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Ball Lightning

Original poster: "Cory" <coryrc@xxxxxxxxx>

Now I have something to try.


>From Slashdot

"EWAdams writes to point us to a New Scientist report that the mysterious
phenomenon of ball lighting has now been created in a Brazilian research
lab. The phenomenon has long been reported anecdotally but never explained
or understood. Scientists have devised numerous possible explanations,
including mini black holes left over from the Big Bang, but have had little
success in producing working examples. From the article:
"A more down-to-earth theory... is that ball lightning forms when lightning
strikes soil, turning any silica in the soil into pure silicon vapor. As the
vapor cools, the silicon condenses into a floating aerosol bound into a ball
by charges that gather on its surface, and it glows with the heat of silicon
recombining with oxygen. To test this idea, a [Brazilian] team... took
wafers of silicon just 350 micrometers thick, placed them between two
electrodes and zapped them with currents of up to 140 amps. Then... they
moved the electrodes slightly apart, creating an electrical arc that
vaporised the silicon. The arc spat out glowing fragments of silicon but
also, sometimes, luminous orbs the size of ping-pong balls that persisted
for up to 8 seconds.""