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Lightning conductor, c 1900.

Lightning conductor, c 1900.
3 2 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 24cm


This conductor directs lightning through a copper strip to the earth, leaving buildings safe. Lightning is a high-voltage electrical discharge between two charged rainclouds or between a cloud and the ground, caused by a build-up of opposed electrical charges. Currents of 20,000 amperes and temperatures of 30,000 degres Celsius (54,000 Fahrenheit) commonly occur, hence the need for lightning conductors.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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