Can Lightning Travel Through a Vacuum?

In summary, lightning cannot travel through a vacuum because there is no air or other gas to create the plasma needed for it to occur. Therefore, sitting in a vacuum chamber would have no effect on the probability of being hit by lightning as there would be no lightning present. However, it is possible to have an electrical current in a vacuum under certain conditions.
  • #1
jobyts
227
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Can lightning travel through vacuum? Does sitting in a vacuum chamber reduce/increase/no effect the probability of being hit by lightning?

If lightning can travel through vacuum, I would imagine there wouldn't be any heat or light - hence it would be just an electric shock. True?
 
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  • #2
No - lightning is the plasma from air that has been heated enough to lose it's electrons and glow white hot.
In a perfect vacuum there is no air (or other gas) to glow so no lightning.
You can have an electrical current flowing in a vacuum once the field gets large enough to pull electrons off the surface of an electrode and then dragged by the field to another electrode.
 
  • #3


I can confirm that lightning cannot travel through a vacuum. Lightning is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a buildup of electrical charge is released between two points, typically between a cloud and the ground or between two clouds. This requires the presence of air or other gases to act as a medium for the electrical charge to travel through. In a vacuum, there is no medium for the electrical charge to travel through, making it impossible for lightning to occur.

Sitting in a vacuum chamber would not affect the likelihood of being struck by lightning, as the presence or absence of a medium does not impact the probability of a lightning strike. The probability of being struck by lightning depends on various factors such as location, weather conditions, and personal behavior.

In a vacuum, there may still be an electric shock if a buildup of static electricity occurs, but it would not be the same as a lightning strike. The absence of air or other gases in a vacuum means that there would be no heat or light produced, as those are byproducts of the electrical discharge interacting with the surrounding medium.

In conclusion, lightning cannot travel through a vacuum and sitting in a vacuum chamber would not increase or decrease the likelihood of being struck by lightning.
 

Related to Can Lightning Travel Through a Vacuum?

1. Can lightning travel through a vacuum?

Yes, lightning can travel through a vacuum. However, it is not the same type of lightning that we typically see on Earth. In a vacuum, lightning is known as "vacuum discharge" and it is caused by electrical breakdown of gases or plasma in a low-density environment.

2. How does lightning travel through a vacuum?

Lightning travels through a vacuum due to the buildup of electric charge in the form of plasma. When the electric potential between two points in a vacuum exceeds the dielectric breakdown strength of the surrounding material, a vacuum discharge can occur and travel through the vacuum.

3. Can lightning occur in outer space?

Yes, lightning can occur in outer space. Lightning has been observed on other planets, such as Jupiter, as well as on the surface of the moon. In outer space, lightning is known as "space lightning" and it is caused by electrical discharge between different parts of a planet or moon's atmosphere.

4. Is lightning more powerful in a vacuum?

No, lightning is not more powerful in a vacuum. In fact, it is less powerful compared to lightning on Earth. This is because the lack of particles in a vacuum means there is less resistance for the electrical current to overcome, resulting in a shorter and less intense discharge.

5. Can lightning travel through the vacuum of space?

Yes, lightning can travel through the vacuum of space. In fact, it is the only way for lightning to occur in space. Without the presence of a medium, such as air or water, for a traditional lightning strike to form, a vacuum discharge is the only option for lightning to occur in the vacuum of space.

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