Unexplained bright flash of light inside house

In summary: The second flash, which you see outside your window and on camera, was about 5 seconds later. It showed up much brighter because it had had more time to build up charge. It's possible that there was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that activated some wires in your house, causing the lights to turn on.Welcome, @Roland!In summary, an expert has identified that the light could be due to a static discharge, which could be due to either an EMP or a meteor.
  • #1
mammoth13
Last night I was awoken by what seemed like an extremely bright flash of light. I sat up and saw another bright flash of light just outside my bedroom that seemed to originate just down the hall. I was worried there was an electrical short so I ran out and nothing. I thought maybe I imagined it all since it was 3:30 AM.

I checked some of my cameras and my outside porch camera definitely saw it too as well as 3 other outside cameras. The light though did not originate from outside. After experiencing this I researched it online and found a ton of other people with very similar encounters.

What could this be? I am going to share a link to the video from my front porch. You can clearly see the first flash and then 5 seconds later you can see the second one reflect on the car. the second one seems to have originated somewhere else in the house.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #3
Around New Year people play with fireworks?
 
  • #4
Meteors burning up in the sky light things up. I once "saw" one so bright that it was like the light of a full moon for a second. Shadows were plainly visible. I put the word saw in quotes because I was looking down, not up.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #5
mammoth13 said:
You can clearly see the first flash
Extract some still images from the vid: it seems possible to have the position of the first flash identified based on the light strips visible.

Ps.: on second thought, I think it'll be one of your LED lamps - and a dusty or bugous (I mean physical bugs here!) switch somewhere. An old filament bulb would just shrug off any such switch malfunction (and the malfunction would just burn itself out promptly), but these high efficiency LEDs may make visible fuss.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #6
Welcome, @mammoth13 !

Are you able to locate the source of the light from the projected shadows through the glass?

Flash.jpg
 
  • #7
I have tried to reproduce these results with any combination of lights inside the house and can't. Also, all lights are led in my house so no filaments. The first flash was so bright it immediately woke me up. I thought somebody just shined a bright flash light in my face from inches away.

The second flash 5 seconds later, I was fully awake and sitting up and saw the reflection of it off the wall. To me, it looked like an electrical spark or strobe light coming from closer to the ground level. I thought maybe there was a short and my house was catching on fire.

I ran out of my room and nothing. There was never a noise, smoke, smell, burn mark, or any signs of an electric arch. Light from my bedroom is not visible through the front door so I cant explain how the first flash lit up my room, went through the front door to my porch and lit up a spot in my backyard. Here is the video of my backyard.

You can see the flash on the grass on the right side between the two trees. This happened at the exact same time as the first flash. This is driving me nuts. Can static electricity inside the home produce this large of a flash?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #8
Could it be that there was a sudden electromagnetic pulse which triggered the lights (possibly more than one at the same time) temporarily, either directly by inducing a current in the light power supply, or indirectly by triggering some switching circuit? Such a pulse could perhaps be due to a surge in the power supply, or lightning somewhere. Modern LED lighting would be much more sensitive to such things than old incandescent lighting, and much faster to respond.

It could even be triggered by a meteor; many years ago I saw multiple bright Perseids within only a few seconds of each other, and also definitely seemed to hear each one (a sort of hiss) as it passed, which seemed impossible. I later decided it might be possible that the sound came from nearby metal scrap, or possibly even the metal arms of my spectacles, which had responded in some way to electromagnetic emissions from the meteor.
 
  • Like
Likes Lnewqban
  • #9
It happened with the power to the light fixture turned off.
That may be due to the LED drawing power from somewhere (in reverse due to leakage), or receiving changing voltage due to defective connections or switches, and slowly charging up an internal capacitor.
A professional electrician could determine the actual cause, and prevent future dangerous problems, like overheating of wires or connections.
 
  • #10
From the video, the initial flash was very short, showing up at full brightness only for two frames (although it was preceded by a couple of frames showing a partial flash). Frames seem to be 30 per second, so that makes the flash duration between a 30th and a 10th of a second. (You can use comma and period on the keyboard to step back or forward). The total amount of energy was therefore probably very small (and fortunately not enough to do any damage). It seems quite possible to me that it could have been due to a brief current induced in the low-voltage circuitry powering LED lighting, possibly in more than one room at the same time. Or if the lighting is controlled by an electronic switch rather than a physical one, it is possible that an induced current temporarily enabled the switch.

The second flash could have been a much smaller version of the same effect, where instead of many lights responding, only one minor light responded. It is however interesting that the reflection in the car seems to show a different source location from the first flash, rather than showing the second flash to be in some way a subset of the first flash.

One possible trigger could be an electrical appliance with a high level of inductance being turned on or off somewhere nearby, or some sort of electrical ignition apparatus being used to generate a spark.
 
  • Like
Likes Lnewqban
  • #11
Jonathan Scott said:
From the video, the initial flash was very short, showing up at full brightness only for two frames (although it was preceded by a couple of frames showing a partial flash). Frames seem to be 30 per second, so that makes the flash duration between a 30th and a 10th of a second.
Check the top of the pillars, there are two components in the first flash. The big one is two frames long, the weaker one lasts for two extra frames (can't tell if it starts at the same time, brightness difference is too large). There might even be a third component lasting a few more frames beyond that, based on the ground.
 

1. What could be causing the unexplained bright flash of light inside my house?

There are several possible explanations for a bright flash of light inside a house. It could be a result of a power surge, a malfunctioning electrical appliance, or even a lightning strike nearby. It could also be caused by a camera flash, a reflection from a shiny surface, or a passing car's headlights.

2. Is a bright flash of light inside a house a sign of a paranormal activity?

While some people may attribute a bright flash of light to paranormal activity, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It is more likely that the flash is caused by a natural or man-made occurrence, such as those mentioned in the previous answer.

3. Can a bright flash of light inside a house be harmful to my health?

In most cases, a single bright flash of light inside a house is not harmful to one's health. However, if the flash is accompanied by a loud noise or a burning smell, it could be a sign of an electrical issue that should be addressed by a professional as it could potentially be a safety hazard.

4. What should I do if I experience a bright flash of light inside my house?

If you experience a bright flash of light inside your house, the first thing you should do is try to identify the source of the flash. Check your appliances and electrical outlets for any malfunctions. If you cannot find a clear cause, it may be a good idea to contact an electrician to inspect your home's electrical system.

5. Can a bright flash of light inside a house be prevented?

In some cases, a bright flash of light inside a house can be prevented by taking precautions such as using surge protectors for electronic devices and keeping appliances in good working condition. However, some causes, such as lightning strikes, are unpredictable and cannot be prevented. It is important to regularly maintain and inspect your home's electrical system to minimize the risk of a bright flash of light occurring.

Similar threads

Replies
23
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
477
  • Other Physics Topics
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • Special and General Relativity
Replies
13
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
5
Views
17K
  • Electrical Engineering
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
30
Views
82K
  • Other Physics Topics
2
Replies
39
Views
3K
Back
Top