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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ball Lightning

"People have reported seeing ball lightning—a rare phenomenon that resembles a glowing sphere of electricity—for hundreds of years." Full Article

Ball lightning is an example of a natural phenomenon that often is mistaken for something supernatural. Because of the behavior ball lightning displays, people may be quick to report a Ufo. However, many people have seen and will continue to see unidentified flying objects that do not fall in this category. It is important to be accurate when making a report.

Here are some characteristics of this phenomenon. (rather inconsistent ones)

"Depending on the report, ball lightning can move upwards as well as downwards, sideways, or in odd trajectories such as rocking from side to side like a falling leaf. It can move with or against the wind, or simply hover, more or less stationary in the air. Sometimes it is described as being attracted to houses, cars, persons, or other objects, but sometimes the balls are reportedly repelled or are unaffected by objects. Some accounts claim the balls have passed freely through solid masses, such as wood or metal, without any effect to the ball or material, while other accounts report damage to the material, such as melting or burning. Some reports suggest an attraction to, or even an origination from electric power lines.

Ball lightning has been reported in many different colors, sometimes even transparent or translucent. It is sometimes said to contain radial filaments or sparks while others are evenly lit, and some have flames protruding from the ball surface. Its shape has been described as spherical, oval, tear-drop, or rod-like.

It has sometimes been reported during thunderstorms, sometimes issuing from a lightning flash, while sometimes it appears during calm weather with no storms in the vicinity.

The balls have been reported to disperse in many different ways, such as suddenly vanishing, gradually dissipating, absorption into an object, "pop"ing, exploding loudly, or even exploding with force, which is sometimes reported as damaging. Some accounts say the balls are lethal, killing on contact, while other accounts claim that they are harmless." (Wiki) To date, ball lightning is known to last for seconds only.

Last year scientists were able to recreate this phenomenon in the lab.

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