Ball lightning successfully reproduced in lab

January 10, 2007

Ball lightning successfully reproduced in labAleister Crowley once reported what he referred to as globular electricity in 1916, “what I can only describe as calm amazement, that a dazzling globe of electric fire, apparently between six and twelve inches in diameter was stationary about six inches below and to the right of my knee.” Mr. Crowley, it may not be all in your head. 

A Brazilian team has managed to make similar spheres of light in the lab, while getting them to bounce around for several seconds.

The real mystery here is that ball lightning is a rare occurrence, where few people (approx. 3,000 in US) have actually encountered it. Ball lightning reportedly floats in the air and looks like a sphere, teardrop, or rod-like shape. Many have been said to be red, yellow, blue, or white in color, sometimes transparent, and are commonly associated with large thunderstorms; although, some claim to have experienced this phenomenon during normal weather.

It is typically the size of a grapefruit and lasts for a few seconds or minutes, sometimes hovering, even bouncing along the ground.

Many have made valiant efforts to explain ball lightning including Nikola Tesla in 1904, but a theory proposed by John Abrahamson and James Dinniss at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, claims this is the result of lighting striking soil; thereby converting silica within the soil into a vapor.

Antonio Pavao and Gerson Paiva from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil decided to test this theory by placing silicon between two electrodes and running a current through them. Moving the electrodes away from each other created an electrical arc which shot out glowing pieces of silicon.

This continued to occur until, suddenly, a sphere the size of a ping pong ball formed, and lasted around 8 seconds. ”The luminous balls seem to be alive,” says Pavao.

They suggested the ball lighting was spinning by the movement of smoke trails that were left behind the orb, and estimated that they were approx 2000 Kelvin; hot enough to burn a hole in Paiva’s jeans!

Few have had little success reproducing ball lightning using microwaves; which some disagree on whether it is the same phenomenon for they disappeared milliseconds after the microwaves were taken away.

These silica based orbs of lightning are by far the longest-lived   made in the lab to date. These amazing spheres of light can be seen at http://www.espacociencia.pe.gov.br/multimidia.php

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2 Responses to “Ball lightning successfully reproduced in lab”

  1. Erich J. Knight:

    An Aneutronic Fusion effort, Electron Power Systems, provides a theoretic base for ball lighting : Ball Lightning Explained as a Stable Plasma Toroid http://www.electronpowersystems.com/Images/Ball%20Lightning%20Explained.pdf
    The theoretics are all there in peer reviewed papers. It does sound to good to be true however with names like MIT, Delphi, STTR grants, NIST grants , etc., popping up all over, I have to keep investigating.

    Recent support has also come from one of the top lightning researcher in the world, Joe Dwyer at FIT, when he got his Y-ray and X-ray research published in the May issue of Scientific American,
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=00032CE5-13B7-1264-8F9683414B7FFE9F
    Dwyer’s paper:
    http://www.lightning.ece.ufl.edu/PDF/Gammarays.pdf

    and according to Clint Seward it supports his lightning models and fusion work at Electron Power Systems

    lightning produces thermonuclear reaction
    This new work By Dr.Kuzhevsky on neutrons in lightning: Russian Science News http://www.informnauka.ru/eng/2005/2005-09-13-5_65_e.htm is also supportive of Electron Power Systems fusion efforts .

    Vincent Page (a technology officer at GE!!) gave a presentation at the 05 6th symposium on current trends in international fusion research , which high lights the need to fully fund three different approaches to P-B11 fusion (Below Is an excerpt).

    “for larger plant sizes
    Time to small-scale Cost to achieve net if the small-scale
    Concept Description net energy production energy concept works:
    Koloc Spherical Plasma: 10 years(time frame), $25 million (cost), 80%(chance of success)
    Field Reversed Configuration: 8 years $75 million 60%
    (Eric Lerner)Plasma Focus: 6 years $18 million 80%”

    Looks like Eric Lerner is moving down the road!!

    U.S., Chilean Labs to Collaborate on Testing Scientific Feasibility of Focus Fusion http://pesn.com/2006/03/18/9600250_LPP_Chilean_Nuclear_Commission/

    The learning curve is so steep now, and with the resources of the online community, I’m sure we can rally greater support to solve this paramount problem of our time. I hold no truck with those who argue that big business or government are suppressing these technologies. It is only our complacency and comfort that blind us from pushing our leaders toward clean energy.

  2. Mikhail:

    All of this – is a BULLSHIT!!

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