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[TCML] Arc intensity variations

Hi All,
I have a low powered TC that can produce arcs in the 2" to 8" range,secondary resonant freq 190 KHz.
On any power setting, if I use a conductive rod to attract arcs ( sparks )  and space itto get individual, non branching arcs,   there is surprisingly a consistent, repetitive pattern of brighter and darker ( fatter and thinner ) areas along its length.. Such as      -------=========----------===----------------------------------------
Anyone have any ideas why this may be so ? I would have expected consistency,but there are arc segments with a brightness maybe 5 times the other portions.
What is the propagation velocity of an arc in air ?
This has been confirmed by others so it is not related to my 'visual acuity'.
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