In Dr. Plait's review of War of the Worlds he writes:
http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/movi...theworlds.htmlEven Cruise's character mentions that the lightning has no thunder. I don't know how'd you do that. The news scenes make it clear this is an electromagnetic phenomenon, which lightning is. Lightning is also very hot (hotter than the surface of the Sun!), and this violently heats the air around it. That creates a shockwave, which we call thunder. Lightning bolts like that without thunder don't make sense.
But a professor at the College of Environmental Sciences/Wisconsin University writes:
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/ATMOVIEWells.HTMMysterious lightning bolts zap the ground, not accompanied by thunder. The storm ends as abruptly as it began. Thunder is caused by the sudden expansion of superheated air around a lightning bolt. It rumbles because there are miles of bolt in the clouds and it takes a long time for sound to travel from the farthest ends of the discharge. But short discharges from directly overhead will merely produce a loud crack. I don't know whether Spielberg actually reasoned this out, but it's sensible.
So who's right?