Ball lightning - the unsolved mystery of nature

Ball lightning - the unsolved mystery of nature
Ball lightning - the unsolved mystery of nature

We live in an interesting time - in the yard of the 21st century, high technologies are subject to man and are used everywhere both in scientific work and in everyday life. The surface of Mars is being explored and a set of people wishing to settle on the Red Planet is being made. Meanwhile, today there are various natural phenomena, the mechanism of which is still not understood. Such phenomena include ball lightning, which is of genuine interest to scientists around the world.

lightning ball

The first documented case of the appearance of ball lightning took place in 1638 in England, in one of the churches in Devon. As a result of the atrocities of a huge fireball, 4 people died, about 60 were injured. Subsequently, new reports of such phenomena periodically appeared, but there were few of them, since eyewitnesses considered ball lightning an illusion or an optical illusion.

The first generalization of cases of a unique natural phenomenon was made by the Frenchman F. Arago inthe middle of the 19th century, about 30 testimonies are collected in his statistics. The growing number of such meetings made it possible to obtain, based on the descriptions of eyewitnesses, some of the characteristics inherent in the heavenly guest.

Ball lightning is an electrical phenomenon, a fireball moving in the air in an unpredictable direction, luminous, but not radiating heat. This is where the general properties end and the particulars characteristic of each of the cases begin.

photo of ball lightning

This is due to the fact that the nature of ball lightning is not fully understood, because so far it has not been possible to study this phenomenon in the laboratory or recreate a model for study. In some cases, the diameter of the fireball was several centimeters, sometimes reaching half a meter.

Photos of ball lightning fascinate with their beauty, but the impression of a harmless optical illusion is deceptive - many eyewitnesses were injured and burned, some became victims. This happened to the physicist Richmann, whose work on experiments during a thunderstorm ended in tragedy.


Ball lightning for several hundred years has been the object of study by many scientists, including N. Tesla, G. I. Babat, P. L. Kapitsa, B. Smirnov, I. P. Stakhanov and others. Scientists have put forward various theories of the occurrence of ball lightning, of which there are over 200.

According to one of the versions, the electromagnetic wave formed between the earth and the clouds reaches a critical point at a certain momentamplitude and forms a spherical gas discharge.

nature of ball lightning

Another version is that ball lightning consists of high-density plasma and contains its own microwave radiation field. Some scientists believe that the fireball phenomenon is the result of the focusing of cosmic rays by clouds.

Most cases of this phenomenon were recorded before a thunderstorm and during a thunderstorm, therefore the hypothesis of the emergence of an energetically favorable environment for the appearance of various plasma formations, one of which is lightning, is considered the most relevant.

ball lightning formation

The opinions of experts agree that when meeting with a heavenly guest, you must adhere to certain rules of conduct. The main thing is not to make sudden movements, not to run away, try to minimize air vibrations.

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