Mystery Behind Ball Lightning Solved By Australian Scientists

13 October, 2012

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Follow us: - An unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon called ball lightning has been observed countless times in all possible places of Earth.

Usually the size of an orange or a grapefruit and lasting up to twenty seconds - but no explanation of how it occurs has been generally accepted by science.

A variety of theories has been presented trying to explain this phenomenon as microwave radiation from thunderclouds, oxidizing aerosols, nuclear energy, dark matter, antimatter, and even black holes as possible causes.

Now, a new mathematical theory to explain the mysterious phenomenon known as ball lightning is proposed by a group of CSIRO and Australia National University scientists.

It focuses on how ball lightning occurs in houses and aeroplanes - and how it can pass through glass. "A crucial proof of any theory of ball lightning would be if the theory could be used to make ball lightning.

Lowke's theory also proposes that ball lightning is caused when leftover ions (electric energy), which are very dense, are swept to the ground following a lightning strike.

Lowke proposes that ball lightning occurs in houses and aeroplanes when a stream of ions accumulates on the outside of a glass window and the resulting electric field on the other side excites air molecules to form a ball discharge. The discharge requires a driving electric field of about a million volts.

"Other theories have suggested ball lightning is created by slowly burning particles of silicon formed in a lightning strike, but this is flawed. One of the ball lightning observations cited in this paper occurred when there was no thunderstorm and was driven by ions from the aircraft radar operated at maximum power during a dense fog."

"After flying for about 15 minutes, there developed on the randome (radar cover) two horns of Saint Elmo's fire. It looked as if the airplane now had bull's horns... they were glowing with the blue of electricity," former US Air Force lieutenant Don Smith recalled the event.

This particular eye-witness account of ball lightning by two former US Air Force pilots, was used by Dr Lowke and his team to verify the theory, giving the first mathematical solution explaining the birth or initiation of the phenomenon.

The paper.

See also:
Loud Unexplained Sounds Disturb Residents In El Dorado County

Unexplained Sounds Coming From The Ocean

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