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Stargazing Lightning ball - please help me to analyze this rare video

  1. Jul 2, 2017 #1
    Hi,

    Some time ago I was looking for lightning ball videos on youtube.
    I observed some strange phenomenon recorded on one of the videos.
    Before a lightning ball is created, some "dark" ball is coming from above
    and then it immediately changes to the lightning ball which is moving at different angle.
    It is well visible when watched in full screen mode, on 35 sec.
    What do you think about it?
    Is this recording real?

    Many thanks!

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2017 #2

    Orodruin

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    Did you notice how it passes in front of the trees? That thing does not emerge from the clouds, which are much further away.
     
  4. Jul 2, 2017 #3

    davenn

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    yup I agree .... much closer, still not sure what tho ? fire bug ... don't know if they would show up that bright ?
     
  5. Jul 2, 2017 #4

    Orodruin

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    Depends on the camera settings I would say.
     
  6. Jul 2, 2017 #5

    Nidum

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    Meteorite or space junk that just happened to fall through the storm clouds while the video was being made ?
     
  7. Jul 2, 2017 #6

    Orodruin

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    Again, if it was falling through the clouds it would not land in front of the trees. I am inclined to go with @davenn here. A meteorite or space junk would light up long before entering the clouds.
     
  8. Jul 2, 2017 #7
    I'm not convinced that the ball/streak is in front of the trees. It passes close to the gap in the canopy so the foliage should be less dense. We are seeing a dark area of tree branch but that does not mean 100% leaf coverage. Some light will pass though leaves. I have walked in forests where I could not see any sky but it still looks like daylight. At 0:14 seconds to 0:15 seconds there is what could be a distant streetlight that comes into view. That could be an example of a small gap in the dense part of the trees rather than a light turning on and off.

    It is hard for me to find the right frame on youtube but the "ball" passes the trees during 0:37 seconds. In one of the frames the ball has a much greener tint on my computer. Looks a bit like a white pixel next to a greener pixel. I am going with a white light passing behind leaves but bright enough to shine through. The leaves adsorb red and blue leaving [pun, haha] more green light to hit the CCD. On the otherhand it also has a more yellow/amber look at high altitude when the ball/streak appears and then turns bright white.
     
  9. Jul 2, 2017 #8

    Orodruin

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    To be honest, even taking that into account the probability of being a bug is much higher than it being a ball lightning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  10. Jul 3, 2017 #9

    Tom.G

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    blob.jpg
    Well, it travels on a smooth curve and at a constant rate. Not many insects I know of do that.
    Don't attach much significance to relative brightness other than the top and bottom streaks. This is a composite of 12 successive video frames with transparency manually adjusted for overall visibility. Then the dynamic range was stretched to bring the contrast up to a useable level. The alignment point was the light at the top left of the building. If you zoom in there are a few JPG artifacts in the trees that don't exist in the original image, ignore them.
    Frame capture done with VLC Media Player vs:2.2.1.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  11. Jul 3, 2017 #10
    A few weeks ago the Weather Channel showed a very similar video in one of their shows on strange weather events. The similarity is uncanny. Their conclusion was inconclusive but speculated that it could very well be ball lightning.
     
  12. Jul 3, 2017 #11

    OmCheeto

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    Looks like CGI to me.
     
  13. Jul 3, 2017 #12
    Not sure why the auto-skepticism.

    The firefly explanation seems a stretch - fireflies don't occur singly but in large groups (it is a mating behavior after all), and thus a video of this duration would have caught multiple bugs; they rarely move very far during the brief moments they are lit, so wouldn't leave a long straight movement trail, even if quite close to the camera; the color is wrong, etc. Here's a firefly video to show the difference:



    It could be a deliberate hoax; or it could be an artifact not related to the lightning storm; or yes, it might be ball lightning. After all no one seems to agree on what ball lightning might be even if it exists. Although there appear to be credible modern eye-witness accounts (in addition to all the accounts from prior centuries), it is still a debated and mysterious phenomenon, or so says the highly credible Wikipedia. A mysterious, possibly dubious or possibly authentic video of a mysterious, possibly dubious or possibly authentic phenomenon - why not?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  14. Jul 3, 2017 #13

    Orodruin

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    This is just the point. The probability of that being something with a far more mundane explanation is overwhelming. If you want to claim that it is ball lightning, the burden of proof rests on you. I am not claiming that it necessarily is a firefly. It could be some other type of insect temporarily illuminated by ambient lighting or something else entirely, there could be many explanations that do not involve it being a ball lightning.
     
  15. Jul 3, 2017 #14
    Some other type of insect? That seems to even more implausible than a firefly. What we have is an unknown depiction - possibly an outright fake, but if not, then something odd; possibly mundane; or possibly intriguing. If someone wanted to prove it's ball lightning they couldn't - there is no "there" there, to borrow a phrase. But excess rigor isn't of use any more than excess credulity. There is nothing to defend here one way or the other - not enough information.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  16. Jul 3, 2017 #15

    Orodruin

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    Because most things that people claim are extraordinary events on the internet are perfectly explainable by mundane phenomena. To directly reach for the "intriguing possibilities" is completely unscientific.

    How many insects do you think fly in front of cameras compared to the number of ball lightning that do? Even if there was a very low probability of an insect flying in front of a camera creating such an effect and ball lightning created exactly such an effect, the probability that this particular event is ball lightning would still be debatable and likely come out in favour of the insect.
     
  17. Jul 3, 2017 #16
    @Orodruin, we're getting nowhere, but let me try one last time: 1) It's not a contest between only ball lightning or only bugs; there might be other possible explanations, some odd, others mundane; 2) I think it's interesting to consider ball lightning as a remote possibility - given that there are apparently credible accounts of such things - without endorsing it further; 3) Your arguments in favor of bugs continue to be unconvincing; 4) Your invocation of rigor would make more sense if someone in this thread were actually claiming this IS ball lightning. It may have escaped your attention that I am not claiming this.
     
  18. Jul 3, 2017 #17

    Orodruin

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    Again, I am not claiming that it is a bug. I am forwarding it as a more plausible explanation than ball lightning.

    Really? I find it pointless. Why don't we also argue that it is the Greek god Zeus falling from the heavens? That is also a very unlikely but extremely speculative and interesting possibility.

    So basically you are accusing me of what you don't want to be accused for. Talk about double standards. I am not claiming it is a bug. I am claiming that it is much more likely to be a bug than a ball lightning.

    You mean like ... I don't know ... the phrasing of the OP?
     
  19. Jul 3, 2017 #18
    He asked if it were real. He didn't say he thought it was. His question implies the possibility it's either fake or a glitch of some sort, etc.

    As for Zeus, did you bother to read the Wikipedia article? Have you gone through the footnotes to prepare your argument that all the alleged modern eye-witness accounts are fakes? Yes, it's an unsupported phenomenon; and I would be very interested if someone can find better sources with evidence that it is indeed some form of centuries-long myth or hoax. Short of that, it seems to have more potential credibility than you are willing to admit. If I have time I may poke around more; if I can find credible sources either yea or nay I'll post them here.

    A good example of an enduring myth is of accounts over many centuries of persons waking to find a demon sitting on them, etc.; more recently, in the UFO era, this changed to stories of bedroom visits from aliens. Carl Sagan goes through all this in his book about science and superstition; the underlying generator of such accounts is sleep paralysis. If ball lightning is a myth, there ought to be a similar generating phenomenon to explain its persistence.

    E.g. this page mentions some contemporary possibilities: http://stormhighway.com/bl.php
    Meanwhile there are lots of articles like this; but these are from popular media and not journals: http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2014/02/19/ball-lightning-is-it-myth-or-reality/
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  20. Jul 3, 2017 #19

    Orodruin

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    Again you are drawing a straw man. I have never said that ball lightnings cannot exist or expressed a disbelief in their existence. The Zeus comment is an obvious tongue-in-cheek and I would consider the ball lightning a much more plausible explanation than that - even if Zeus falling from the skies would look exactly like that. That is the point.

    To me the post still reads like a claim that it is ball lightning if the recording is real. The recording may be fake (as suggested by #11), it may be a ball lightning, or there may be some other mundane or exotic explanation. My point throughout has been that it is far more likely to be a mundane phenomenon if it is a real recording.
     
  21. Jul 3, 2017 #20
    I suggest we disengage as this has become increasingly argumentative and unproductive on both our parts. Neither of us would have intended that, so let's leave off. Someone else can look into whatever literature or studies exist on ball lightning if they wish.
     
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