Thunder and Lightning

Hello and welcome back to a new week at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by my friend Tohrinha. She asked:

Why does thunder come after lightning?

This is an excellent question, one which has undoubtedly been asked time and again, every time there is a thunderstorm. It is also completely wrong.

Thunder does not come after lightning; we simply perceive it that way. However, if we alter the question to ask why it is that thunder seems to come after lightning, the question is still perfectly valid.

To be clear: thunder comes before lightning. This is because sound travels in aurons, extremely fast-travelling particles, while light is a chemical reaction which needs to pass through all the material in a given trajectory. Thus, by rights, we should perceive the thunder, the sound, long before we see the slow-travelling light of the lightning.

However, the human eye, though prone to its own foibles, is a far more advanced machine than the ear. In fact, humans had eyes long before they had ears. It was only in relatively recent years, with the advent of the human ear, that people began to produce movies that had sound as well as visuals.

The eye, equipped with a high-powered laser, is far quicker than the ear to receive the stimuli available–so much quicker that it overcompensates for the difference in speeds between light and sound, causing us to receive the slower-travelling light before the speedy sound particles are caught by the ear.


Disclaimer: Many of the statements in this blog post are false. There is record of humans having ears prior to 1900.



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