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Answer the following: (a) The top of the atmosphere is at about 400 kV with respect to the surface of the earth, corresponding to an electric field that decreases with altitude. Near the surface of the earth, the field is about 100 Vm_–1.

2.36 Answer the following:

(a) The top of the atmosphere is at about 400 kV with respect to the surface of the earth, corresponding to an electric field that decreases with altitude. Near the surface of the earth, the field is about 100Vm^{-1}. Why then do we not get an electric shock as we step out of our house into the open? (Assume the house to be a steel cage so there is no field inside!)

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The surface of the earth and our body, both are good conductors. So our body and the ground both have the same equipotential surface as we are connected from the ground. When we move outside the house, the equipotential surfaces in the air changes so that our body and ground is kept at the same potential. Therefore we do not get an electric shock.

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