Re: stepped leaders (was Safety FAQ...)

Robert Stephens wrote:

> I don't believe that phenomenon occuring on the enormous scale of stepped
> leaders in natural lightning are necessarily useful in the explanation of
> phenomena observed in Tesla coil  discharges.
> The smallest stepped leaders in naturally occuring ligthning are at a minimum,
> at least an order of magnitude larger in scale than the biggest Tesla coil sparks
> yet produced. The features of a Tesla coil streamer advancing upon itself in
> small steps is absolutely microscopic compared to the stepped leader lightning
> example referred to here by Greg.   Sorry folks,  I don't buy a small scale stepped
> leader connection here for Tesla coils as based on the natural lightning example.

The stepped leaders in a lightning strike will of course be much larger than the 
stepped leaders generated by a tesla coil, since the voltages involved in lightning
production are much higher.  Total cloud-to-ground voltages range from tens to hundreds
of megavolts, which would yield leaders on the order of tens to hundreds of meters.
My coil generates about 550kV, which should produce leaders of only a couple of feet.

Perhaps some empirical data can solve this matter.  Anyone out there have a streak
camera, or a 'Boys Camera', as they used to call it?