Did You Know? (Lightning Edition)

That when lightning strikes, the air around it becomes five times hotter than the surface of the sun?

I found this information on page 79 in the book 501 ½ Horrible Facts.

According to Isaac Asimov’s book The Solar System: the Sun the temperature of the sun is about 11,000 ˚F on the surface and about 27,000,000 ˚F at the center. This means that the air around a lightning strike would be about 55,000 Fahrenheit. In other words, there isn’t enough sunscreen on earth to make a trip to the sun possible! The sun is the nearest star to earth. It takes light from the sun about 8 minutes to get to earth, for the next nearest star the light takes over 4 years to get here!

Cumulonimbus clouds are the thunderclouds we see before and during a lightning storm. They are huge masses of air, water, and ice. Inside of these clouds violent air currents cause ice crystals to smash into each other, causing static electricity. Ice crystals at the base of the cloud become negatively charged while the top of the cloud and the ground are positively charged. The difference becomes so great that electricity starts leaping back and forth in the cloud causing sheet lightning or between the cloud and the ground causing fork lightning. I learned this and so much more about all kinds of weather events in the DK book Weather .

Thunder and lightning always reminds me of Zeus, the sky and thunder-god in ancient Greek religion, which makes me think of mythology! Check out one of our mythology books to read stories about gods and goddesses in Greek, Roman and Celtic Mythology.

Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle is a nice story about people escaping into a subway to avoid the thunder and lightning from a storm. People share smiles and umbrellas as they all wait out a storm together.

Poetry Friday – Atmospherics

NPM_LOGOWelcome to our fourth and final Poetry Friday. Every Friday of this month, in honor of National Poetry Month, a staff member has chosen a poem that is a particular favorite. This week we present selections from Lisa.

Atmospherics

There is a thin line between the poetry I am drawn to, and the prose that I love to read. More than a clever rhyming scheme, I appreciate pieces that can draw a vivid picture in my mind. In honor of Spring, I decided to select a couple pieces that invoke the strange and beautiful weather that we are often treated to at this time of year.

My first selection comes from Carl Sandburg, a poet who is more commonly associated with Chicago than the Pacific Northwest. Though most likely written about a different harbor on a different coast, I think that Fog could just as easily have been written about a foggy morning in Everett.

Carl Sandburg

Fog – Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

 

 

Another constant companion during Spring in the Northwest is rain. April Rain Song, by Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, fits the mood of the month well.

Langston Hughes

April Rain Song – Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Both poets evoke a romantic and whimsical vibe that makes me think of green, damp, waiting Spring – preparing to bust out into Summer, as soon as the fog and rain passes.