Ball Lightning The Mysterious Glowing Phenomenon

Samuel Reason | June 15th, 2018

For years ball lightning has stumped scientists and caused panic all around the world. Many times it has been mistaken for UFOs and caused confusion, even causing damage to homes. And for many centuries it was a mystery, it made no sense when confronted with the norms of science. Was it something supernatural?

Ball lightning is a sphere of electrical light that sometimes appears during thunderstorms, they naturally occur and usually turn into fireballs. This process leads them to be mistaken for airships and alien spacecraft crashing into Earth. Scientists have now finally figured out a plausible explanation for the phenomenon: the orb of lightning is caused by radiation being trapped in a plasma bubble.

The mysterious glow they give off really is quite stunning so you can understand why they have caused much confusion over the years, in fact, they are nicknamed fireballs and ghost lights. Scientists suggest that the glow is caused by a lightning strike getting trapped and then releasing radiation. For hundreds of years they have been scaring sky-watchers, imagine electricity bursting out of nowhere which can even appear in a closed room. From the size of golf balls to several meters across, these ghost lights normally explode loudly and create extremely bad smells when they disappear.

Researchers from the Zhejiang University in China were finally able to crack the case and figure out exactly what was going on. When a lightning strike hits the ground, many electrons can be produced which in turn causes a huge increase in radiation being produced. If the radiation gets trapped in the ionized air(called a plasma bubble) then it causes the flashes known as the ball lightning. After some time the trapped radiation manages to escape which is when they disappear. Only it is more like leaked gas, which means when they disappear they tend to explode.

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