Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Just When You Thought It Was Safe...to go to church
My son found some information about ball lightening last week and passed it on to me, and I thought I would share it with anyone who reads my blog. I had never heard of this, even though the stories have been around since 1638. One of the earliest possible descriptions was reported during The Great Thunderstorm at a church in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, in England, on 21 October 1638. Four people died and approximately 60 were injured when, during a severe storm, an 8' ball of fire was described as striking and entering the church, nearly destroying it. Large stones from the church walls were hurled into the ground and through large wooden beams. The ball of fire allegedly smashed the pews and many windows, and filled the church with a foul sulfurous odor and dark, thick smoke.
The ball of fire reportedly split in two, one exiting through a window by smashing it open, the other disappearing somewhere inside the church. The explanation at the time, because of the fire and sulfur smell, was that the ball of fire was "the devil" or the "flames of hell". Later, some blamed the entire incident on two people who had been playing cards in the pew during the sermon, who they say must have invoked God's wrath
Other accounts that were reported were On 30 April 1877, a ball of lightning entered the Golden Temple at Amritsar, India, and exited through a side door. This event was observed by a number of people, and the incident is inscribed on the front wall of Darshani Deodhi.
In July 1907 the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Western Australia was hit by ball lightning. The light house keeper Patrick Baird was in the tower at the time and was knocked unconscious. His daughter Ethel recorded the event.
Pilots in World War II described an unusual phenomenon for which ball lightning has been suggested as an explanation. The pilots saw small balls of light moving in strange trajectories, which came to be referred to as foo fighters.
Submariners in WWII gave the most frequent and consistent accounts of small ball lightning in the confined submarine atmosphere. There are repeated accounts of inadvertent production of floating explosive balls when the battery banks were switched in/out, especially if mis-switched or when the highly inductive electrical motors were mis-connected or disconnected. An attempt later to duplicate those balls with a surplus submarine battery resulted in several failures and an explosion.
On 6 August 1994 a ball of lightning went through a closed window in Uppsala, Sweden, leaving a circular hole with a diameter of 5 centimeters. The incident was witnessed by residents in the area, and was recorded by a lightning strike tracking system on the Division for Electricity and Lightning Research at Uppsala University
This next paragraph really captured my attention because I used to work with silicon wafers. It was my first job that I got right after graduating High School. It was a hush hush job, one of those you are not suppose to talk about. So many years ago...1969, so that would be 40 years ago. This report is from 2007 just 2 years ago.
Some more recent experiments in 2007 involve shocking silicon wafers with electricity, which vaporizes the silicon and induces oxidation in the vapors. The visual effect can be described as small glowing, sparkling orbs that roll around a surface. Two Brazilian scientists, Antonio Pavão and Gerson Paiva of the Federal University of Pernambuco have reportedly consistently made small long-lasting balls using this method. These experiments stemmed from the theory that ball lightning is actually oxidized silicon vapors.
Well, this concludes my post for the day. Hope you found it interesting, or at least the part about my very first job, 40 years ago. Ha....
Info about this came from Wikipedia.