Ball Lighting. Can anyone explain the environmental factors required to create/sustain such a phenomenon? Have there ever been attempts to re-create such a thing in a laboratory setting? Or is it all a hoax?

  1. Someone posted a link above about the electric field may be making neuron misfirings which would generate such a hallucination. To me it's weird it's never been caught on camera. Nowadays there are cameras everywhere

  2. About 1980, Spring time, in East Texas. Late evening. That's the time of year we have lots of heavy thunderstorms with a lot of lightning. I was watching a wall cloud as a storm was coming in, looking for a tornado. Not raining where I was. Wall clouds are huge and blackish. I saw a sphere of white appear in front of the wall cloud. I'd estimate that this was a couple of miles away. It lasted a few seconds. As for size, imagine one soccer ball on many football fields. When I saw it, I thought it was ball lightning. Was it? Could it have been something else? Whatever it was, it was definitely cool and the only time I've seen it.

  3. I suspect it's real and eventually we'll catch it on a public (read; not tampered with) camera. Weird stuff happens all the time and one in a billion things happen every day. Like, we now know for a fact that the "

  4. The have been recorded cases and many eye witnesses, but the phenomenon is to rare to have been properly researched. Although i believe they did study a similar phenomenon in a lab setting, its impossible to know without being able to study ball lightning itself.

  5. When I was young and living in SW Ohio about 1960, I went to a friend’s house for the weekend. While I was gone from home, we had a big thunderstorm. Mom, dad and three siblings were home and saw a ball of lightning come in the house, roll around, knock out our tv and a lamp. The tubes and wiring in the tv were fried. Seriously scared everyone.

  6. “Ball Lightning” by Liu Cixin is pretty good if you want some fiction about ball lightning. His “Three-Body Problem” series is really good too.

  7. I spoke with a guy, Bill Wilson, whose thesis was trying to replicate ball lightning. He studied at NC State and provided me with a copy of his dissertation, if I can find it I’ll link with an edit. He constructed an aluminum shell, with applied voltage, in which he injected “natural atmospheric organics.” If I remember correctly it was comprised of insect particulates with different gasses. I don’t remember what his findings were, if any. But he left me with some originally composed music, and spent a lot of the conversation explaining how he sold acid out of a garage apartment in the 70’s. Cooky guy.

  8. I saw ball lightning produced on a show where they used a large submarine battery. I think it was "In Search Of" which is a pretty old show. I never thought that ball lightning was really doubted. It exists, but it's hard to explain how it forms.

  9. I have seen it go through a neighbor's window and they saw it go down the hall and fried the door bell transformer on the wall.

  10. An idea I have is they are high-energy cosmic particles like muons and neutrinos that essentially never interact with Fermions. I've done the math and it seemed plausible a muon could carry enough energy to make a visible plasma ball. The extraordinarily rare case one of these particles interacted with air might explain some ball lightning. Although then you'd have to explain the common report the ball moved around; so maybe add little group imagination and exaggeration or there are multiple different phenomenon.

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