How Does Lightning Occur and What is it?Lightning is ultimately a huge static shock, hitting the ground with tremendous power and heat. But we still need to ask ourselves what makes this happen? When the warm air rises, it causes the water vapor to lower in temperature, which will start the formation of a cloud. Once this process is done, the water vapor on top becomes ice, due to the temperature in the higher areas of the cloud. The small pieces of ice start colliding with each other inside the cloud causing a build up of negative and positive charges. Once these become large enough, an extremely big static shock, from the ice rubbing together, strikes a point on the ground at almost 30,000 degrees celsius.Why do Homes Have Lightning Rods?Lightning rods serve as protection for homes during a thunder and lightning storm. A lightning rod is a metal rod attached to the top of a home that eventually leads to a wire made of aluminum or copper. These metals are good conductors, making it easier for the lightning to travel through. After the lightning rod has been struck, the electricity is redirected into the earth so that no harm is done to the home. Grounding the electricity is sending it into the earth to remove any effects the electricity could have had on the user, or in this case house.What is Static Electricity?Static electricity is the result of friction between two objects that causes an imbalance of electrons and protons. This ultimately creates static electricity, the electrons will jump to a conductive surface that is within their range (not usually very far).What is Thunder?Thunder is the sound produced by lightning. The air is heated by the large amounts of electricity in a lightning bolt, making the air expand. This causes a loud rumbling or cracking noise, and since the effects on the air do not take place immediately (or at least not as fast as the lightning), the thunder ends up sounding after the lightning strikes. Usually, the closer the thunder and lightning occur, the closer you are to where the lightning originally struck.How is Lightning Dangerous and How is it Important?Lightning obviously has some risks, and a chance to possibly even cause a death. It is made of huge amounts of static electricity, and would almost instantly kill someone or set fire to a tree, for example. This could cause minor or major forest fires which is especially dangerous for those who live in one. Just the fact that there is so much electricity involved in a lightning strike makes it somewhat of a threat. But what if we could harness that amount of electricity and use it in our own ways? Well, it would be pretty powerful, one lightning strike carries enough electricity to power a 60-watt light bulb for around half a year, meaning all the light bulbs in the average household could be powered for two whole weeks, nonstop. About half of the day our lights are turned off, so that is all of your lighting for free for an entire month. There is more to lightning than free electricity though, actually it serves very important when it comes to protein in our bodies. We are not capable of using the atmospheric nitrogen, so the lightning will have to do make it into a nitrate. By forcing a bond between the nitrogen and oxygen, the plants are able to absorb the nitrates after they are delivered into the soil by rain. Finally, we can get protein directly from the plants or from animals who have eaten them. Lightning can be a natural disaster, or a life saver.