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Damage caused by ball lightning

  1. Oct 8, 2007 #1

    wolram

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    Does anyone have pictures or reference to damage caused by BL?
    The only major damage report i can find is in this Wiki article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning

    Look under Esoteric. damage done to a peat bog, is there a better article on this?

    I would be most interested in any picture, descriptions, articles.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2007 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    A long time ago I had a book that was considered to be the definitive text for ball lightning. It was written by a Japanese scientist who pioneered the subject. There were many pictures in the book, including one of a house, I think in Japan, that had a good part of the roof blown off by a ball lightning hit. So I know that at least a few pictures exist, but I don't know where to find them.

    That picture made a believer out of me. Before that, I was never sure if this was a real phenomenon or not. And back then, the subject was considered to be a fringe and untrustworthy, much like UFO reports are generally viewed today.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
  4. Oct 8, 2007 #3

    wolram

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    I can not find any good pictures either, i thought that any damage caused by BL would
    be an essential part of research, at least one could have a magnitude of energy needed
    for said damage, and a footprint.
    The fact is forensic evidence seems to be totally ignored.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2007 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Not everything available is on the net yet. This is esp true of older books.

    You might try a trip to the local library and put in a request. The book that I'm thinking of is surely still around. Just look for a book from the 60s [maybe as late as 71 or 72] written by a Japanese scientist.

    I'm sure that part of the problem is that bl is rare, and damage from bl is rarer.
     
  6. Oct 8, 2007 #5

    wolram

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    Thanks Ivan, i will look for the book, by the way it seems, according to the literature, that i have read, that BL is not that rare, many quote , it is as rare as the number of actual whitnessed lightning strikes.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2007 #6
    Here's a report quoted in a book I have called Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena (by William R. Corliss, Arlington House, Inc. 1986) :

    "I was working at the far end of my garden; the weather was normal, no rain, no signs of thunder. Suddenly I seemed to be in the centre of intense blackness and looking down observed at my feet a ball about two feet across. It was of a pale blue-green colour and seemed made of a mass of writhing strings of light, about 1/4 in. in diameter. It remained there for about 3 seconds and then rose, away from me, just missing a poplar tree about 3 ft. away. It cleared the houses by about 20 ft. and landed at the rear of the Weavers Arms on the Bell Green Road, a distance of about 1/4 mile. There was a loud explosion and much damage was done to the public house."

    That quote is taken from a journal called Weather, 19:228, 1964.

    In another report on the same page a 10 cm diameter ball appeared while a woman was cooking, came at her, and hit her in the crotch ("...below the belt, as it were...") She brushed it away and her hand became red and swollen and her wedding ring seemed to be burning into her. Her dress had a large hole in it, but the edges of this hole were not charred. That report came from Nature, 260:596,1976

    Both reports come from England.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2007 #7

    wolram

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    http://wiki.wunderground.com/index.php/Educational_-_Ball_lightning

    "During a thunderstorm I saw a large, red hot ball come down from the sky. It struck our house, cut the telephone wire, burnt the window frame,and then buried itself in a tub of water which was underneath.The water boiled for some minutes afterwards, but when it was cool enough for me to search I could find nothing in it."
     
  9. Oct 10, 2007 #8

    wolram

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    http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/content/dbkl8luptr291dup/fulltext.pdf

    The following focuses on BL with evidence of unusually high energy. We collected
    such data on BL energy content from different literature sources and made necessary
    estimations when they were absent in the references. These data and estimates are
    presented in table 1, and the energy densities also given in fig. 1 of Bychkov (2002).
    The observation cases require the following comments, listed under the case number
    used both in table 1 and in the figure.
    1. (Grigor’ev 1990, no. 22) A BL was formed from a self-wound luminous filament,
    which entered the room through the hole in the wall for electric wires. Then it
    exploded 1.5 m from the observer. The observer was a demolition expert later
    during his service in the army, and he compared the sound of the explosion
    with the explosion of 250–300 g of toluene.
    2. (Egely 1987, no. 270c) A group of observers watched an irregular potato-shaped
    red object. This BL left a trace of melted sand of plan area 100 mm × 700 mm,
    with the depth of ‘a few cm’. For estimates we used the depth of the sand layer
    d = 3–10 mm and density of sand 1000–1300 kg m−3 and calculated the energy
    necessary for melting of the quartz sand.

    And more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  10. Oct 10, 2007 #9
    Did you see the stories I posted?
     
  11. Oct 10, 2007 #10

    wolram

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    OOps, Thanks Zooby, I am getting confused, it seems BL must be seperated into many different types, harmless, minor damage, major damage, and even sub types.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  12. Oct 10, 2007 #11
    That's what this author says:

    "One reason ball lightning resists exlanation is that its nature is so variable. It may be as small as a pea or as large as a house. It may be violet, red, or yellow, or may even change colors during its brief life. The shape of ball lightning is usually spherical, but rods, dumbbells, spiked balls, and other shapes have been sighted. Sometimes ball lightning appears to have internal structure; strange appendages may accompany the main body of the phenomenon.

    "Ball lightning is a dynamic thing. It may glide silently and disinterestedly past an observer or it may inquisitively explore a room as if directed by intelligence. While many of these enigmatic apparitions dematerialize silently, most seem to explode violently."

    op cit pp 17-18
     
  13. Oct 10, 2007 #12

    wolram

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    There are all so reports of BL originating from below water, and yet other reports that say water (extinguished ) the BL, it makes me wonder if there are not totally different types.
     
  14. Oct 11, 2007 #13

    wolram

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    http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/geowissenschaften/bericht-6781.html

    This theme issue of Philosophical Transactions A (a Royal Society journal) deals with the phenomenon of ball lightning, a rarely seen and slow-moving luminous phenomenon usually associated with thunderstorms. A collection of previously unpublished sightings is presented, including close-up encounters describing the detailed internal structure of the balls. Many of these observations are from scientifically or technically trained people, probably doubling the number of such observations available in the literature.
    A particularly spectacular image of a 100 metre diameter ball observed over five minutes at night in the Australian outback is presented and available for media use

    How to find this ?
     
  15. Oct 11, 2007 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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  16. Oct 11, 2007 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Also, probably an unrelated phenomenon but still interesting are the Naga fire-balls.
    http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/1611.asp

    We have quite a few very good links in the Napster. See the sections on ball lightning, earthlights, and fireball phenomena.
     
  17. Oct 11, 2007 #16
    Eh? This is amazing!

    Burning silicon?

    As you may know:

    Ball lightning may be the key to a hitherto untapped, nearly inexhaustible energy source.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  18. Oct 12, 2007 #17

    wolram

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  19. Oct 12, 2007 #18
    http://www.tatnews.org/emagazine/1611.asp#11

    What do you suppose "Ionized Atomic Oxygen" means? I'm not sure what that would be.
     
  20. Oct 12, 2007 #19
    I'm still thinking about this. If you can burn silicon then reducing sand and other natural sources of silicon to pure silicon might be a very nifty way to store energy. It seems to me that it has to be automatically more compact than hydrogen. Burning it, I assume, would result in SO2 particles which are, at least, inert and non-poisonous, and recyclable to pure silicon.
     
  21. Oct 12, 2007 #20
    I just googled and found out that silicon is prepared by passing high amperage current through SO2 with carbon electrodes. Sand (silica or SO2), carbon (from decayed plant matter, old fires, etc), and high current are all normally present during any electrical storm.

    A lot of pure elements are prepared by electrolysis and, depending on the local soil a lightning strike might purify any one of a number of very reactive and electrically conductive elements and also split water in the soil to hydrogen and oxygen.

    I'd say the best bet for recreating ball lightning (be it burning silicon filaments or nano batteries) in the lab would be to get a huge Van de Graff generator and start zapping soils samples hoping to find the winning soil formula by trial and error.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
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