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Has Anyone Ever Witnessed St Elmos Fire


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Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Hi all, I thought I'd start a discussion on a strange phenomenom called ball lightning! Please feel free to post up any incidents that you know of or have encountered.:)

I am sure I may have experienced ball lightning before. I seen something shoot down the road and hit a tree in a park in quite a violent thunderstorm once . Coincidently the attic roof flew off with an almighty bang! has anybody else seen or witnessed this phenomenon?

Here are some facts on ball lightning:

Ball lightning—(Also called globe lightning.) A rare and randomly occurring bright ball of light observed floating or moving through the atmosphere close to the ground.

Observations have widely varying identifying characteristics for ball lightning, but the most common description is that of a sphere having a radius of 15–50 cm, orange or reddish in color, and lasting for only a few seconds before disappearing, sometimes with a loud noise. Most often ball lightning is seen in the vicinity of thunderstorms or a recent lightning strike, which may suggest that ball lightning is electrical in composition or origin. Considered controversial due to the lack of unambiguous physical evidence for its existence, ball lightning is becoming more accepted due to recent laboratory recreations resembling ball lightning. Despite the observations and models of these fire balls, the exact mechanism(s) for naturally occurring ball lightning is unknown.

Weird Ball-Lightning Facts

Ball Lightning is normally seen as a "glowing sphere" that drifts through the air.

Some witnesses have claimed to have seen ball lightning traveling along power lines and along fences.

It is commonly said to have a very distinct smell, similar to that of burning sulfur, or of ozone.

Sometimes, ball lightning emits a "crackling" or "sizzling" sound... while other times, it is said to be completely silent.

It is attracted to conductors (such as the wiring inside your house) and is frequently spotted indoors.

Ball lightning has been said to chase or follow people around corners as they were fleeing from it. One reason for this, is that this lightning may somehow be attracted to the small, electrical fields that are given off by our bodies.

In many cases, a person who has come in physical contact with ball lightning usually has no visible burns left on their skin, except in those areas in which metal objects are present (such rings on one's finger).

Ball lightning is typically about the size of a grapefruit... but it can also vary greatly in size... being as small as a single pea, or as large as a truck or bus.

It is also able to change its size... compacting itself down so that it can fit through cracks and keyholes in doors... and then re-enlarging itself again after it has managed to get through.

It can take on any color of the rainbow and sometimes even changes its color.

Ball lightning can last anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes before it dissipates.

It often dissipates in a loud and violent explosion, causing great damage to the immediate surrounding area.

Although ball lightning is a well-documented phenomenon it has yet to be either truly explained, or understood by the scientific community.

It commonly occurs immediately after a normal lightening strike, but has also been known to occur in the absence of any storm.

Like tornadoes, ball lightning is classified as a form of "plasmoid phenomena".

Often, it can be seen bouncing around after it hits walls and floors, as if it were a rubber ball.

It has sometimes been known to pass right through plate glass windows, without even harming them. Other times, it melts or punches a neat circular hole right through the glass as it passes through it. In some cases, it has even managed to melt holes right through brick walls.

http://www.timhedges.com

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Posted
  • Location: Carmarthenshire
  • Location: Carmarthenshire

Hi Jane,

Interesting topic. Sadly I've not witnessed it myself, but there was an incident near to me in SW Wales on Remembrance Sunday 2008 (9th November). I first heard thunder at mid-day and we were then hit by storms and heavy showers throughout the day with thunder heard until around 7pm - the most thundery day I can remember. The most severe passed over us at around 5pm - and although the lightning wasn't as frequent as during some summer storms, it was surprisingly frequent for the time of the year, especially considering most of the strikes were CGs from relatively low-topped storms.

I later found this on the BBC Wales website about ball lightning reported from the same storm, in a location about 20 miles away from me: http://news.bbc.co.u...les/7720630.stm

Radar grab from that day (hope I'm allowed to post this - please let me know if I need to remove it!)

post-8245-0-03955500-1306351889_thumb.jp

The track of the lightning can be seen on the MetOffice lightning strikes map for November 2008 as there weren't many other storms that month:

http://www.metoffice...ikes_Actual.gif

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Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Hi Jane,

Interesting topic. Sadly I've not witnessed it myself, but there was an incident near to me in SW Wales on Remembrance Sunday 2008 (9th November). I first heard thunder at mid-day and we were then hit by storms and heavy showers throughout the day with thunder heard until around 7pm - the most thundery day I can remember. The most severe passed over us at around 5pm - and although the lightning wasn't as frequent as during some summer storms, it was surprisingly frequent for the time of the year, especially considering most of the strikes were CGs from relatively low-topped storms.

I later found this on the BBC Wales website about ball lightning reported from the same storm, in a location about 20 miles away from me: http://news.bbc.co.u...les/7720630.stm

Radar grab from that day (hope I'm allowed to post this - please let me know if I need to remove it!)

post-8245-0-03955500-1306351889_thumb.jp

The track of the lightning can be seen on the MetOffice lightning strikes map for November 2008 as there weren't many other storms that month:

http://www.metoffice...ikes_Actual.gif

Hiya Virtualsphere,:)

It's a shame you didn't get to see the ball lightning.Sounds like a good storm you had especially for November time.

The storms never reached me that day, but that's not unusual in my neck of the woods lol.

I'm not to sure whether we have permission to post radar grabs I will find out for you. Don't worry though, if we're not allowed it can easily be removed.:)

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Posted
  • Location: Stanwell(south side of Heathrow Ap)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms, squally fronts, snow, frost, very mild if no snow or frost
  • Location: Stanwell(south side of Heathrow Ap)

I have always been interested in this phenomenom, back in the 80s a family member had seen a ball of lightning, in this instance it had brushed a tv aerial ,which later we discovered it has caused tv problems and had melted and bent the aerial! another time was quite frightning, in the 80s us children were upstairs at home and there was a violent storm, my mum was in the bathroom with window open, it was also baking hot and early hours,we were all up because of the storm, i was in loo facing the window which was a seperate room but next to bathroom, my sister entered the bathroom and all at the same time we shouted with wow factor as an intense bolt or a ball of lightning skimmed passed the house windows!(it was bright, if i was looking out of the clear windows i would have seen it) what was more incredible was my mum saw it! she says to this day it was ball lightning.

if i think of a bolt of cloud to ground(cg) lightning flicking of a section or fragment of the bolt , then this is what i imagine is ball lightning-a part of the bolt, i have watched many storms over the decades, and have not seen any ball lightning nor have i heard of anyone else that has around the local area, but during the violent storms of the 80s in particular there was many reports of them! even looking back in books of Surrey weather their was many reports of them, so i don't know what the reason is apart from the fact the frequency and intensity of Surrey thunderstorms was more so in the 80s than recents years, apart from july 2006 the loudest most frightning storm ever since i was a child, it was spectacular for the intensity but although i saw the forks it came in the day and we have had some more impressive displays from imports over the decades! it came in daytime with field gun lightning crackers and ripping thunder, scary stuff, rain was monsoon.

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Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

I have always been interested in this phenomenom, back in the 80s a family member had seen a ball of lightning, in this instance it had brushed a tv aerial ,which later we discovered it has caused tv problems and had melted and bent the aerial! another time was quite frightning, in the 80s us children were upstairs at home and there was a violent storm, my mum was in the bathroom with window open, it was also baking hot and early hours,we were all up because of the storm, i was in loo facing the window which was a seperate room but next to bathroom, my sister entered the bathroom and all at the same time we shouted with wow factor as an intense bolt or a ball of lightning skimmed passed the house windows!(it was bright, if i was looking out of the clear windows i would have seen it) what was more incredible was my mum saw it! she says to this day it was ball lightning.

if i think of a bolt of cloud to ground(cg) lightning flicking of a section or fragment of the bolt , then this is what i imagine is ball lightning-a part of the bolt, i have watched many storms over the decades, and have not seen any ball lightning nor have i heard of anyone else that has around the local area, but during the violent storms of the 80s in particular there was many reports of them! even looking back in books of Surrey weather their was many reports of them, so i don't know what the reason is apart from the fact the frequency and intensity of Surrey thunderstorms was more so in the 80s than recents years, apart from july 2006 the loudest most frightning storm ever since i was a child, it was spectacular for the intensity but although i saw the forks it came in the day and we have had some more impressive displays from imports over the decades! it came in daytime with field gun lightning crackers and ripping thunder, scary stuff, rain was monsoon.

Thanks for sharing, very interesting .:)

With ball lightning, fiery orbs can glow in multiple colors from white to red to blue. They often sizzle loud enough for the human ear to detect.

On the 22nd July 2004

An MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) developed out of a small cell in the Bristol area only

a few miles across during the early afternoon and quickly grew into a small but intense storm.

It tracked in a NNE/NE direction across Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, all the time

intensifying. Cirencester was first in the firing line, some heavy rain and frequent CG (Cloud

ground lightning strikes) were observed. Stow-on-the-Wold in the SW Midlands was also hit

with the storm producing some localised flooding and numerous violent lightning strikes.

During the thunderstorm a report came in from an unassuming observer of the rare weather

phenomena ‘ball lightning’ near to Stow-on-the-Wold!

Then In 1977, when a coast guard officer caught a glimpse of a “brilliant, yellow green, transparent ball with a fuzzy outline†the size of a bus that seemed to float down the hillside off the coast of Wales.

Ball lightning does not look like regular lightning.Instead it takes the form of a glowing sphere drifting horizontally through the air. It can vary in size from a minuscule pea to a large bus. No real theories have been formed and yet at least five percent of the total population has seen ball lightning in some point of time.

During the great Thunderstorm at a church in Widecombe-in-the- Moor, Devon on 21st October 1638 4 people died and 60 were injured during a violent storm. an 8-foot ball of fire was described striking and entering the church almost destroying it. Large stones from the church walls were hurled to the ground . The ball of fire smashed many windows and filled the church with a foul sulfurous odor and dark thick smoke. The ball then divided into 2 segments, one exiting through a window by smashing it open and the other disappearing somewhere inside the church.

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Posted
  • Location: Stanwell(south side of Heathrow Ap)
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms, squally fronts, snow, frost, very mild if no snow or frost
  • Location: Stanwell(south side of Heathrow Ap)

found this image on search - ball lightning - in google, then click images and there is loads of interesting photosball-lightning.jpgsearched - ball lightning images

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Posted
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Location: Edinburgh

I've never seen it but my big sister has. It was back in the 90s and she used to work in a cafe as a waitress and there was this very intense thunderstorm and she was making someone a cup of tea looked up and there it was. She said it was yellowish green and about the size of a tennis ball and she legged it the hell out of there crying - well she was seventeen at the time. Anyway there was a loud bang, all the electrics went out and the power to the whole building went off. It looks like it hit the metal hood covering the cooker and shorted out all the electrics in the building. They had to spend a week replacing all the appliances in the kitchen because everything was messed up.

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Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Thanks for sharing both.:)

Sammie, I can understand why your sister was scared. what an experience and it's amazing what this ball lightning is capable of !!!

Stu, it's quite a rare phenomenom just like we never see ordinary lightning Lol.

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Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Strange & Unexplained - Ball Lightning

Moments after hearing a sound like a thunderclap, a Parisian man reportedly witnessed an extraordinary sight: a fireball the size of a human head emerging from the fireplace in his fourth-story apartment. It pushed aside the frame covering and darted toward him "like a cat." He hastily withdrew his feet, and the ball moved to the center of the room. Though bright, it gave off no discernible heat. It ascended slightly, headed back to the fireplace, and rose up the chimney, exploding just before it escaped into the open air. It caused considerable damage to the chimney top.

This incident, which occurred on July 5,1852, is one example of a strange and so far unexplained natural phenomenon, ball lightning, whose existence some scientists still dispute. The skeptics' objections are strikingly like those raised against reports of unidentified flying objects: the evidence is primarily anecdotal, most if not all of the photographs are open to question, and no conceivable scientific theory can make sense of the phenomenon.

The alternative (in other words, debunking) explanations also echo those voiced in the UFO debate. The "objects," the debunkers say, are either optical illusions-most likely visual afterimages formed by the observation of lightning strikes-or natural occurrences such as St. Elmo's Fire (a corona discharge from an object protruding above the ground during an electrical storm), misperceived or exaggerated. The former explanation requires remarkably obtuse witnesses. The latter has the virtue of at least surface plausibility, but as James Dale Barry, a leading scientific authority on ball lightning, notes, "A characteristic distinction between St. Elmo's Fire and ball lightning is the apparently independent motion of the latter. Although St. Elmo's Fire has been observed to move about, it may move along a conductor, sometimes pulsating as it moves, but it does not free itself from the conductor. Thus, it does not exhibit the descending, hovering, or flying motions that are common to ball lightning."

The first investigator to describe ball lightning in the scientific literature was G. W. Richman, a Russian. Tragically and ironically, his interest led to his death. The incident took place in 1754 during a thunderstorm, when Richman was attempting to measure the energy of a lightning strike. As he stood behind his equipment, a small, blue, fist-sized sphere came out of the electrodes and floated toward his face. A moment later it exploded violently, killing him and knocking his assistant unconscious.

Fortunately, deaths related to ball-lightning manifestations are rare, but many observers have witnessed its destructive qualities. In Paris in July 1849, during an electric storm, a red ball hovered about 20 feet above a tree. Abruptly it caught fire, burned up, and burst open, freeing jagged streaks of lightning to shoot in all directions, One hit a nearby house and blew a cannon-sized hole in it. What remained of the ball started to spin and spark and then exploded with great force, knocking down three pedestrians.

At 6:30 P.M. on October 8, 1919, at a busy downtown intersection in Salina, Kansas, a "ball of fire as large as a washtub floating low in the air" struck the side of a building, ripped out bricks, and demolished a second-story window. It then exploded with a "bang that resembled the noise made by the discharge of a large pistol, filling the air with balls of fire as large as baseballs, which floated away in all directions," according to a Monthly Weather Review correspondent (October 1919 issue). "Some of these balls followed trolley and electric-light wires in a snaky sort of manner and some simply floated off through the air independently of any objects near by. An electric switch box across the street was ripped open and a transformer destroyed, leaving the east side of the town in darkness."

In the summer of 1960, as Louise Matthews of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, lay on her living room couch, she looked up to see a huge red ball coming through a window and the Venetian blinds, both closed and neither damaged in any way by the object's passage. When the ball, which was making a sizzling sound, passed by her, Mrs. Matthews felt a tingling on the back of her neck. She put her hand to the spot but felt nothing. The ball went through the living room and into the dining room, exitingagain without damage-through a closed window. She called her husband, who came home from work to find the back of her hand burned. The hair at the back of her head fell out, leaving the skin there as smooth as that in the front of her face.

During a violent early-evening thunderstorm on August 12, 1970, a "red ball of fire" appeared above Sidmouth, England, crackled for a few seconds, then exploded with a deafening roar. Jagged flashes of lightning shot from it toward the ground. At that moment 2,500 area television sets were cut off.

Ball lightning is not, of course, invariably harmful. It does not even always explode at the end of its manifestation. British scientist Alexander Russell saw ball lightning behaving both ways. He wrote in Nature (November 23, 1930):

Many years ago I saw two globes of lightning. They were reddish-yellow in color, and appeared to be rotating. One of them struck a building and burst with a loud report, causing the inhabitants to open the windows and look out to see what had happened, but as there was no trace of anything they looked bewildered. The other drifted slowly away. Globular lightning makes a slight noise as it drifts about. It has been compared with the purring of a cat.

Theories

Hard scientific data about ball lightning are rare a major reason for some scientists' continuing doubts about the phenomenon's existence. Even Barry, a major proponent, acknowledges, "The unbiased examination of ball lightning reports leads one to conclude that a great percentage of the reports are highly questionable and could be interpreted in several ways." (Again, these words echo those that have been said of UFO reports.) Of the many photographs alleged to be of ball lightning, Barry believes that only three "are not obviously erroneous or highly suspect."

Much of the problem of explaining (as opposed to explaining away) the phenomenon has to do with the varying descriptions witnesses have given. The ball either explodes loudly or vanishes silently; it is white, orange, red, blue, or purple; it is small or it is large; it survives for a few seconds or a couple of minutes. "These may seem like trivial distinctions," science writer Gordon Stein observes, "but they cause theorists no end of difficulties. Explanations that will work for a ball of one second's duration, for example, cannot account for a 10second ball." A ball that lasts one minute or more "requires an energy content so high that there is no known way for it to be formed."

Ball lightning also has the strange habit of penetrating the metal walls of in-flight aircraft. On March 19,1963, R. C. Jennison, a professor of electrical energy, saw a ball-lightning globe first outside, then inside, an airliner he was taking from New York to Washington. An electrical storm was in progress. Of this report Stein notes, "Microwave, electric, radio or heat energy-all of these figure in the various theories-could not have gotten through the metal fuselage. We can also eliminate antimatter as a possible cause of ball lightning [an extraordinary hypothesis proposed by E.T.F. Ashby and C. Whitehead in Nature, March 19, 1971]. When antimatter (matter with exactly the opposite charges from those on normal matter on each of its subatomic particles) comes in contact with normal matter, both are annihilated.... Antimatter would have a difficult time getting through the body or window of an airplane without colliding with some regular matter, thus destroying itself."

If the evidence for ball lightning is almost all anecdotal and if it seems too bizarre for any so-far imaginable physical theory to explain, why is it at least marginably acceptable to much of the scientific community when UFOs, the evidence for which shares many of the same problems, are not? If anything, the UFO evidence is better; no ball-lightning case is so well-documented as, for example, the January 1981 Trans-en-Province physical-trace case investigated by France's official UFO-investigative agency (discussed in the entry on unidentified flying objects).

The answer is not that no scientists have seen UFOs. In fact, many scientists, including some prominent ones, have seen UF0s, and some have acknowledged as much publicly. More likely, scientists see ball lightning as natural, even if deeply enigmatic, phenomena, whereas UFOs, if they exist, imply the operation of an alien intelligence in the earth's atmosphere -a prospect so incredible that it causes scientists, on some unconscious level, to see the balllightning evidence as a cup half full and the UFO evidence a cup half empty.

http://www.skygaze.com/content/strange/BallLightning.shtml

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  • 1 month later...
Posted
  • Location: Pity Me, Durham
  • Weather Preferences: Lightning, Thunder, Snow, Thundersnow, Hail, Sunshine, Rainbows
  • Location: Pity Me, Durham

I am wondering if anyone has witnessed this first hand? I have seen some videos of it on YouTube and it looks amazing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

I am wondering if anyone has witnessed this first hand? I have seen some videos of it on YouTube and it looks amazing.

Hi ya Dommy, :)

I have never personally witnessed this weather phenomenon , but it sure is amazing.

Here is some information I found : :)

St. Elmo's fire (also St. Elmo's light) is an electrical weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge originating from a grounded object in an atmospheric electric field (such as those generated by thunderstorms created by a volcanic explosion).

St. Elmo's fire is named after St. Erasmus of Formiae (also called St. Elmo, the Italian name for St. Erasmus), the patron saint of sailors. The phenomenon sometimes appeared on ships at sea during thunderstorms and was regarded by sailors with religious awe for its glowing ball of light, accounting for the name.

Early observers of the phenomenon, mostly sailors on high seas during thunderstorms, seem to have understood they weren't looking at actual fire, because instead of abandoning ship, they took comfort in the sudden glow atop the masts. Such famous figures as Magellan, Caesar and Columbus experienced St. Elmo's Fire on their journeys.

The appearance of St. Elmo's Fire was regarded as a good omen, for it tended to occur in the dissipating stages of severe thunderstorms when the most violent surface winds and seas were abating. Thus, it was interpreted as the answer to the sailors' prayers for heavenly intervention. Its appearance preceding a storm or during fair weather portended that the guiding hand of St. Elmo would be present.

:)

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Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

I once saw the tops of cars and telegraph wires glow blue, just before a C-G lightning strike. Was that St. Elmo's fire?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

A luminous floating sphere of what could be electricity was spotted near Brisbane, Australia, according to a video posted on YouTube.

The cameraman filmed the UFO at a distance in January last year, and believes it was ball lightning

As the object moves across the sky, it behaves similarly to lightning, flickering orange and yellow, and is accompanied by thunder.

It looks like a small moving sun and its size oscillates with each flicker as it travels around throughout the video which lasts over a minute.

Ball lightning is so rare that no reliable scientific data are available. It is said to appear after thunderstorms and be visible for several seconds, ie a hundred thousand times longer than flash lightning.

Some research has been done on ball lightning. In 2006, German scientists made plasma clouds like ball lightning above water. The balls lasted almost half a second and had diameters of 10 to 20 centimeters.

Last year, lightning researchers at the University of Florida used tethered rockets to trigger and direct lightning to the ground with a variety of materials, and managed to create some short-lived balls of fire.

However, based on these luminous events, ball lightning could simply be a vaporized material that is ignited by lightning and burns briefly.

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/232663-UFO-or-Ball-Lightning-Seen-in-Australia-

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Posted
  • Location: Pity Me, Durham
  • Weather Preferences: Lightning, Thunder, Snow, Thundersnow, Hail, Sunshine, Rainbows
  • Location: Pity Me, Durham

A luminous floating sphere of what could be electricity was spotted near Brisbane, Australia, according to a video posted on YouTube.

The cameraman filmed the UFO at a distance in January last year, and believes it was ball lightning

As the object moves across the sky, it behaves similarly to lightning, flickering orange and yellow, and is accompanied by thunder.

It looks like a small moving sun and its size oscillates with each flicker as it travels around throughout the video which lasts over a minute.

Ball lightning is so rare that no reliable scientific data are available. It is said to appear after thunderstorms and be visible for several seconds, ie a hundred thousand times longer than flash lightning.

Some research has been done on ball lightning. In 2006, German scientists made plasma clouds like ball lightning above water. The balls lasted almost half a second and had diameters of 10 to 20 centimeters.

Last year, lightning researchers at the University of Florida used tethered rockets to trigger and direct lightning to the ground with a variety of materials, and managed to create some short-lived balls of fire.

However, based on these luminous events, ball lightning could simply be a vaporized material that is ignited by lightning and burns briefly.

http://www.sott.net/...n-in-Australia-

That video was amazing :)

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Posted
  • Location: Bedford Bedfordshire
  • Weather Preferences: Fire tornado
  • Location: Bedford Bedfordshire

I once saw the tops of cars and telegraph wires glow blue, just before a C-G lightning strike. Was that St. Elmo's fire?

Yep i would think so! Ive seen the top of power pilons glowing blue before before they were struck in france. Also my friend said that on a flight back from Dubai she saw static sparks jumping along the planes wings right before it was struck by lightning.

I would pay good money to see this with my own eyes!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Ball lightning struck a bus with German tourists near Russia's western city of Kaliningrad, chairwoman of the regional tourist association Tamara Toropova said on Thursday.

None of the 19 passengers on board the bus was injured when the ball lightning struck the bus during a thunderstorm on Monday.

"The bus, a Setra, was absolutely new; it was literally stuffed with electronic gadgets. Near the entrance to the city [Kaliningrad], some 30 kilometers away from it, ball lightning struck the lightning rod antenna, spread over the vehicle, headed toward the power supply unit and then exploded," Toropova said, adding that the fireball also blew off three of the bus's wheels.

The vehicle is irreparable, but is also on warranty in Germany and will be taken there by ferry.

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/233335-Russia-Ball-lightning-strikes-German-tourist-bus-near-Kaliningrad

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Posted
  • Location: Beverley, E Yorks, 19m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, Thunder - not necessarily at the same time!
  • Location: Beverley, E Yorks, 19m ASL

Yep, many years ago I saw it whilst flying kites in stormy weather in Scotland. The kites had a pronounced glow around them as did the lines near the kites. This was prounounced against the dark CB cloudbase overhead. I had a friend with me who noticed the effect first. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was and reeled the kites in: I didn't fancy doing a Benjamin Franklin and I didn't have a key ohmy.png

Very memorable and scary for a while until I had the kites in!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted
  • Location: Chichester, West Sussex
  • Location: Chichester, West Sussex

I have seen St Elmos fire whilst on a French commandos mountain warfare course in the Alps. Our ice axes where glowing and humming. It was amazing sat on the mountain in the middle of a thunder storm.

I believe I saw ball lightning on the night of the storm before Selsey was hit by the tornado. There were pinky purple lights in the sky during the hight of the storm, they would come and go moving very strangely in the air. they were not up high only at roof high and sometimes dancing trough the tree tops.

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  • 5 months later...
Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

And there's more........ :)

On 30 April 1877, a ball of lightning entered the Golden Temple at Amritsar, India, and exited through a side door. Several people observed the ball, and the incident is inscribed on the front wall of Darshani Deodhi.

On 22 November 1894 there was an unusually prolonged instance of natural ball lightning in Golden, Colorado which suggests it could be artificially induced from the atmosphere. The Golden Globe newspaper reported "A beautiful yet strange phenomenon was seen in this city on last Monday night. The wind was high and the air seemed to be full of electricity. In front of, above and around the new Hall of Engineering of the School of Mines, balls of fire played tag for half an hour, to the wonder and amazement of all who saw the display. In this building is situated the dynamos and electrical apparatus of perhaps the finest electrical plant of its size in the state. There was probably a visiting delegation from the clouds, to the captives of the dynamos on last Monday night, and they certainly had a fine visit and a roystering game of romp."

In July 1907 the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Western Australia was hit by ball lightning. Lighthouse keeper Patrick Baird was in the tower at the time and was knocked unconscious. His daughter Ethel recorded the event.

An early fictional reference to ball lightning appears in a children's book set in the 19th century by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The books are considered historical fiction, but the author always insisted they were descriptive of actual events in her life. In Wilder's description, three separate balls of lightning appear during a winter blizzard near a cast iron stove in the family's kitchen. They are described as appearing near the stovepipe, then rolling across the floor, only to disappear as the mother (Caroline Ingalls) chases them with a willow-branch broom.

Pilots in World War II described an unusual phenomenon for which ball lightning has been suggested as an explanation. The pilots saw small balls of light moving in strange trajectories, which came to be referred to as foo fighters.

Submariners in WWII gave the most frequent and consistent accounts of small ball lightning in the confined submarine atmosphere. There are repeated accounts of inadvertent production of floating explosive balls when the battery banks were switched in or out, especially if mis-switched or when the highly inductive electrical motors were mis-connected or disconnected. An attempt later to duplicate those balls with a surplus submarine battery resulted in several failures and an explosion.

On 6 August 1944, a ball of lightning went through a closed window in Uppsala, Sweden, leaving a circular hole about 5 cm in diameter. The incident was witnessed by residents in the area, and was recorded by a lightning strike tracking system on the Division for Electricity and Lightning Research at Uppsala University.

In 1954 Domokos Tar, a physicist, observed a lightning strike during a heavy thunderstorm. A single bush was flattened in the wind. Some seconds later a speedy rotating ring (cylinder) appeared in the shape of a wreath. The ring was about 5 m away from the lightning impact point. The ring's plane was perpendicular to the ground and in full view of the observer. The outer/inner diameters were about 60/30 cm. The ring rotated quickly about 80 cm above the ground. It was composed of wet leaves and dirt and rotated counter clockwise. After seconds the ring became self-illuminated turning increasingly red, then orange, yellow and finally white. The ring (cylinder) at the outside was similar to a sparkler.In spite of the rain, many electrical high voltage discharges could be seen. After some seconds , the ring suddenly disappeared and simultaneously the Ball Lightning appeared in the middle. Initially the ball had only one tail and it rotated in the same direction as the ring. It was homogenous and showed no transparency. In the first moment the ball hovered motionless, but then began to move forward on the same line with a constant speed of about 1m/sec. It was stable and travelled at the same height in spite of the heavy rain and strong wind. After moving about 10 m it suddenly disappeared without any noise.

On 10 July 2011, during a powerful thunderstorm, a ball of light with a two-metre tail went through a window to the control room of local emergency services in Liberec, Czech Republic. The ball bounced from window to the ceiling, then to the floor and back to the ceiling, where it rolled along it for two or three metres. Then it dropped to the floor and disappeared. The staff present in the control room was frightened, smelled electricity and burned cables and thought something was burning. The computers froze (not crashed) and all communications equipment was knocked out for the night until restored by technicians. Aside from damages caused by disrupting equipment, only one computer monitor was destroyed

http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Posted
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)
  • Location: Caterham-on-the-hill, Surrey, 190m asl (home), Heathrow (work)

Interesting stuff Jane, in my previous job I worked with a woman who witnessed first-hand 'ball lightning' floating into her bedroom through the window during a thunderstorm one night, and she's not the sort of person to make things up either. Obviously she was very shaken by the event and always gets nervous whenever there's a storm around.

So I don't think it's an extremely rare phenomena.

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  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

Thanks Nick,

I can well believe she actually witnessed this. I too, wouldn't class it as extremely rare as there would never be any reports. But it's something one should always be alert and aware of when any storms are forecast so they can have the pleasure of witnessing this strange phenomena. (that's if we get any storms, mind lol ) :lol:

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  • Location: Whaley Bridge - Peak District
  • Location: Whaley Bridge - Peak District

I've witnessed this only once, a single ball of what can only be described as 'white light' floating without a sound left-right peripherally over the area of Toddbrook Reservoir close to home. I have a good view of the Goyt Valley from here so I was stood in the garden awaiting for a storm (which never made it) and as the clouds darkened my attention was drawn to this object. The whole experience lasted no longer than 5 seconds at the most, not even enough time to drag out the camera and get a snap as it was simply one of those once in a lifetime moments. Completely unexpected and despite observing many sferic showers/thunderstorms since I still haven't seen anything since. But I always have the camera ready and turned 'on' just incase.

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  • Location: Roby, Liverpool
  • Weather Preferences: Hot Sunny Days, Summer evening Thunderstorms, Snow and Cold.
  • Location: Roby, Liverpool

I remember back in October 2008 on a flight from Singapore to Melbourne witnessing St. Elmo's fire from the tips of the winglets on a Qantas 747 as we passed through dense high cloud near to Jakarta. You could see the discharge extending about 1ft rearward of the wing tips. It lasted just a few minutes but was quite spectacular.

Also another phenomenon is Lightning rods which are caught on film but rarely seen with the naked eye. These are witnessed as fast balls of moving light near to CB's / supercells.

I think this video was made by one of our members here.

Look above the houses at around 0:30 seconds into the video and you can see one passing left to right leaving a vapor trail behind it.

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Posted
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms and heat, North Sea snow
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

I believe I saw St Elmos fire whilst flying over North Carolina through a developing MCS storm system. The turbulence was horrendous though so this detracted from the otherwise spectacular lightning show!

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