Ball lightning is a ball of energy floating in the air in the form of a luminous ball. To this day, this phenomenon remains one of the most mysterious and unexplored. True, scientists regularly declare that they managed to find out the nature of ball lightning and even recreate them in laboratory conditions. But there is no single generally accepted theory of their origin. This is due to the fact that each assumption has its own "gaps", that is, one way or another contradicts the available evidence. And ball lightning created in laboratory conditions differ in their physical properties from those found in nature. Therefore, the question of this phenomenon remains open. What is known about him today and what version do scientists tend to? We propose to talk about this further.
Are there ball lightning
As paradoxical as it may sound, until 2012, scientists were not completely sure of the existence of ball lightning. So Joseph Peer and Alexander Kendl from the University of Innsbruck suggested that fireballs are nothing more than a manifestation of phosphenes, that is, visual deception.
According to these scientists, the cause of hallucinations is the magnetic fields of some lightning, which act on the neurons of the visual cortex. Phosphenes, in their opinion, arise if a person is closer than 100 meters from the place of a lightning strike.
Of course, this theory runs counter to the words of eyewitnesses who described the explosions of ball lightning when colliding with objects, and even showed the consequences of such explosions. Those less fortunate are reported to have severe burns caused by colliding with such a ball. In addition, even deaths were recorded. That is, ball lightning is no less dangerous than linear lightning.
As a result of contact with ball lightning on the body, burns and injuries occur.
But, in spite of this evidence, science officially recognized the phenomenon of the existence of ball lightning only after one of such luminous balls appeared in the field of view of gapless spectrometers. That is, the existence of this phenomenon was recorded by instruments. In addition, ball lightning has been repeatedly recorded in photos and videos.
What is ball lightning
If a phenomenon exists, what is it and how does it arise? The most common opinion is that ball lightning has a powerful electrical charge of energy. That is, it is a spherical lightning that can move along an unpredictable trajectory, sometimes very surprising to eyewitnesses.
According to eyewitnesses, ball lightning occurs not only in a thunderstorm, but also in clear weather.
Most often, the phenomenon appears in a thunderstorm, but there is also evidence of its occurrence in clear weather. Eyewitnesses note that the luminous ball is able to "exit" from conductors, for example, electrical wiring. Also, the phenomenon sometimes occurs due to strikes of linear lightning. Less often, balls appear in the air from nowhere or come out of objects that are not conductors.
Ball lightning more often occurs from conductors (metal objects).
There is a version that this phenomenon is a large drop of liquid atomic hydrogen, which is in an excited unstable state. It arises as a result of electrolysis of water under the influence of fields and currents of thunderstorm lightning. The specific gravity of this substance is practically equal to the weight of air, which allows lightning to “float”. But, like all other versions, this is just an assumption.
Riddles of ball lightning
Ball lightning has a number of properties that science cannot explain. As mentioned above, they move along an unpredictable trajectory and, contrary to popular belief, sometimes even against the flow of air.
It is also unknown what substance allows ball lightning to enter the room not only through windows or doors, but also through narrow cracks. After passing through them, they again take on a spherical shape.
The consequences of the explosion of ball lightning that flew into a house in the Ternopil region (Ukraine).
In some situations, ball lightning explodes upon collision with objects. In others, they leave a mark or even pass through the object. When colliding with a person, CMM most often causes burns, but sometimes wounds appear on the body, as if a wild animal attacked a person.
Have Chinese Scientists Unraveled the Mystery of Ball Lightning?
During a severe thunderstorm, a group of Chinese scientists led by Professor Tsen Jian Yong accidentally recorded a lightning strike, which resulted in a large luminous ball. The spectrometer showed that the ball lightning contains silicon, iron and calcium, that is, the set of elements that are present in large quantities in the soil.
Based on the data obtained, they concluded that they confirmed the hypothesis of John Abrahamson. He believed that as a result of a lightning strike into the soil, some particles, including oxides of silicon and iron, quickly evaporate from it. At the same time, the resulting gas is thrown into the air by a shock wave, which leads to the appearance of a ball. However, not all scientists agree with this version.
According to Chinese scientists, ball lightning occurs when linear lightning strikes the ground.
For example, Vladimir Bychkov, a Russian scientist and expert in the study of ball lightning, believes that the Chinese are wishful thinking. This is evidenced by the fact that they did not record aluminum in the composition of the lightning, which is present in the soil.
In his opinion, linear lightning struck the power transmission line, next to which the event took place. This caused a phenomenon well known to physics - an arc discharge, which was recorded by Chinese scientists. As Dmitry Bychkov said, he is not alone in his opinion. For example, the journal Nature, which is highly respected in the scientific world, refused to publish the material of Chinese researchers.