Ball lightning

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What is ball lightning and what is the science behind it?
 

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  • #2
arildno
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Complex phenomena that are non-reproducible in a laboratory setting are notoriously difficult to understand.

Thus, from what I know, several theories exist for explaining the ball lightning, but none of these theories are sufficiently good to be used for experimental reproduction, alternatively that the conditions they set up for when a ball lightning should occur are not realizable.

That is the semi-long answer, the short answer is that ball lightnings are not understood.
 
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:confused: that didnt help! What IS ball lightning?
 
  • #4
DaveC426913
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:confused: that didnt help! What IS ball lightning?
What part of 'we don't really know' did you not understand?
 
  • #5
arildno
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:confused: that didnt help! What IS ball lightning?
Professional physicists have, in just the last three decades, proposed everything from ball lightning being an ionized gas, some weird electric dipole to explaining the ball lightning as the disturbance caused by the passage of a microscopic, transient black hole.

What should this divergence of opinion tell you about our current level of knowledge about the ball lightning?
 
  • #6
DaveC426913
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Professional physicists have, in just the last three decades, proposed everything from ball lightning being an ionized gas, some weird electric dipole to explaining the ball lightning as the disturbance caused by the passage of a microscopic, transient black hole.
There are professional physicists that are proposing black holes as an explanation??
 
  • #7
Danger
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My grandmother died before I was born, so I never heard it directly from her, but one of her stories was about witnessing (along with other family members) a blob of ball lightning that blew open the door of her pot-bellied stove from the inside, bounced across the living room floor, and vanished. I have no reason to doubt it, and it does seem to be consistent with other witness accounts that I've read.
One thing puzzles me about it (well, everything about it, but one in particular). Most reports that I've seen indicate that it has a very high electrical content (fuzzing up TV reception and whatnot), but I can't recall a single instance in which anyone was injured by it. Not even a mild burn.
Maybe the Druids were right... it's pixies. :biggrin:
 
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arildno
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  • #9
arildno
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Maybe the Druids were right... it's pixies. :biggrin:
I'm not so sure.
Personally, I think ball lightnings are will-o-the-wisps on vacation.
 
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Interesting. Seems that ball lightning is a true unexplained phenomenon.
 
  • #11
DaveC426913
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Interesting. Seems that ball lightning is a true unexplained phenomenon.
Yet interestingly, there aren't a lot of strong skeptics like there are for other unxeplained phenom such as ghosts and UFOs.

It seems to be relatively unique in the world of eyewitness phenomema as something not dismissed as hoaxy yet not yet explained.
 
  • #12
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Is it something caused only during storms? Can't it be that the huge current doesnt have a single low resistance path so it kind of diffuses as a sphere?
 
  • #13
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Is it something caused only during storms? Can't it be that the huge current doesnt have a single low resistance path so it kind of diffuses as a sphere?
Given Dangers anecdote above (and many other 'eye witness' testimonies), I'd say you don't need a storm for it.

But then I suppose there could've been a storm outside that caused it....

We really don't know.
 
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  • #15
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Well if what is written there is true,I guess the mystery is solved.

But isn't it weird that all the other well known websites claim the reason to be unknown?
 
  • #16
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Well if what is written there is true,I guess the mystery is solved.

But isn't it weird that all the other well known websites claim the reason to be unknown?
Well it doesn't say that is ball lightning, just that they produced something similar. It is only the article title that say's they've done it, the actual claims within the text aren't so.
 
  • #17
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The quantum domain, especially the coherent part of it, produces plenty of some nonintuitive results on human scales. Could ball lightning be a naturally occurring laser.
 
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the quantum domain, especially the coherent part of it, produces plenty of some nonintuitive results on human scales. Could ball lightning be a naturally occurring laser.
laser????
 
  • #19
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Well it doesn't say that is ball lightning, just that they produced something similar. It is only the article title that say's they've done it, the actual claims within the text aren't so.
Yes, because most of the videos or images i saw had the ball lightning hovering in the sky rather than bouncing on the ground. So i think that eliminates the silicon ionization.

Are these ball ligtning completely random or occur more in some places than other places? Maybe it's caused by some special conditions not present everywhere?
 
  • #20
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Or it simply doesn't exist at all:
An artificially induced image in the brain is called a "phosphene". Kendl adds:

“An observer located within few hundred metres of a long lightning stroke may experience a magnetic phosphene in the shape of a luminous spot."

The physicist says that this is much the simplest and likeliest explanation for ball lightning.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/19/ball_lightning_actually_magno_brain_images/
 
  • #23
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And phosphenes can be caught on cameras and then effect other human minds?
Hey, I'm just giving you explanations.

Do we have verified video / photo evidence of ball lightning?

Do we know people see the same thing or their own version of it (multiple people experiencing the effects and then the 'group effect' - i forget the name of it - that leads to all persons reporting similar events).
 
  • #24
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Hey, I'm just giving you explanations.

Do we have verified video / photo evidence of ball lightning?

Do we know people see the same thing or their own version of it (multiple people experiencing the effects and then the 'group effect' - i forget the name of it - that leads to all persons reporting similar events).
Now that you mention it....
but nevermind, lets just believe it does exist.

and yes i think the spinning torus is the best explanation yet...but i dont have that much knowledge in electromagnetics so moving a bit away from the topic, why a torus?
 
  • #25
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The torus is the only two dimensional manifold that can support a nonvanishing vector field.

What does this mean?
 

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