Who doesn’t know it: It’s been muggy all day, rain clouds are gathering, and it is getting completely dark outside. You cuddle up in a warm blanket at home, open the window to listen to the sound of the pattering rain. That’s when it really starts; first comes the lightning, then the deafening thunder. A fascinating natural spectacle, isn’t it? But one thing stands out: not all lightning bolts look the same. What exactly is it all about? What types of lightning are there?
A line lightning is the simplest lightning bolt in terms of shape. It is characterized by the fact that it has no branches. However, this does not automatically mean that it is racing towards the earth like a straight line; it can still draw arcs or run in a zigzag pattern. The line flash is the most common lightning in this country.
As the name suggests, the surface flash is noticeable because it occupies a particularly large area. This can be traced back to numerous ramifications . If the sky is lit up over a large area, it can be assumed that it is this type of lightning. Because the clouds also serve as a reflection surface, the lightning bolts usually appear even more powerful than they actually are. This lightning bolt often occurs as so-called weather light, so that you can see the strong, glaring light in the sky, but not the associated thunder, as the distance is usually too great.
Pearl cord lightning
A pearl string lightning occurs very rarely. The name comes from the fact that there are several luminous fragments, which appear separated by a certain distance, but are nevertheless connected to one another by a thin “thread”. So it looks like a string of pearls. How exactly these lightning strikes occur has not yet been clarified. It is assumed that the lightning channel becomes unstable in some places, so that the lightning is only connected by a small string.
This phenomenon also occurs only very sporadically, which is why its existence is thoroughly controversial. They shine longer than the other types and also have a completely different shape. It used to be called the “big fireball” ; they can shine in a wide variety of colors and suddenly dissolve again with a loud bang.