Lightning Bonanza

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Lightning Bonanza

Post by marasama on 7th July 2008, 12:24 am

If lightning is truely started by cosmic rays, then a planet system near a degenerate system, neutron stars, black holes, etc. will probably explode with lightning. Especially with a weak magnetosphere.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3214/02.html

Any thoughts? Water superearth size planet that have weaker magnetosphere could be "sparkling giants". Gas giants may be a factor, too. Though their magnetosphere will probably be stronger. What about carbon planets and their lightning?

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Re: Lightning Bonanza

Post by Edasich on 7th July 2008, 5:31 am

Well, I think lightnings are due to charged particles of any nature. Thus they should work on carbon worlds the same way...

About lightning explosion in degenerate systems I really don't know...
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Re: Lightning Bonanza

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 7th July 2008, 3:06 pm

What are the prospects for detecting lightning from extrasolar planets? Would they be hinted at in radio emissions?

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Re: Lightning Bonanza

Post by Juramike on 14th August 2008, 7:40 am

Interesting segment. Thanks for posting that.

I would think the lightning rate would depend more on the planets meteorology. The planet needs to recharge the potential before lightning can release it.

From the numbers given in the link, Earth has about 50 lighning strikes per second.

So if a planet with Earth's voltage potential recharge rate was near a neutron star, I would expect much more frequent lightning, but each indifidual stroke would be weaker. The overall total power emitted from the planet as a whole should be the same. (But it would not be fun to live on the surface of that planet).

Conversely, if a planet with Earth's voltage potential recharge rate were more insulated from cosmic rays (how?), the lightning strikes would be less frequent, but they'd be really powerful.

[EDIT: Thinking about this, maybe on a planet well-protected from initiating radiation, the potential would build up to a point where the charge potential would overcome air resistance. So there is a theoretical lower limit to the frequency of lightning, likely dependant on the voltage potential recharge rate.]

-Mike

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