Their work reveals that the negative charges inside a thundercloud are not discharged all in a single flash, but are in part stored alongside the leader channel at Interruptions. This occurs inside structures which the researchers have called needles. Through these needles, a negative charge may cause a repeated discharge to the ground. The results were published on 18 April in the science journal Nature.  read more on VUB Today