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WEATHER UNIVERSITY: Open wide, for science

This incredible photo was taken by Neil Green as a bolt of lightning lit up the sky on Brier Island, N.S.
This incredible photo was taken by Neil Green as a bolt of lightning lit up the sky on Brier Island, N.S. - Submitted

Thunderstorms are powerful examples of the potential energy in the atmosphere. April 28, a few good ones rolled across the region, lighting lit up the sky!

Did you know that you can make lightning in your mouth? That’s right, you can create a lightning flash just by chewing. You will need Wint-O-Green flavoured Life Savers and a mirror.

Go into a dark room, wait for your eyes to adjust a little and chew on the candy with your mouth open. (It’s rude and not recommended in public, but it’s OK this one time.)

Crushing the candy with your teeth rips apart the sugar crystals in the candy. The sugars release small electrical charges in your mouth. These charges attract the oppositely charged nitrogen in the air. When the two meet they create a tiny bluish spark; the wintergreen oil helps you see the spark.

A very similar scenario unfolds with real lightning, minus the chewing. The earth and the storm cloud develop different electrical charges and electricity leaps between the two – like the sparks in your mouth!

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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