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What causes lightning?

Dear Dr. Universe: What causes lightning?

-Monica, 10, Costa Rica

And while we’re at it, let’s answer these questions:

When lightning strikes the ocean, what happens to the fish? –Olivia, 12, Manchester, UK

Why is lightning attracted to metal objects? –Grant, 11, Pullman, Wash.

Why does lightning sometimes just happen in clouds? –Leo, 11, Cayman Islands

 

Dear Monica, Olivia, Grant, and Leo:

While you are probably not in the middle of an electrical storm right now, there are more than 1,000 happening at any given moment on our planet. They happen on Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter, too.   » More …