For a long time the question of origin of lightning has been torturing the minds of many researchers. Each of them wondered how would our perception about the lightning change, if we could control the process of the birth of the lightning channel and affect it? During the search for an answer to this question, the researchers could artificially initiate lightning, which are called "trigger lightning" (in English "trigger" - firing key), or "Lightning rocket". Let's find out what this experiment led to and how important is the study of trigger lightning for lightning protection?
During the lecture "Lightning and lightning protection at ENIN to the name of G.M. Krzhizhanovsky" Professor E.M. Bazelyan mentioned that he also had experimented with artificial recreation of lightning. The essence of the experiment is as follows: metal wire is used for triggering lightning, the wire is tied with one end to a small missile, fired straight up into a storm cloud with the launcher and the other end to the ground. The study was carried out during a storm, when the strength of the electric field reaches its peak. In the result we get a long spark charge - track from the exploded wire, which is called trigger lightning, as well as dozens of consecutive ascending discharges - its components. The subsequent disharges are the subject of study. The video of this experience can be found at the link.
Triggered lightning and its components
Thanks to this experience, it was possible to fix the mechanism of electrical breakdown and streamer generation conditions. The spacial charge does not have time to form in a moving object, the value of the corona charge reaches its peak and transfers to the streamer shape, facilitating the origin of lightning. In other words, the corona can suppress the counter leader. Though, for many years, it had been considered that corona has no concern to lightning protection, the data based on experience testify the opposite. The theoretical justification of such a system as a dissipation array device was later invented. You can learn more about its operation principle.
Thus, we can conclude that as a result of research in this area a lot of unusual phenomena were identified, one of which, as we saw above, turned out to be useful and found its practical application. Further work is needed and will allow to develop new effective methods of lightning protection