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Re: [TCML] Latest TC results, and one strange one....

Hello Peter,

It looks like you may be seeing artifacts from the camera's optical system or (more likely) the camera sensor and electronics. These "ghost" artifacts often show up when electronically photographing bright sparks or lightning. A careful examination of the mystery sparks in your video shows that they are displaced, much fainter, duplicates of much brighter spark segments below. They are mostly showing up only during the higher-current (much brighter) ground strikes. Similar, vertically displaced "ghost images" of your main spark gap can be seen as fainter "speckles" located in various positions above the main gap in other video clips of your coil in operation.

For example, in your GIF referenced below, the overall shape of the spark channel, including the split section of the main channel, can easily be matched up between the "Weird Spark" and the bright ground strike below. Although the match-up is not as evident (since the lower portion of the ground strike is off-frame) similar correspondence with segments of the ground strike could be done for weird segments 2, 3, and 4.

Ghost images are most often seen during video captures of lightning, but sometimes occur with TC's, especially during high-current ground strikes. Some similar examples with lightning and ways to recognize this phenomenon can be found here:


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Peter Baitz wrote:
Hello, some replies embedded below:
It looks like your "mystery spark" is just a streamer that happened to originate from some feature near the top of the secondary coilform, location.

I'm not talking about the blue spark that clearly comes from the top of the coil and impacts the ground rail. (Yes I've noted this happens occasionally with the current setup, but not too often, from observation.)   I'm talking about the much dimmer "spark" which I have supplied several still shots from the video and numbered it's motion from above the toroid down to the toroid, then back up, which happens to coincide with the blue spark hitting the ground fence.  Then in a second video it shows up again under
 same condition - that time
actually goes between the toroid and the blue spark as it hits the ground fence. The spark artifact I speak of is almost reddish in color, and much dimmer. See the pics again.
I think there are two factors contributing to your "mystery
1. There is a sharp edge or point near the >top of your secondary

No, have no sharp edged object at the top of the secondary.
2. Your toroid is positioned too high above the top of the secondary....looks like the secondary may be 12" - 15" above the top of the
secondary; you might want to
reduce this to 6" - 8".

Actually the bottom of that toroid is only 5.5"
above the secondary top coil.  Additionally that
metal bowl underneath acts as a semi-sphere on the bottom mounted very near the top of the secondary.

Someone else also mentioned the dim reddish spark
artifact could be something related to the video,
but it's showing up in two different videos, the
second of which is clearly going from the toroid
to the blue spark as it hits the ground rail, seems
to me to indicate something more?

Here's a composite animation of the still pics I previously supplied - maybe it shows better the strange "spark" (not the blue one) coming down
from above the toroid (during the rail strike).
The last frame is from a second video which also
shows that spark coming from the toroid (again
not the blue spark).   The reddish dim spark, not
the blue one.  It just coincides with the
one striking the rail, in both videos where it
showed up. Still Frame animation showing the pics in sequence:

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