You are shuffling along a carpet and reach out to touch the doorknob and - zap! - a sudden electric discharge gives you a mild shock. The friction between your feet and the carpet has produced a large build-up of negative electric charge, on your finger. This produces a electric potential difference, or voltage, between your
finger and the doorknob. If the electric potential difference is large enough, a sudden flow of current, called an electric discharge, will occur. Violent electric discharges are responsible for some of the most spectacular displays of sudden energy release on Earth and in space.
Here, there, and everywhere that electric voltages are large enough. For example, in an arc welder, a storm cloud, and around rapidly a spinning neutron star.
"Here, There, & Everywhere" (HTE) is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant NNX11AH28G issued through the Science Mission Directorate.