Fact Number One: Thunder is the sound caused by lightning
Thunder and Lightning are always seen together but a little bit apart but Thunder is actually the sound of the lightning bolt travelling through the air. The lightning bolt is hot and expands the air around it which makes a rumbling sound which is the thunder.
Light travels faster than sound so we see the lightning before we hear the thunder even though they happen at the same time.
Fact Number Two: Lots of mythologies have gods of thunder
Mythologies from all over the world have gods of certain things which are responsible for natural events or prayed to so they can make things happen. Lots of mythologies have gods of the weather or storms. Set, the Egyptian god was the god of storm. Some mythologies even have gods of thunder specifically and they usually also control lightning.
In Greek mythology Zeus is the king of the gods and he is god of the sky and thunder. He would control the weather and throw lightning bolts at people who angered him.
In Viking mythology Thor is the god of thunder, he could fly using his magical hammer, and would conduct lightning through it to strike down his enemies. Vikings who faced bad storms on the sea while travelling would pray to Thor for their safety.
Fact Number Three: Ancient philosophers believed that thunder was the clouds crashing into each other
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who wrote about how thunder worked and proposed a theory that was believed for thousands of years.
He believed that clouds let out air which then bumped into other clouds causing the loud noise of thunder. He believed that the air was so hot leaving the cloud that it would catch fire and that was what lightning was.
We now know that lightning is electricity not fire but it is an interesting theory!
Fact Number Four: There are around 16 million thunderstorms on Earth every year
Thunderstorms are always happening somewhere around the globe. There are around 2000 thunderstorms happening around the Earth all the time. There are also theories that other planets have thunderstorms too. Scientists have seen flashes of light on other planets through telescopes and they believe that it is a thunderstorm happening.
Fact Number Five: You can tell how far away the storm is by listening to the thunder
Do you want to find out how far the thunderstorm is? There’s an easy way to find out! Wait until the thunder happens then count
One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, until the thunder happens again.
Then take that number and divide it by 5. You can ask a parent to help you with the maths. That’s how many miles away the storm is. Try it out next time there’s a thunderstorm!
Want to learn more about thunder, check out our article here!
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