Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into the one-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'

Date:
August 7, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
One of the rare scientific reports on the rarest form of lightning -- ball lightning -- describes better ways of producing this mysterious phenomenon under the modern laboratory conditions needed to explain it. The phenomenon puzzled and perplexed the likes of Aristotle 2,300 years ago and Nikola Tesla a century ago.

Ball lightning, depicted in this 1886 drawing by G. Hartwig, and its causes are getting less mysterious thanks to new research.
Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA

One of the rare scientific reports on the rarest form of lightning -- ball lightning -- describes better ways of producing this mysterious phenomenon under the modern laboratory conditions needed to explain it. The new study on a phenomenon that puzzled and perplexed the likes of Aristotle 2,300 years ago and Nikola Tesla a century ago appears in ACS' The Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

C. Michael Lindsay and colleagues explain that ball lightning consists of a floating, glowing ball that may drift eerily through the sky and then explode violently, sometimes injuring people and damaging buildings. The balls can range in size from a garden pea to globes several feet in diameter and glow for up to 10 seconds. Since it occurs only once in every million lightning bolts, natural ball lightning cannot be studied with scientific instruments. Like Tesla in 1900, Lindsay and colleagues did their research by producing artificial ball lightning in the laboratory.

They describe experiments that led to more effective ways of making ball lightning, essential for further insights into the phenomenon, and techniques that made the fireball last longer so that observations could continue. They developed a special video technique that reveals more information than ever before about the structure of the lightning balls and how they move.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David M Friday, Peter B Broughton, Tanner A Lee, Garrett A Schutz, Jeremiah N Betz, C. Michael Lindsay. Further Insight into the Nature of Ball Lightning-Like Atmospheric Pressure Plasmoids. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2013; 130614095203004 DOI: 10.1021/jp400001y

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New insights into the one-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130050.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, August 7). New insights into the one-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130050.htm
American Chemical Society. "New insights into the one-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130050.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) — AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins