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Scientists capture ball lightning on film

Posted on Monday, 20 January, 2014 | Comment icon 19 comments

Lightning strikes hitting the ground can produce ball lightning. Image Credit: PD - Codalo
Chinese researchers have managed to observe and film natural ball lightning for the first time.
Taking the form of a bright sphere of electrical energy, the enigmatic phenomenon was doubted to even exist at all until around the 1960s. Since then scientists have been able to recreate ball lightning in a lab, but nobody had ever been able to satisfactorily record a naturally occurring example.

Now a science team in China believe that they've achieved the impossible by recording footage of ball lightning that formed during a storm in Qinghai. Using a combination of spectrographs and video cameras, the researchers recorded the glowing orb of light as it rose 5 meters above the ground.

"There have been many research programs that routinely video or photograph natural and triggered lightning," said lightning specialist Martin Uman. "But none, as far as I am aware, has stumbled on a ball lightning."

The theory goes that when lightning strikes the ground it can store energy in silicon nanoparticles which then oxidize, releasing their energy in the form of a ball of pure silicon vapor.

Source: Huffington Post | Comments (19)

Tags: Ball Lightning

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 on 20 January, 2014, 19:52
They caught it on camera and a spectrograph, which is what is seen on the right side of the video. It would appear that ball lightning is in fact just oxidizing silicon vapor. Neat.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Talion78 on 20 January, 2014, 22:22
Well I must say the distinct lack of "Ball" and "Lightning" really threw me with this one. The fading green blue red thing was OK though
Comment icon #12 Posted by Rhino666 on 20 January, 2014, 22:44
You ungrateful lot. All that effort they put into this so you can see....................absolutely nothing!!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Xynoplas on 20 January, 2014, 23:35
They were hoping little green men would pop out.
Comment icon #14 Posted by mesuma on 20 January, 2014, 23:52
This isn't the first time, they have been recording them in Norway for ages.
Comment icon #15 Posted by rufo32 on 21 January, 2014, 0:17
That was so anti climatic.
Comment icon #16 Posted by atomk12 on 21 January, 2014, 15:10
Hmmm, very interesting. Having been in a large electrical storm that lasted overnight at an altitude of 5000 feet in Colorado and having seen ball lightning for myself, I can't begin to understand what in the video would be considered ball lightning.
Comment icon #17 Posted by rodentraiser on 21 January, 2014, 17:26
I could be wrong here, but I always thought ball lightning was when balls of electricity came rolling out along the ground. I remember reading about this in one of the Little House books and thought it was figment of the author's imagination. Years later, I found out it actually happens. And for some reason, I always thought that was called ball lightning.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Azznerak the Black on 21 January, 2014, 17:53
That video was more disappointing then watching two midgets try to dry hump a doorknob.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Talion78 on 21 January, 2014, 22:32
@Azznerk - can't say midgets it's not PC.....vertically challenged persons. Kinda spoils the joke though.

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