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Cassea

Is Ball Lightning really a "controversy?"

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The other day I was on the shoreline and I swear I saw a ball of light swoop down and then just blink out. A few hours later it was raining and I spoke to my brother about it and he said it was probably just lightening. But I didn't see it like connected to a stream or anything. It really just looked like it was hovering and then swerved and blinked away.

So I started looking up pictures of what I thought I saw online. I couldn't find an exact image. Most I've seen were in the middle of other lightning but this wasn't. So I'm seeing things saying it is a controversy. Some people told me it was probably a bug or something closer than I realized. But I don't think so.

http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-007-5000-5_3#page-1

Anyway, why is this being treated like some fake thing? It seems easy enough to be believed to me?

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I never saw one. But it seems reasonable to me.

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To my current understanding(which could be wrong) "ball-lightning" is a verified event but poorly understood.

Perhaps in time continued observations and lab experiments will get to the root cause of this.

Edited by pallidin
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I agree with pallidin, I don't think at this point there is much controversy as to it's existence but only as to how it actually occurs.

There is a lot of info on wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning

Edited by Razer

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Yes I looked up all of that, just started to notice that people who believed in Aliens seemed to have a huge take on it that spin other people out. Could someone in laymen terms explain why it's so hard to understand the physics. It seems simple enough to me, instead of traveling in a line, it just travels in a ball?

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instead of traveling in a line, it just travels in a ball?

Lightning travels in a line because of the difference of positive and negative charges, so there is something different going on if it is ball shaped. I wish I could explain the physics in laymen terms, but I don't think the physicists can even agree among themselves in their own terms at this point as to what is causing them. I think it is still an unexplained mystery. Count yourself lucky if you saw one and I can only imagine the frustration of trying to make sense of it and get answers when there are really not any right now.

Another similar type of phenomenon is Sprites, first photographed on July 6, 1989. I think they are still trying to make sense of those and they have a lot more data work with than they do with ball lightning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_%28lightning%29

Edited by Razer

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Hmm interesting. I suppose I just assumed it was possible for it to "snap off" the line and fly in a ball.

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I (myself and a fellow worker at the lake Huron shoreline) saw what i thought was a "shooting star" streak down from the night sky at an angel ..... then SLOWWWWWW down and CURRRRRVE around as it got lower until it passed directly overhead . It looked very bright as it streaked down ... then was just a glowing , swirling, "donut" of energy as it passed over . I'll never forget it.

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The other day I was on the shoreline and I swear I saw a ball of light swoop down and then just blink out. A few hours later it was raining and I spoke to my brother about it and he said it was probably just lightening. But I didn't see it like connected to a stream or anything. It really just looked like it was hovering and then swerved and blinked away.

So I started looking up pictures of what I thought I saw online. I couldn't find an exact image. Most I've seen were in the middle of other lightning but this wasn't. So I'm seeing things saying it is a controversy. Some people told me it was probably a bug or something closer than I realized. But I don't think so.

http://link.springer...5000-5_3#page-1

Anyway, why is this being treated like some fake thing? It seems easy enough to be believed to me?

I notice that we were both on a "shoreline" when we saw our glowing balls ... AND ... yours "swerved" and mine "curved" ... i'm not sure if mine "blinked out" like yours did... but when i looked behind us after it had come across the water and over land, and our heads, it was gone . Interesting similarities?

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I have seen it. It was sphere shaped and when it moved it stayed completely spherical. It was large and coral orange in color. It looked like it bounced across a couple of clouds then in a zig zagging pattern headed for the ground. It was very beautiful.

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You guys describe yours as a Ball or a Sphere ... Mine was a fuzzily defined Donut shape with sort of blueish white energy swirling around within the "donut" .

..the center was nearly transparent. I'd estimate the size , when it went overhead at around 8 or 10 feet in diameter. .. But.. i never understood why it seemed so much larger and brighter and Faster when it came streaking out of the night sky .... and then slowed and got dimmer the closer it got.

I'm not sure what we saw was " ball lightning" but it sure was interesting!!

Edited by lightly
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Yes I looked up all of that, just started to notice that people who believed in Aliens seemed to have a huge take on it that spin other people out. Could someone in laymen terms explain why it's so hard to understand the physics. It seems simple enough to me, instead of traveling in a line, it just travels in a ball?

I thought it was because lighting 'needed' a place to go, something to conduct it or draw it in. Untamed energy kind of just goes from A to B to C if you get me, so it can zig zag through the clouds and then smash in to the ground and 'stop' per say.

It's hard to explain >.>

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My mum may have seen ball lightning. in the 60s when she was a teenager she had run out to get the wash in with her mother. As she was getting the wash off the washing line, there was a flash of lightning and her mum screamed for her to look at what my mum said looked like a baseball sized sphere of light bouncing along the ground between them. As it bounced it faded away. She said she could smell burning and felt static in the air. I used to go the house they lived in all the time when I was young. It has a tin roof so my guess was that lightning had struck the roof and thrown some tin off it or something. But my mum said the ball was heading towards the house and had come from the direction of open grass, so who knows.

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I notice that we were both on a "shoreline" when we saw our glowing balls ... AND ... yours "swerved" and mine "curved" ... i'm not sure if mine "blinked out" like yours did... but when i looked behind us after it had come across the water and over land, and our heads, it was gone . Interesting similarities?

Yes very similar, I wonder if water has an effect?

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Yes very similar, I wonder if water has an effect?

Yup. I don't know... but lightning does try to reach "ground" at one end. .. so if some electrical/plasma ball were formed offshore, it might head for ground?

The weirdest thing about my plasma donut was how it appeared to start off very far away and very high in the atmosphere traveling very fast ( i thought it was a "shooting star" ( small meteor) for a second ... then it seemed to slowwww down and curve around as it got lower and closer... and then slowly flew directly overhead! ???

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Lightning travels in a line because of the difference of positive and negative charges, so there is something different going on if it is ball shaped. I wish I could explain the physics in laymen terms, but I don't think the physicists can even agree among themselves in their own terms at this point as to what is causing them. I think it is still an unexplained mystery. Count yourself lucky if you saw one and I can only imagine the frustration of trying to make sense of it and get answers when there are really not any right now.

Another similar type of phenomenon is Sprites, first photographed on July 6, 1989. I think they are still trying to make sense of those and they have a lot more data work with than they do with ball lightning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_%28lightning%29

Yeah, Red Sprites, Blue Jets and Elves are pretty strange and awesome.

Here is some more info on them> http://www.albany.edu/faculty/rgk/atm101/sprite.htm

Gods Fireworks

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People have reported seeing ball lightning—a rare phenomenon that resembles a glowing sphere of electricity—for hundreds of years. But scientists still can't explain what causes it, or even exactly what it is.

"There's certainly no consensus. I don't think that anyone knows what it is," said Graham K. Hubler, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

"Most scientists feel that the proper model hasn't been found yet."

His close encounter happened at age 16, while he was riding out a thunderstorm in an open-sided park pavilion.

"It's extraordinary—you're so startled that you remember it for the rest of your life," he said.

He describes seeing a glowing, tennis ball-size formation hovering nearby.

"It drifted along a few feet above the ground," Hubler recalled, "but when it came inside [the pavilion] it dropped down to the ground and skittered along the floor."

"It made lots of gyrations or oscillations and a hissing sound like boiling water. When it went out the other side [of the pavilion], it climbed back up [several feet off the ground]."

Hubler says the ball behaved as if it had a charge and was following electric field lines along the Earth.

"I remember telling people what I had seen, and they thought I was crazy, so I stopped talking about it," he said.

Ball Lightning Research

Despite some fairly consistent characteristics, ball lightning has thus far defied scientific explanation—but it's not for a lack of theories.

Scientists have postulated that plasma may be behind the phenomenon.

Plasma clouds are composed of charged particles that recombine into atoms and glow with light.

The clouds may be created by an energy source like a conventional lightning bolt and could theoretically form ball lightning.

An alternative theory promotes the notion that small particles held together in a ball by electrical charges emit chemical energy through oxidation.

This theory suggests that when lightning strikes a surface, a vapor is formed. The vapor condenses into particles that mix with oxygen in the air and then slowly burn with the release of chemical energy.

"The whole picture is electrical energy, in a huge amount really, and a small part of that energy gets converted to chemical energy and stored in particles," said the University of Canterbury's Abrahamson, who supports the theory.

Laboratory work is currently seeking to reproduce ball lightning under this model and several others.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060531-ball-lightning.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060531-ball-lightning_2.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/628709.stm

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I don't know, what I saw years ago, is the same thing, but this thread reminds me of it. I was living on in housing on a AFB, when it happened. At night, during a thunder storm, while I was looking out a window at everything. Then I glanced across housing, (the next street over more than likely it seemed) I saw a red ball of light hovering the tree line. It bounced a bit and then went down toward the ground. I think it probably faded out. I think it was also near a utility pole, maybe.

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Funny just yesterday my kids where playing in a Carl's jr indoor play pen. There is a long plastic slide. It generates a good Charge sliding down it and the boys were shocking each other. At one point my oldest shock my middle one and he giggled and look straight at me. Floating right up in front of him was what looked like a spark hovering in the air. It moved a bit then disappeared.

Mini ball lighting?

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I think that this is the original research that's been lighting up the ball lightning dicussions:

http://prl.aps.org/a...v112/i3/e035001

Ball lightning (BL) has been observed with two slitless spectrographs at a distance of 0.9 km. The BL is generated by a cloud-to-ground lightning strike. It moves horizontally during the luminous duration. The evolution of size, color, and light intensity is reported in detail. The spectral analysis indicates that the radiation from soil elements is present for the entire lifetime of the BL.

Spectral analysis is no trivial thing. It can give us an idea of actual mechanism at the heart of this phenomena.

Imagine getting spectral analysis on a garden variety UFO.

Edited by Xynoplas

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I think that this is the original research that's been lighting up the ball lightning dicussions:

http://prl.aps.org/a...v112/i3/e035001

Spectral analysis is no trivial thing. It can give us an idea of actual mechanism at the heart of this phenomena.

Imagine getting spectral analysis on a garden variety UFO.

I am an atmospheric scientist and I do not agree with the above paper.

We don't know what cause ball lighting however the above is very unlikely. I have been so lucky to witness ball lightning myself and there was no prior Cloud-Ground lighting for many miles.

I would suggest reading this paper.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012JD017921/abstract

Even though it's only a mathematical theory, it makes more sense and are able to explain ball lighting where no prior lightning has occurred.

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