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Scientists uncover mystery of ball lightning
ABC (AU) ^ | October 13, 2012 | Darren Osborne

Posted on 10/19/2012 9:18:30 PM PDT by neverdem

A team of Australian scientists believe they have uncovered the cause of one of nature's most bizarre phenomenon - ball lightning.

Ball lightning is typically the size of a grapefruit and lasts up to 20 seconds.

"Ball lightning has been reported by hundreds of people, for hundreds of years and it has been a mystery," said CSIRO scientist John Lowke, lead author of a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres.

Previous theories have suggested microwave radiation, oxidising aerosols, nuclear energy, dark matter, antimatter, and even black holes as possible causes.

One recent theory suggests burning silicon that has been vaporised by a lightning strike.

To unravel the mystery Mr Lowke and colleagues at the CSIRO and the Australian National University, turned their attention to reports of ball lightning forming near windows.

"There are many observations of ball lightning appearing from a glass window either in a house (or) in the cockpit of an aircraft," he said.

"If it's burning silicon, how did it come in?"

After hitting the ground and lighting the sky, lightning strikes leave behind a trail of charged particles, or ions. In most cases, these positive and negative ions recombine in a split seconds. Any remaining ions travel down to the ground.

Mr Lowke's theory is that some of these ions can accumulate on the outside of non-conducting surfaces such as a window.

"These ions pile up and produce an electrical field which penetrate the glass," he said.

Mr Lowke says the field gives free electrons on the inside of the window enough energy to knock off electrons from surrounding air molecules, as well as release photons, creating a glowing ball.

Recreating it in the lab

"This is the first paper which gives a mathematical solution explaining the birth or initiation of ball..."

(Excerpt) Read more at au.news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: balllightning; catastrophism; physics
Birth of ball lightning
1 posted on 10/19/2012 9:18:34 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Good find, thanks!


2 posted on 10/19/2012 9:25:51 PM PDT by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: neverdem; All

Has ball lightning ever been known to cause damage or injuries?


3 posted on 10/19/2012 9:28:03 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: TigersEye

My brother in law has been hit by lightning twice in his life. Once in his backyard by regular lightning and once in his upstairs hallway by ball lightning that essentially chased him down. He said in came from the bathroom window and got him as he was running away from it.


4 posted on 10/19/2012 9:34:49 PM PDT by calljack (Sometimes your worst nightmare is just a start.)
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To: neverdem

My grandmother had encounter with ball lightning. There was a large strike near the house, and just like the article says, the ball of lightning came through the window and hovered over to the telephone then blew it right off the wall. To this day grandmother will not use the phone even if there’s a remote possibility of a thunderstorm.


5 posted on 10/19/2012 9:38:20 PM PDT by Thorliveshere
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To: neverdem

Tesla was making these in his lab long ago.


6 posted on 10/19/2012 9:39:12 PM PDT by HenryArmitage (it was not meant that we should voyage far.)
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To: calljack

Did the ball lightning cause him any pain or injury?


7 posted on 10/19/2012 9:40:52 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: calljack

Ball lightning is one of those weird things that actually scares the crap out of me. I never want to see it close up. At a distance is great, but the stories of them going in and out of houses and exploding are freaky. Apparently they make weird noises too.. Lots say it’s not really electrical, more like an engine but unlike anything else.


8 posted on 10/19/2012 9:44:06 PM PDT by Monty22002
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To: neverdem

The one time I saw ball lightning was during a severe thunderstorm. I was looking out of the window, and saw 3 balls of lightning fall somewhat slowly, one of which struck a power transformer. The transformer was fried similar to how it would be with ordinary lightning. The slow speed of the ball lightning was what was most interesting.


9 posted on 10/19/2012 9:44:59 PM PDT by oblomov
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To: TigersEye

In 1974 my friends sister watched ball lightning roll off of their electric stove and setting the kitchen on fire. Both her and her mother saw it happen. She I was 12 at the time, and she described it as looking like a fireworks pinwheel rolling across the floor, until it exploded.


10 posted on 10/19/2012 9:46:58 PM PDT by MrNeutron1962
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To: MrNeutron1962

Interesting. Thanks! I guess it has some potency.


11 posted on 10/19/2012 9:58:32 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: TigersEye

I was sleeping on my couch one night in Chicago and was awakened by a wicked flash of lightning. Next thing I know a six inch ball lightning descends slowly from the ceiling light fixture. It spazed out and ruined my computer. The place smelled strongly...ozone. Really a once in a lifetime experience.


12 posted on 10/19/2012 9:59:56 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: Blackirish

Aiyeeeee! Now that’s a real spooky story. Once would be enough I’m sure.


13 posted on 10/19/2012 10:03:18 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: HenryArmitage

Along with other things. He was ahead of his time. A most brilliant mind as well.


14 posted on 10/19/2012 10:06:53 PM PDT by Republican1795.
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To: oblomov
My experience is similar to yours. I have seen it twice.

The first time was around Orlando Fl around 3 am during a heat lightning type of night. I was driving south and all of a sudden there was something like a magnesium burn floating down from the sky. It burned out in 10 seconds well before it even got to powerline level.

The second time was more dramatic. I was on 595 eastbound around 5pm in fort lauderdale. There was an afternoon summer storm on the edge of erupting. Lightning was everywhere. All of a sudden, what looked like a 3 foot diameter ball of magnesium fire popped up over the highway and just hovered about 50 feet over the ground. It lasted about 10 seconds, but it felt like slow motion. Then, it imploded and disappeared. The rain started a few seconds later.

15 posted on 10/19/2012 10:10:42 PM PDT by laxcoach (Government is greedy. Taxpayers who want their own money are not greedy.)
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To: TigersEye

Yeah! and it made spooky electric buzzing the whole time lasted solid 10 second went about 4 feet straight down..all I could do was state in awe.


16 posted on 10/19/2012 10:17:35 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: TigersEye

Yeah! and it made spooky electric buzzing the whole time lasted solid 10 second went about 4 feet straight down..all I could do was state in awe.


17 posted on 10/19/2012 10:17:35 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: TigersEye

Yeah! and it made spooky electric buzzing the whole time lasted solid 10 second went about 4 feet straight down..all I could do was state in awe.


18 posted on 10/19/2012 10:17:48 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: Blackirish

Oops phone triple post


19 posted on 10/19/2012 10:19:22 PM PDT by Blackirish
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To: neverdem

20 posted on 10/19/2012 10:31:54 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (To bid on this tagline space: www.jeffchandlerstaglinespace.com)
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To: neverdem

Ball lightening is no real mystery. These guys are looking for funding for something. Ionized air after the high voltage hits it forms a plasma somethimes instead being a strike it forms sheets (like cloud to cloud) or balls....closer to the ground and usually around areas with a high small particle count (think dust)


21 posted on 10/19/2012 11:04:15 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: TigersEye
Has ball lightning ever been known to cause damage or injuries?

Yep. When I lived in Kansas City North the neighbors had a strike down the chimney. The fire did a significant amount of damage. They claimed they saw it come down the chimney when they pulled into the driveway.
22 posted on 10/19/2012 11:46:43 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

For the young, Jerry Lee Lewis sang a great rock & roll song, “Great Balls of Lighting”, about 1957. It was the third 45 record I had ever bought. Still have it in near mint condition (Sun label).

Love these stories. As the Killer would say, “Goodness, gracious, Great Balls of Fire.”

PS: Saw him twice. Once in a dual bill with Fats Domino, and then in a triple billing with Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Still had the sizzle, but Little Richard owned the theater.


23 posted on 10/19/2012 11:54:35 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: PA Engineer

I guess knowing that won’t help me protect myself from ball lightning but thanks for replying. Weird stuff!


24 posted on 10/19/2012 11:56:52 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: Blackirish

These stories are awesome! I’ve been in plenty of lightning storms, but this ball lightning would scare the poop out of me.


25 posted on 10/20/2012 12:07:39 AM PDT by catbertz
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To: neverdem

I don’t know if what I saw was ball lightening but when I was a kid, I saw these little balls of light dancing in a tree across the street from my house just after a severe thunderstorm had passed. I’m sure it wasn’t sparks, there were no power lines near that tree, and it wasn’t fire, and they sure as heck were not lightning bugs. It only lasted a few seconds but it was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.


26 posted on 10/20/2012 12:23:52 AM PDT by MD Expat in PA
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To: neverdem

27 posted on 10/20/2012 12:24:30 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: TigersEye

Happened to my Mom’s family when she was a young girl. My Mother has ALWAYS been really paranoid about lightning; not using the phone, staying in the middle of the house, etc.

Now, I know these are basic precautions, but she was always way over the top (she won’t use her cell phone during a storm..or the cordless phone)...wouldn’t let us run any water, etc. Anyway, it all made sense a few years ago when she told us about the ball of lightning that had entered the kitchen of her girlhood home, stayed awhile bouncing around on the floor, and left after destroying the phone. Apparently it was quite the experience.


28 posted on 10/20/2012 12:47:49 AM PDT by garandgal
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To: neverdem

Great balls of fire, Batman.


29 posted on 10/20/2012 12:53:03 AM PDT by lwoodham (I am Andrew Breitbart. Don't doubt me on this.)
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To: garandgal

I feel a little funny about using the water during a thunderstorm too after a plumber told me that lightning unsoldered every single fitting in a house he was called to service.


30 posted on 10/20/2012 1:02:05 AM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: TigersEye

Oh, it will absolutely do that. Have you heard about the problem they are having with natural gas lines? Apparently there was some kind of flexible product that they were using about 10 years ago (when my house was built..happy day), that has been failing during lightning strikes...causing the gas to ignite!

It’s happened to more than several homes around here, and they recommend having it replaced; not so easy to do with a finished lower level.


31 posted on 10/20/2012 1:14:12 AM PDT by garandgal
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To: garandgal

Er, no, I didn’t know about that. There is one flex line on our water heater. Installed much less than ten years ago though.


32 posted on 10/20/2012 1:20:46 AM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: neverdem

St. Elmo’s fire.

I’ve seen this once, maybe twice. The second was one evening during a thunder storm when I might have been about 10 years old. I was watching TV in my room when this fast moving 6 inch glowing ball appeared in front of the TV , bounced out of the door and down the hallway. As I rounded the doorway into the hall giving chase, I saw my older brother standing at the other end of the hall by his doorway. He related the same experience of seeing a ball appear in front of his TV and bounce out of the room. In the hall, there was only one ball and it bounced around a little and then sputtered out.

The first time, may have been ball lightening or not. It was a few years earlier on a bright and crisp cold day. I remember several people were outside at the time. It seems to me that this was some sort of holiday, maybe Thanksgiving. A glowing blue ball again about 6 inches in diameter appeared out of the sky traveling in a trajectory that you would expect of an object fired from a cannon. It struck the middle of the street in front of at least a half a dozen people and seemingly more energized it bounced upward and away disappearing over the next row of houses and trees.

I haven’t thought about these sightings in years, but they are something I’ll never forget.


33 posted on 10/20/2012 1:27:31 AM PDT by loucon
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...
Thanks neverdem.



34 posted on 10/20/2012 5:59:35 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Blackirish; Roscoe Karns
Your beeber must have been stuned.

And "Chicago," is it? (Shakes head, as though recovering from a daze.)

(More brightly):

I think we can modify this slightly to describe "what it feels like to receive a ZOT."

Cheers!

35 posted on 10/20/2012 6:10:35 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers; Blackirish; Roscoe Karns
Sorry 'bout that. For the context of my previous post #35, see post #12 in the same thread.

Cheers!

36 posted on 10/20/2012 6:15:32 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: neverdem

Saw ball lightning in my junior high school ca. 1968. Whole class saw it. When I looked it up in the books, the books said it didn’t exist. Since I don’t believe in mass hallucinations during a thunderstorm, I decided that books and their authors don’t know everything, and I’d best check it my self.


37 posted on 10/20/2012 3:11:53 PM PDT by bIlluminati (290 Reps, 67 Senators, 38 state legislatures - Impeach, convict, amend)
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To: bIlluminati

Don’t know if it was ball lightening, but it was an excessively humid summer evening after dark with a storm coming. I was exiting our shop, which is a remodeled old barn with a concrete block lower level and floor. There was lightening in the air at my eye level (I am 5”3”), so thick it was nearly solid. There were more intense streaks inside the mass of light. It sizzled and popped. It expanded to seemingly fill the space just outside the garage door sized opening. It was intensely electric green and just became more diffuse. It was a foot or so in front of me and I retreated further inside.

It was terrifying. I just stood there until it dissipated. Probably seconds, but it felt like several minutes. I had already turned off the lights in the building, which was probably a lucky thing. Right afterward, it just rained like hell.


38 posted on 10/20/2012 6:55:45 PM PDT by reformedliberal
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