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Ball Lightning

  1. May 18, 2005 #1
    Ball Lightning!!!

    Has anyone observed ball lightning (in close proximity) with their own eyes? Could you describe its behavior? What were your first thoughts? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2005 #2

    arildno

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    Dearly Missed

    Only as a Magic:The Gathering card from The Dark (just kidding..)

    Seriously, though, no. I hope to hear some great stories about ball lightnings in this thread; it's a good topic.

    Welcome to PF, BTW.
     
  4. May 18, 2005 #3
    Ditto about the welcome!

    I haven't seen ball lightning, but I have observed ground lighting. That's is crazy stuff! I bet if you google for some pictures you'll find some. I'll see if I can come up with any.

    While we're here...what causes lighting anyway?
     
  5. May 18, 2005 #4

    arildno

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    Well, I could start waving my hands and say that a huge difference of voltage is generated between the cloud and the ground, causing a massive current (i.e lightning ("ordinary", non-ball version, that is)) to be set up.
    However, since I know next to nothing about the theme, I'll shut up, and wait for the actually knowledgeable to give you a good answer.
     
  6. May 19, 2005 #5

    Chi Meson

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    While heating up diced carrots in my microwave oven I inadvertantly created a plasma cloud. Does that count?
     
  7. May 19, 2005 #6

    wolram

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    Temych
    Look at this thread

    Credible Anomalies Awaiting Proper Investigation
    Scepticism and debunking.
     
  8. May 19, 2005 #7
    my aunt has, i think she said it wandered through the back door and flew through the house, then eventually fizzled out.

    my mum's seen fork lightning right in front of her
     
  9. May 19, 2005 #8

    wolram

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    People regard this subject as fringe and make flippant remarks about it, but
    it is a possible unknown physical effect, laugh if you wish or make jokes about
    it, but you may be enlightened later.
     
  10. May 20, 2005 #9

    LURCH

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    TYMECH,
    As you have probably deduced from Wolram's comments, there is some debate as to wether or not ball lightning even exists. No comfirmed reorts about it are available (depending on your definition of "confirmed", I suppose).

    I thought I saw it once about 15 years ago in a field in Southern Michigan, but it's hard to say for sure. What I saw was a ground strike hitting in a field about a Killometer away. After the bolt ceased, there remained behind it two glowing orange balls, one directly above the other. The lower of these two objects was perhaps 2 or 3 meters above the ground, the upper one maybe 7 or 8 meters. They sat dead still for several seconds (about five or six, think), then faded out quickly and vanished.

    I imediately started trying to explain tnhe event to myself. Possible explanation include;

    -a pair of power lines, one directly above the other (but it's highly unlikely that two power lines struck by lightning would remain hovering and stationary, and the field in question has no power lines running through it).

    -two tree branches (difficult to judge distances, because the event happened quite far away and at night, but it appeared to have happened far from the wooded area. Also, a later examination of the field's perimeter revealed no scorched trees)

    -spots in my eyes because of the flash (two spots arranged vertically seems unlikely, as does the effect of the two remaining stationary in the field).

    -airborn matter struck by the lightning (the spots held stationary, any airborn matter light enough to remain airborn for 5 or 6 seconds would have moved about in the high winds of the storm)
     
  11. May 20, 2005 #10

    Chi Meson

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    See this site about the Microwave oven plasm cloud.
    http://c3po.barnesos.net/homepage/lpl/grapeplasma

    IT is one of many sites, and the phenomenon is commonly seen (but few know what just happened when sparks fly inside their microwave).

    "Ball lightning" is suspected by several of these sites to be an example of such plasma clouds.

    IF one was witnessed at night, I suspect that persistance of vision would cause the appearance of more "flying around" than actually occurs. My guess.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2005
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