Ball Lightning – Part Three

It’s been awhile since I made a regular post, what with the release of the reading and all the excitement around that. It’s been fun and thoroughly enjoyable, but I really need to post the last article in the series on ball lightning.

The Wikipedia entry on it says, “. . . the true nature of ball lightning is unknown.” Against that disappointment it has a list of accounts of it, so you might find it interesting anyway.

Physicsworld has several articles on the phenomenon. The two most recent concentrate on silicon nanoparticles kicked out of the soil by a lightning strike, and transcranial magnetic stimulation of the visual cortex. has a story about scientists who have generated plasma clouds in the laboratory which resemble ball lightning.

Finally, reports on a theory proposed this year that focused on the ball lightning that occurs in enclosed spaces, such as houses and airplanes. Significantly, this theory, supported by a mathematical solution, accounts for the way ball lightning has been reported to pass through glass. The nanoparticle and plasma hypotheses, for instance, do not accommodate passing through such a physical barrier.

Ball lightning is still mysterious, and the few people who get to witness it still find it to be a transcendent, if sometimes fatal, experience. But thanks to science, we’re also getting closer to understanding it.

See also parts one and two.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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2 Responses to Ball Lightning – Part Three

  1. Risa Hicks says:

    I have seen ball lightning very close to this, and seen the entire sky light up like a giant flash went off, about 7-12 miles down the road.I was wondering if there was any correlation?

  2. arjaybe says:

    From what I’ve read on the subject, it’s likely there is a correlation between atmospheric electrical charge and ball lightning. Your ball lightning was most likely correlated with the distant lightning.

    What kind did you see? Was it in an enclosed space, or out in the open. How did it make you feel?


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