How wide is lightning?


Quick Answer

The channel of a lightning bolt is only about the width of a pencil, or less than half an inch. However, a lightning bolt appears to be hundreds of feet in length and so bright because it has the optical equivalent of millions of light bulbs.

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Full Answer

The air temperature in the core of a lightning bolt is estimated to be a staggering 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. There are an estimated 1.4 million flashes of lightning each year on Earth. Lightning is typically produced from cumulonimbus clouds with a base 1 mile above ground and a top 9 miles above ground. The main types of lightning discharges take the form of being either cloud to ground, cloud to cloud or cloud to air.

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