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How to study the lightning?

Learn what will happen is unclear where and when, is very difficult. And so for many years worked with scientists exploring the nature of lightning.

I used to think that a storm in heaven directs the prophet Elijah, and we cannot know his plans. However, scientists for a very long time tried to replace Elijah the prophet, creating a conductive channel between a thundercloud and the ground. Benjamin Franklin to do this during a lightning storm launched the kite ended wire and a bunch of metal keys. This he called the weak discharges flowing down the wire, and first proved that lightning is a negative electrical charge flowing down from the clouds to the earth. It is clear that Franklin was very risky because lightning could strike at the serpent, and then an electric current of large magnitude would have come to earth through the body of the experimenter.

At the same time, the nature of atmospheric electricity studied Russian scientist M. C. Lomonosov. He made a correct guess about the vertical currents in the atmosphere and appearance of electric charges in the clouds.

Lomonosov was built Gromoboy machine"representing the capacitor, which was charged atmospheric electricity through the wire, the end of which was raised above the ground on a high pole. The capacitor was in University office. During thunderstorms could be extracted sparks from the condenser, when approached with his hands. These experiments, and the experiments of Franklin, were extremely dangerous. During such experiments in 1753 the eyes of the Lomonosov died who worked with him, his friend, the German scientist Georg Richman.

Experiments University and Franklin showed that lightning clouds heavily charged with electricity.

Modern satellite measurements and ground-based registration system lightning give researchers enough reliable maps of the distribution of the frequency of lightning flashes across the surface of the Earth

In the 1990s, researchers have learned to call lightning, without endangering his life. One way to cause the zipper to start from the ground a small rocket right into a thundercloud. Along the whole trajectory of the missile ionizes the air and creates thus a conductive channel between the cloud and earth. And if the negative charge of the bottom of the cloud is large enough, then created along the channel there is a discharge lightning Parameters of this discharge register devices to the side of the launch pad rocket. To create even better conditions for the discharge of lightning, a rocket attached metal wire connecting it to the ground.

The lightning-initiated launch
A few lightning bolts caused by a missile launch in a thundercloud.
The left vertical line is the trace of the rocket.

In addition, it is possible to control lightning discharges using powerful lasers that are able to organise extended plasma channels in air, such as those that occur when lightning strikes.

This is interesting!

The Lightning Rod Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, trying to defend the Capitol, the capital of Maryland in 1775 attached to the building thick iron rod. He towered over the dome for a few meters and was connected with the earth. The scientist refused to patent his invention, wanting it as soon as possible start to serve people.

News of the lightning rod Franklin quickly spread all over Europe, and he was elected to all of the Academy, including Russian. However, in some countries devout population met this invention with indignation. The idea that man is so easy and can tame the main weapon of the "God of wrath", seemed blasphemous. Therefore, in different places of pious considerations broke lightning. A curious incident occurred in 1780 in the small town of Saint-Omer in Northern France, where citizens demanded to tear the mast lightning rod, and the case went to trial. A young lawyer defending a lightning rod from the attacks of obscurantist, built protection that the mind of man, and his ability to conquer the forces of nature are of divine origin. Everything that helps to save lives, for the good - showed a young lawyer. He won the case and became very famous.

...Lawyer's name was Maximilian Robespierre.

...A portrait of the inventor of the lightning rod is the most desirable reproduction in whole world, since it adorns known a hundred dollar bill.

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