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10 False Science Facts Everyone Knows


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Lightning never strikes the same spot twice.
We've been a bit misinformed about those bolts. Jason A. Camhi/Getty Images
We've been a bit misinformed about those bolts. Jason A. Camhi/Getty Images

We all know that the absolute safest thing you can do in a storm is predict where lighting will hit and then immediately run as fast as you can to every other spot in the world and wait out the storm patiently. Invincible. Forever. Because when lightning strikes, each flash only strikes in one place.

Doesn't sound right, does it?

The thought that lightning doesn't strike twice is lovely sentiment when Grandpa is doling out folksy wisdom, but please don't rely on Gramps in a thunderstorm. In 2003, scientists found that lightning doesn't just strike one place when it hits the earth. On average, it hits 1.45 places at a strike [source: Goddard Space Flight Center].

The scientists extrapolated that your chances of being hit by lightning was actually 45 percent higher than the number of flashes, because it does hit in 0.45 more places.

And oh yeah, lightning definitely strikes the same place twice. Sometimes even thrice. Just ask the Empire State Building.