Ball lightning is one of the most mysterious and unexplored phenomena in nature. Despite many eyewitness reports, it can not be all the way studied and reproduced in the laboratory. Is ball lightning real, and what do scientists know about them? Let`s find out.
Since the XVII century, thousands of evidence of ball lightning have been recorded. Modern encounters with this phenomenon are best described. In 1978, the ball lightning attacked five climbers who stayed overnight at the Caucasian mountain Trapezia.
According to the group leader, the sparkling yellow sphere flew directly into the tent, rushed from one climber to another, and crashed into one of the athletes. One of the team members caught lightning with his body and died on the spot. The rest survived but got severe burns.
In 2008, the trolleybus passengers met with the phenomenon. Then the conductor struck lightning with a validator at the empty end of the cabin. The sphere burst loudly, but none of the 20 passengers were injured.
In 2012, the Chinese scientists managed to obtain the spectrum of radiation of the ball lightning. The researchers have studied in detail the chemical composition of the luminous area. In contrast to the usual discharge in the atmosphere, the power lines of the ball lightning came from the soil.
Most scientists tend to believe that the lightning ball is of electrical origin and occurs at the moment of a powerful thunderstorm. The phenomenon itself can live from a few seconds to half an hour and is a small glowing ball.
Ball lightning can pass through walls and be attracted to metal objects. When its integrity is broken, it breaks off powerfully, leaving behind the smell of sulfur.
There are more than a hundred theories that try to explain the phenomenon. The most plausible is the theory of Soviet physicists Kurdyumov, Kapitsa, and Shironosov.
In their opinion, ball lightning is a stable electrical formation, which appeared in the conditions of energy dissipation. It is born from ordinary lightning as a result of a standing electromagnetic wave between the cloud and the ground.
At a certain point on one of the wave sections, there is a breakdown of air, a critical electrical voltage that provokes a gas charge. In this case, the ball lightning has its magnetic field that holds the plasma inside the sphere.
There are other theories of globular lightning origin. Some researchers see it as a water bubble with positively and negatively charged air ions inside, which are attracted to each other after an electrical discharge.
Another version is the thermochemical reaction of water molecules. And someone compares the electric sphere with an aerogel, but instead of a solid frame, lightning is formed from the plasma threads.
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