Macroscopic Dark Matter Revealed By Lightning

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Summary:
Macroscopic Dark Matter Revealed By Lightning
This paper suggests that macroscopic dark matter could leave a trail of ionized plasma as it passes through the earths atmosphere. If this happens during a thunderstorm it could trigger a lightning strike that follows that trail.
https://journals.aps.org/prd/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevD.103.063024

When I read this I immediately remembered a thread here at PF about a video of a possible lightning phenomena. In the thread it was debated as to whether this was an actual lightning strike. It was of my opinion, and others, that this was an actual lightning phenomena. However, some posters disagreed.
https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...se-help-me-to-analyze-this-rare-video.919146/

I found the original video here:

Could this be a possible candidate for what the paper is describing? It's not perfectly straight. It has a slight curve. But I don't know how straight the path has to be in order to qualify. Just thought I would post this in case others may be interested in following up on it.
 

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  • #2
davenn
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Summary:: Macroscopic Dark Matter Revealed By Lightning

It was of my opinion, and others, that this was an actual lightning phenomena. However, some posters disagreed.

I was one of the ones in that other thread that disagreed. and I still do.
I am a storm chaser, I have never seen any lightning related phenomena that does what that light trail does.
This light, whatever it is, is very close to the photographer, appears to be within several 100 metres at the most
and not more than ~ 100m off the ground at it's observed highest. Whereas the storm is a number of km's away.
Trying to relate that light trail to the storm or dark matter is a stretch well beyond even ball lightning

I suggest you are seriously "clutching at straws" trying to link the two

regards
Dave
 
  • #3
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Hi Dave. Yes, I remember that you disagreed. I too was skeptical when I first saw the video. However, after close analysis I could see that the light was coming through the foliage. The light turns green right at the bottom of the streak. That could be caused by the strike being very close to the foliage. You have to view it one frame at a time to see this.

I suggest you are seriously "clutching at straws" trying to link the two
I disagree.
 
  • #4
phinds
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This paper suggests that macroscopic dark matter could leave a trail of ionized plasma as it passes through the earths atmosphere.
What does "macroscopic dark matter" even mean?

How could dark matter do that since it only interacts via gravity?
 
  • #5
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What does "macroscopic dark matter" even mean?
Well, I'm no expert on this but from what little I've read macroscopic dark matter is just what the name infers, dark matter that is not just single particles but has macroscopic form. Such an object interacting with the earth would be, for lack of a better term, a dark matter meteor or meteorite.

I realize that PF is very strict about topics. So if this is too "fringe" or if the source is not acceptable then moderators please feel free to delete or lock this thread. I'm ok with it and will not be offended.
 
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phinds
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Well, I'm no expert on this but from what little I've read macroscopic dark matter is just what the name infers, dark matter that is not just single particles but has macroscopic form.
Impossible nonsense. Have you not read about the characteristics of dark matter? It does not "clump". Where have you read such a thing?
 
  • #7
Ibix
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Impossible nonsense. Have you not read about the characteristics of dark matter? It does not "clump". Where have you read such a thing?
In the paper linked in the OP, I'd imagine. This isn't a conventional theory of dark matter - the list of research areas includes Massive Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs), contrasted with the more mainstream Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs, and no, it is not April 1st).

I don't know how mainstream it is these days, although MACHOs were a genuine thing in the early days of dark matter. I note the absense of lightning bolts from the mentors so far, though.
 
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phinds
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I don't know how mainstream it is these days ...
Clearly, I am misinformed. I thought MACHOs had been ruled out for DM.
 
  • #9
Ibix
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Clearly, I am misinformed. I thought MACHOs had been ruled out for DM.
Me too, which is why I said I didn't know how mainstream this is...
 
  • #10
phinds
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Impossible nonsense. Have you not read about the characteristics of dark matter? It does not "clump". Where have you read such a thing?
@TurtleMeister I apologize for that comment. I was so convinced that it could not be right that I did not read the article. I still doubt the article is right (based as it is on what I believe to be a false premise of MACHOs for DM), but that's on me, not you.
 
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  • #13
Ibix
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Those are macros, not strictly your run-of-the-mill machos.
Intrresting - didn't know about them. I haven't quite worked out how they make normal matter non-interacting. Or are they simply saying that small asteroid sized lumps of matter don't collide very often?
 
  • #14
Bandersnatch
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Pretty much.
 
  • #15
Ibix
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Pretty much.
I don't think I want to be standing around here when a ##10^{18}\mathrm{g}## lump of the stuff "interacts with" the Earth about once in a billion years...
 
  • #16
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@phinds Apology accepted. I too was skeptical when I first read about this because like you I was thinking that dark matter cannot clump. But as others have mentioned, this is not about traditional dark matter.

For those who are viewing the video, the disputed phenomena accurs at about 0:37 seconds. If this is indeed actual lightning phenomena then it seems, at least to me, to be a good fit for what the paper is describing. There is a slight curve in the path but I'm thinking this could be caused by air current. Although the path of the object would be straight the trail left behind would be subject to air flow.
 
  • #17
Klystron
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After watching the storm cloud video twice at normal speed, the falling object resembles a large hail stone falling nearby. I have observed ball lightning several times along the Pacific coast and in the Sierra Nevada mountain high deserts. I have seen ~1 meter colored spheres that tend to hover and bounce near the earth but never falling compactly from thunderclouds.

I have seen and even collected large hailstones swirled by high winds in thunderclouds then falling to earth much like the object in the video. I have tracked hail with an India-band (X-band) tracking radar. Small cross section of ~~5 centimeters but brilliant returns as the hail rotates probably from ice crystals.

If weather effects or human activity explain the phenomena, why conjecture dark or exotic matter as the explanation?

The apparent effects on the utilities during the storm look interesting, though likely not related to the falling object at 33sec frame; unless the odd light changes are an artifact of the camera recording. I will read the cosmology paper now, not wanting the subject matter to bias my viewing of the weather video.
 

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