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Re: Ball Lightning

Original poster: "resonance" <resonance@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

This may be one explanation of ball lightning, however, I have witnessed it firsthand, and suspect it was an electrostatic effect. It formed under the guy wires of a large radio tower in the Baraboo, Wisconsin, bluffs. It would form and sometimes release from this v-shaped area. It would persist for 10-30 seconds before softly exploding. Sometimes it would also travel down the power wires delivering power to the transmitter site located at the base of the tower. These would persist for a longer period of time, sometimes as long as 45-60 seconds and travel 200-300 feet before popping. I was a friend of the station engineer (fellow ham opr) and he invited me up one summers evening to witness it as it occured for nearly 1 hour.

The radio engineer who lived with his family in a house adjacent to the transmitter had an incident in which a large ball came through a wall and terrified his wife before exploding.

After this occured leaves were noted piling up in a symetrical circle around the base of the tower suggesting an electrostatic effect of sorts. It should also be noted the tower is anchored in a quartzite bluff nearly 600 feet high. The tower is an additional 600 feet above ground.

Dr. Resonance

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.""