Extraordinary weather phenomenon: ball lightning

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The phenomenon of ball lightning has intrigued scientists for hundreds of years. This fantastic apparition, very real but very little observed, is sometimes mistaken for a meteorite, a UFO or even a spirit. Known to scientists as globular or plasmoid lightning, this phenomenon has been described in historical texts for a long time of time: these bright balls that stand out from a storm could even cross windows, walls or airplanes! Some credible witnesses even described seeing balls of lightning pass through the room they were in. Even more, ball lightning would already have been responsible for the deaths. Ball lightning filmed on June 20, 2022 in Gironde. © Cédric Dufort and Laurie OrozcoOld witnesses, before the test in imagesOne of the first witnesses dates back to the year 1638, when all the people present in a church in England would have seen a ball of lightning pass through the stained glass windows: the building would be then they caught fire and several people died. In 1753, Russian scientist Georg Richmann was struck by a ball of lightning and died instantly. In literature, the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, written in 1864, evokes the observation of ball lightning during a violent storm at sea. The cartoon The Adventures of Tintin also describes the phenomenon in several albums. See huge ‘fireball’ streak across Scottish skies With the development of photography and video, ball lightning has finally been demonstrated, but still not fully explained. One of the rare witnesses of this extraordinary phenomenon in Europe is Bernard Radelet. He was able to immortalize the appearance of ball lightning in a particularly clear shot on August 13, 2015 in Jemeppe-sur-Meuse, Belgium. Although the weather situation was classic in Belgium with a rather common stormy deterioration for this month of August, Bernard Radelet explains that he detected the phenomenon in several of his photos: “I went to hunt storms, but at that time everything I was just starting out in storm photography. In order not to miss a single flash, I set my camera to burst and automatic mode, printing 100 photos in 2 seconds. As soon as the flash came on, I pressed the shutter. It was truly a stroke of luck to have photographed him.” Judging by the series of photographs taken in bursts by the storm chaser, the phenomenon was only visible for 2 seconds and moved horizontally. Photographic analyzes have ruled out the hypothesis of a meteorite or even a point of light resulting from the reverberation of water droplets on the device. Since the early 2000s, a few videos filmed in China, the United States and France have also allowed the phenomenon to be authenticated A mysterious formation in the sky or on earth If it is also difficult to obtain images of ball lightning, it is because the phenomenon is very rare and ephemeral: between 1 and 6 seconds, although some witnesses speak of a minute. Its color varies from white, yellow, orange, to blue and green, and its passage is accompanied by a crackling or blowing sound. Some witnesses also described a smell of sulfur, which is often encountered during conventional lightning strikes anyway.Ball lightning filmed in North Dakota in July 2016. © Sanford BergThese ball lightning can move horizontally, or float motionless, hence the fact that sometimes pass through a supernatural phenomenon. A priori they would be “attracted” to electrical installations, which could explain the witnesses of lightning balls passing through a house. When they disappear after a few seconds, it can happen without any noise, as if they are accompanied by an explosion sound, their size is estimated at 20, even 40 cm, and their temperature at 1,700 ° C . In 2012, Chinese scientists announced that they had recorded the trajectory of a lightning ball with a wingspan of 5 meters in a storm, moving at a speed of 30 km/h 15 meters away above New Orleans , in the United States, in 2012. April 2012. © Crazyweathernews Different hypotheses have tried to explain the formation of the phenomenon: the lightning ball could come from a lightning strike on the ground that created a chemical reaction between oxygen and earth minerals, generating a ball of plasma. The presence of glass, like that of a window, could also generate a reaction of the ions that would accumulate on it, producing a magnetic field, this could generate a discharge in the form of a ball. None of these hypotheses have yet been made. confirmed, but ball lightning could be recreated with different processes in the laboratory. Ball lightning has also been seen during earthquakes, without any thunderstorms. In this case, the rubbing of certain rocks would be able to generate electric discharges, making them shoot balls of lightning from the ground, and not from the sky! To this day, the mystery of the exact origins of ball lightning remains unsolved. Ball lightning was filmed in California in 2020. © CBS Sacramento
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