BALL LIGHTNING does not look like "lightning." Instead, it usually
appears as a mysterious glowing sphere which drifts horizontally through
the air. It is typically the size of a grapefruit, but sometimes appears
as small as a pea, or as large as a bus. It sometime hovers at a few feet
or tens of feet altitude, but can also bounce along the ground. It
usually lasts only a few seconds, but sometimes persists much longer.
Various colors of "BL" have been seen, sometimes it changes colors, and
sometimes it has internal structures such as glowing layers or moving
sparks. Sometimes it disappears silently, other times it explodes
with extreme violence.
At one time BL was thought to be extremely rare, but this was because
most BL eyewitnesses
feared ridicule and wouldn't come forward. In reality, five percent of
the population has seen BL close up.
Today most researchers agree that it is
real, yet its nature is still highly controversial, and no sensible
theories yet exist to explain it. (For example, BL cannot be hot plasma,
since plasma would be much lighter than air and would immediately rise
like fire, or like a balloon.) See Scientific American's
the Experts under
Make Your Own Ball Lightning?!
("Maser theory" plasmoids in kitchen microwave oven)
Use Dejanews to search
newsgroups for "ball lightning" keyword
"It is not uncommon for engineers to accept the reality of phenomena
that are not yet understood, as it is very common for physicists to
disbelieve the reality of phenomena that seem to contradict contemporary
beliefs of physics" - H. Bauer
"Round about the accredited and orderly facts of every science there
ever floats a sort of dust-cloud of exceptional observations, of
occurrences minute and irregular and seldom met with, which it always
proves more easy to ignore than to attend to... Anyone will renovate his
science who will steadily look after the irregular phenomena, and when
science is renewed, its new formulas often have more of the voice of the
exceptions in them than of what were supposed to be the rules."
- William James
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