RE: St. Elmo's Fire

Subject:       RE: St. Elmo's Fire
       Date:   Sun, 27 Apr 1997 19:41:24 GMT
       From:   robert.michaels-at-online.sme-dot-org (Robert Michaels)
Organization:  Society of Manufacturing Engineers
         To:   tesla-at-pupman-dot-com

        The post below is #$%%^!!-at-#-at- ! hard to read because the
        #%#$%% ! author insisted on writing 80+ column lines.

        Nevertheless, except for a few points it covers its sub-
        ject quite well.   I've these additions:

        St. Elmo's fire is a =static electric= effect.  Any ref-
        erence to it in Tesla work is strictly based upon similar
        appearances as between Tesla coil coronas and St. Elmo's

        St. Elmo's fire is archetypically seen on the masts of ships
        in heavy electrical storms.  However, it is also manifest on
        pointed objects in very severe land-based electrical storms,
        especially at higher altitudes.

        There's nothing mysterious about St. Elmo's fire.  It's a
        manifestation of the accumulation of electrical charge on
        a pointed object (e.g. ship's mast).  If enough charge
        is present, molecules of surrounding air are ionized.  When
        the ionized molecules return to ground potential as they
        inevitably do, they emit photons. Our eyes perceive these
        photons as light.


                                        Robert Michaels - Detroit, USA

T>>What is St. Elmo's Fire?
T>        Not sure it has ever been hundred percent resolved.  In the
T>        of this list, it generally refers to a 'glow' appearing around
T>        usually conductors, usually at sea, usually in the days of old
T>        ships.  Sometimes seen on a/c surfaces, The big Zeps, etc.

T>        Almost certainly a case of corona, electrical breakdown of the
T>        in a gentler fashion than a spark, per se.  Its not obvious,
T>        is a constant field of roughly 200-300v/m in the natural
T>        In case of storm, esp. thunderstorm, this rises drastically.
T>When it
T>        rises far enough, a visible glow (usually visible only in dim
T>        can occur.

T>>I think it has something to do with Nikola Tesla.
T>        Tesla worked a lot with high voltages.  These tend to produce
T>        coronas, which look a lot like (and probably are) St Elmo's

T>(St Elmo had some duties as patron saint of seamen, so the discharge
T>associated with his name.)

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