Ball lightning refers to a very rare phenomenon generally associated with severe lightning storms. Think of lightning as a glowing basketball of energy rather than a lightning stroke.
Anecdotes about ball lightning go back many centuries, but until quite recently, it was dismissed by scientists. They now recognize ball lightning as a real occurrence, but no one quite knows what it is.
Ball lightning appears as a sphere of light hovering in the air. It varies a great deal in size, from the size of a pea to several yards in diameter. There is no apparent weight. Ball lightning may last a few seconds, and reportedly occurs in several colors. The spheres behave oddly, moving erratically, and have been reported to pass through windows without harming the glass.
Ball lightning has been observed in airplanes, on the ground and in the air. There are some reports that ball lightning has exploded, sometimes harming people. It may explain some of the reports about UFOs, ghosts and other mysterious phenomena. Current theories include one that ball lightning is microwave radiation originating in a lightning strike, caught in a plasma bubble.
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