Haunting ball lightning
Ball lightning is commonly known as “rolling mines”. They are colorful and mysterious. Scientists have not yet figured out the principle of their generation, so they cannot predict when they will appear.
Although it sounds mysterious, ball lightning is a real physical phenomenon. They usually appear in thunderstorms and are very bright, ranging from 15-40 cm in diameter. Normal lightning is fleeting, it is difficult to remember its branches with the naked eye; but ball lightning can usually last for several seconds, sometimes even for 1 to 2 minutes, and presents orange, red, yellow, purple, blue, Bright white, dark green halo.
Because ball lightning is very rare, it is difficult to be observed. The description and records of ball lightning often come from witnesses who occasionally encounter it. They are sometimes static, but usually move horizontally. After appearing for a period of time, they often exit the scene in the form of a sudden explosion or silent disappearance, leaving a burnt smell in the air.
The earliest record of ball lightning appeared in 1638. At that time, the St. Pancras Church in the United Kingdom was holding a worship service. Suddenly, a large fireball with a diameter of about 2.3 meters penetrated the wall and ran across the church, destroying window glass, tables, chairs and benches, causing 4 deaths and 60 injuries.
In 2012, when researchers at Lanzhou Northwest Normal University were drawing a radiation map during a thunderstorm, their spectroscopy equipment accidentally caught a ball of lightning – only a large ball of light about 5 meters in diameter slowly rose from the ground. It swiftly traveled 15 meters on the ground and disappeared. This is also considered to be the first scientific record of ball lightning in nature.
The reasons are different
The ball lightning comes and goes without a trace, and there is no rule to follow. To see it, it depends on “luck”. In addition, human beings have limited knowledge of nature, so it is difficult for scientists to tell where it came from. Reasonable explanation.
In 1955, physicists in the former Soviet Union believed that ball lightning was caused by electromagnetic interference effects in thunderstorms.
In 1998, a Spanish physicist believed that ball lightning is likely to be a luminous plasma confined by a magnetic field in conventional lightning. As a result, ball lightning is mostly cold, but the local temperature along the magnetic field line is extremely high, which is why they do not generate heat and tend to catch fire when they come into contact with objects.
In 2000, two New Zealand scientists proposed that when ordinary branch lightning strikes the soil, the minerals in the soil will be converted into nano-pure silicon and silicon compound particles. These tiny particles less than one tenth of a micrometer in size will evaporate into the atmosphere under the action of lightning energy. The silicon-containing particles entering the atmosphere will first be connected to form a chain, and then form a spherical fine wire mesh that can move with the airflow. The particles in the spherical fine wire mesh have high activity and will burn slowly under certain conditions and release light and light. Heat and form the so-called ball lightning.
Ball lightning appearing all over the world
Ball lightning appearing all over the world
Researchers from Lanzhou Northwest Normal University, who used spectroscopic equipment to “catch” ball lightning, identified the main elements that make up ball lightning. They found that ball lightning contains iron, silicon, and calcium, and its composition is the same as the main components of soil. Therefore, they also believe that ball lightning is triggered by the collision of ordinary lightning with the ground. When lightning strikes soil or rocks, the lightning The energy instantly evaporates the silica in the soil, and then separates the oxygen from the silica in some way to obtain relatively pure silicon vapor. The spherical silicon vapor will again combine with oxygen in the air to generate heat and burst out bright. , Forming a ball lightning.
In 2002, the Royal Society published a group of articles on ball lightning in the special issue of the academic journal “Journal of Philosophy”, and proposed three theories to explain the causes of ball lightning.
The first theory is that ball lightning is composed of small water droplets containing hydrated ions, which release energy through ion reactions. In this theory, ball lightning is an electrochemical structure containing plasma, maintained by a delicate balance of temperature, pressure, electromagnetic fields, and gravitational fields.
The second theory is that the ball lightning is formed by winding polymer filaments, which release energy through surface discharge. In this theory, natural particles in dust, such as those derived from cellulose, soot, or silica, can form filamentous structures. These filaments aggregate to form a highly charged sphere. When discharging, it emits light and heat.
The third theory is that ball lightning consists of chains of metal nanoparticles, and its energy is released by surface oxidation of metal nanoparticles. In this theory, ordinary lightning can cause substances such as soil or wood to release metal vapor, and this charged metal vapor will be concentrated into a net-shaped metal nanoparticle ball, that is, spherical lightning.
It can be seen that the academic circles have not reached a consensus on the cause of ball lightning.
Great harm and difficult to prevent
As for the source of ball lightning, although there is no unified scientific conclusion, no one can refute its great harm.
You know, conventional tree lightning can only last for dozens of subtleties, but ball lightning can last for a few seconds or minutes. They can fluctuate with the airflow or move freely in a charged air mass; they can enter the room through the chimney , You can also slide or hover on the wire; sometimes they disappear silently, and sometimes they explode when they hit an obstacle. There are almost no places where they cannot go.
So how to prevent ball lightning? Scientists said that although ball lightning is a phenomenon of concentrated discharge in the atmosphere during thunderstorms, compared with general branch lightning, its shape is more independent, and its movement is more special and irregular, so it has great prevention. difficult. Therefore, what people need to do is to protect themselves in thunder and lightning weather, do not stay in open areas, try not to drive and make calls, close doors, windows, and power when indoors, and stay away from buildings without lightning protection measures.
I hope that one day, the mystery contained in the dangerous ball lightning can be completely revealed by the constantly soaring science and technology. After all, no one wants to eat hot pot and sing songs, and suddenly be swallowed by a fireball inexplicably!