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No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990

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Ball Lightning Studies

The April 1990 issue of the Journal of Meteorology, some 63 pages of it, presents us with a wonderful compendium of ball lightning observations. It is un-fortunate that we have room for only a few of the many fascinating descriptions.

Giant ball lightning.

"The following display of ball lightning was observed by an officer at the coastguard station at Fishguard, Dyfed, West Wales, on 8 June 1977. The occurrence was at 0227 GMT, grid reference SM(12)895389.

"The ball lightning phenomenon was very large and estimated to be about the size of a bus. It was described as a brilliant, yellow green, transparent ball with a fuzzy outline which descended from the base of a towering cumulus over Garn Fawr Mountains and appeared to 'float' down the hillside. Intense light was emitted for about three seconds before flickering out. Severe static was heard on the radio. The object slowly rotated around a horizontal axis, and seemed to 'bounce' off projections on the ground. It was noticed that cattle and seabirds in the immediate vicinity became disturbed."

(Jones, Ian; "Giant Ball Lightning or Plasma Vortex," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 15:178, 1990.)

Reference. Eighteen varieties of ball lightning are cataloged in section GLB in Lightning, Auroras. For more infor mation on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss