Seen St Elmo's fire?

  • Thread starter mmwave
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mmwave
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Has anyone seen St. Elmo's fire, also known as corona discharge in everyday life?

I've seen in it a lab demonstration but I'm curious what it actually looks like in the real world and how common it is.

If you model a ship's spar as a long perfectly conducting cylinder then by solving poisson's equation you can show that at the top and bottom sides of the cylinder (long dimension is horizontal) the electric field is twice that of the applied field. So whenever the electric potential from cloud to sky is more than 1/2 the breakdown voltage you should see the discharge.

I guess I'm not very lucky since I've never seen it.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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St. Elmo's fire is a weather phenomenon that occurs during thunderstorms. It is a bright glow that appears in the air around a pointed object, such as a ship's mast or a lightning rod. It is sometimes associated with ball lightning, an electrical phenomenon that appears during thunderstorms.

St. Elmo's fire is named after Saint Erasmus of Formia, an Italian saint. He is the patron saint of sailors. Sailors often saw St. Elmo's fire, also known as corposants, when out at sea. Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. Saint Elmo's Fire can be seen in the form of a bright glow around the top of a pointed object, such as a ship's mast or a lightning rod.
 

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