Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Ball lightning captured on video for first time Researchers discover the mysterious glowing orb is formed by vaporized dirt
From the NewScientist:
In 2012, Jianyong Cen and his colleagues at Northwestern Normal University in Lanzhou, China, were observing a thunderstorm in Qinghai, China, with video cameras and spectrographs. Purely by chance, they recorded a ball lightning event. When a [lightning] bolt struck the ground, a glowing ball about 5 meters wide rose up and traveled about 15 meters, disappearing after 1.6 seconds. The spectrograph revealed that the main elements in the ball were the same as those found in the soil: silicon, iron, and calcium. The observations support a theory for making ball lightning put forth in 2000 by John Abrahamson at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.