Why is lightning seen before thunder is heard

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition | ISBN: 9780321909107 | Authors: Paul G. Hewitt

Problem 31E Chapter 19

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition

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Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition | ISBN: 9780321909107 | Authors: Paul G. Hewitt

Conceptual Physics | 12th Edition

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Problem 31E

Why is lightning seen before thunder is heard?

Step-by-Step Solution:

Step 1of 3 Light and sound will not travel with same speed in air Although thunder and lightning occur at the same time, the lightning is seen before the thunder is heard because light travels at a much faster speed than sound. Sound waves can also bounce off molecules in the air, causing it to travel in different directions. Step 2 of 3 Lightning travels at a speed of 3× 10 m/s . The speed of sound, in dry air, is about 1 mile every 5 seconds. Since dry air is not common during a thunderstorm, the speed at which thunder travels is only an approximation, but a rough calculation can still be made of the distance of a thunderstorm by comparing the time factors of lightning and its accompanying thunder. Because the speed of light is so fast, the travel time for lightning in the case of a thunderstorm's relatively close distance can be considered instantaneous. Thus, counting the elapsed time in seconds between the flash of lightning and the following thunder, and then dividing that number by 5, will provide the distance in miles. If, for example, 10 seconds pass between the lightning and the thunder, the storm is 2 miles away.

Step 3 of 3

Chapter 19, Problem 31E is Solved
Textbook: Conceptual Physics
Edition: 12
Author: Paul G. Hewitt
ISBN: 9780321909107

This full solution covers the following key subjects: Before, heard, lightning, seen, Thunder. This expansive textbook survival guide covers 45 chapters, and 4650 solutions. The answer to “Why is lightning seen before thunder is heard?” is broken down into a number of easy to follow steps, and 8 words. This textbook survival guide was created for the textbook: Conceptual Physics, edition: 12. Since the solution to 31E from 19 chapter was answered, more than 242 students have viewed the full step-by-step answer. Conceptual Physics was written by and is associated to the ISBN: 9780321909107. The full step-by-step solution to problem: 31E from chapter: 19 was answered by , our top Physics solution expert on 04/03/17, 08:01AM.

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