Did I see 'ball lightning'?

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John Waddicor

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Did I see 'ball lightning'?
« on: 21/06/2009 15:30:03 »
John Waddicor asked the Naked Scientists:
   
In 1962 I saw a ball of energy bouncing along the top of some trees.

It left a vapour trail which faded. Similar to a dot on a cathode ray tube. The ball was just a bit bigger than a football. This occurred in a tropical storm with very heavey rain and lightning. ( Of course I was accused of being crazy then but I saw a programme on TV which talked about just this type of thing).

I would like to know more about these "balls of fire" now they have credence.

What do you think?

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Offline LeeE

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Did I see 'ball lightning'?
« Reply #1 on: 22/06/2009 01:06:33 »
What you saw fits in very well with a lot of other reports of ball-lightning.  However, ball-lighting seems to have quite a wide range of characteristics.  For example, the ball-lightning that you saw seems to have just faded away, whereas in some well documented incidents it has ended by exploding and actually killing people and/or causing damage.

The wiki article gives a pretty good summary of the current state of thinking (i.e. we still don't know what it is) on ball-lightning and mentions some of the better documented cases (I've seen a photo of the hole left in the remains of the window in the 1994 Uppsala, Sweden incident, and very intriguing it is too)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_lightning
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Karsten

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Did I see 'ball lightning'?
« Reply #2 on: 27/06/2009 02:01:31 »
Cool. I did not think there was actually anything to it.
I got annoyed with looking
at my own signature