UFOs or ball lightning?

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UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:17 am

Some time ago I stumbled across a YouTube video which shows different incidents of ball lighthing. Take a look at the video, it is obvious that these kind of moving lights very easily could be mistaken for UFOs.



People have reported seeing ball lightning—a rare phenomenon that resembles a glowing sphere of electricity—for hundreds of years.

But scientists still can't explain what causes it, or even exactly what it is. "There's certainly no consensus. I don't think that anyone knows what it is," said Graham K. Hubler, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

"Most scientists feel that the proper model hasn't been found yet."

Surveys estimate that between 1 in 30 and 1 in 150 people believe that they have seen ball lightning.

Read more here:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... tning.html

It is interesting that ball lightning don't only appear during thunderstorms either:

The appearance of ball lightning, however, is by no means always associated with lightning strikes, and fair-weather balls are not unknown. This prompts the question of whether the balls are indeed some kind of by-product of electrical activity in the atmosphere or have a more exotic origin.

http://www.daviddarling.info/encycloped ... tning.html

So, I am throwing it out there:
Is it possible that many UFOs sigthings are in fact people seing ball lightning?
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Why Not? » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:35 am

BoredNow.....

Thank you for posting your interesting video & commentary.

May I ask.....

How do you know all the objects in the video are ball lightning?

Kind regards
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:52 am

Why Not? wrote:BoredNow.....

How do you know all the objects in the video are ball lightning?



To be honest I can't know for sure that they are. Anyone can upload anything on YouTube and claim whatever they want. But I took a look at the profile of the YouTube poster who uploaded this particular video, and he/she does not seem like one of the fruitcakes we see far too many of. This is his/her profile, if you want to take a look:

http://www.youtube.com/user/AstronomySquared

Anyway, from what I have read about ball lightning and how they are described, the light phenomena in the video seem to fit the description very good. And since those kind of moving lights could very well be taken for UFOs (as in flying alien crafts), I thought it would be interesting to discuss it. I have not seen ball lighthing been metioned very often as a possible explanation for at least some UFO sightings, and I would like to know what others think about it.
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:09 pm

Oh, and I forgot to ask, Why Not, what do YOU think about the ball lightning theory? Do you have any thoughts about it? Does it seem plausible to you that some UFOs may in fact be ball lightning?
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby chrLz » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:37 pm

Like Why Not™, I have serious issues with some of that footage, and have my doubts about the whole ball lightning thing as a common enough occurrence to be statistically significant... Given it is such an under-understood topic, I don't know that anyone can meaningfully answer the question. Some sightings? perhaps. Many? highly doubtful, simply on the basis that most sightings have more likely explanations, and the remaining few don't seem, to me, to be ball-lightning-like (er, whatever that might be :))...

Why Not™ ask the author to pop over here and have a chat, or simply ask him about the content of the video? It's your thread, bored, so politeness suggests you should have the opportunity to do that first. But if you or Why Not don't wish to, I'm happy to...
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:53 pm

chrLz wrote:
Why Not™ ask the author to pop over here and have a chat, or simply ask him about the content of the video? It's your thread, bored, so politeness suggests you should have the opportunity to do that first. But if you or Why Not don't wish to, I'm happy to...


I have already sent a message to the YouTube poster and asked for more information about the video, and also invited him/her to join the discussion here. Now I am just waiting for an answer, and I will keep you guys updated when and if I hear from "AstronomySquared". :)

And I do of course realize that it is not possible to come to any definitive conclusions about (some) UFOs being ball lightning. I still think it is worth discussing, and hopefully someone with more knowledge about this strange lightning phenomena will join the discussion. I am trying to find more information about the subject.

EDIT TO ADD: I just saw that "AstronomySquared" last visited YouTube 1 year ago.... What a bummer. I guess it is unlikely that I will receive an answer anytime soon. :(
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby mosfet » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:01 pm

BoredNow wrote:Some time ago I stumbled across a YouTube video which shows different incidents of ball lighthing. Take a look at the video, it is obvious that these kind of moving lights very easily could be mistaken for UFOs.


And the corollary to that, being that UFOs could be mistaken for ball lighting is equally valid.

Very interesting video; surprising that in this day and age we are so ignorant of the phenomena and yet (similar to UFOs) it has been around for a long time?
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Access Denied » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:18 am

BoredNow wrote:Is it possible that many UFOs sigthings are in fact people seing ball lightning?

I suppose it might be a plausible explanation for some UFO sightings but I can't really think of any UFO sightings off the top of my head that it might be a good explanation for… :)

[I recall there may be some good candidates mentioned in the MoD's "Condign Report" but I would have to look up the references to find the original case reports]

I agree with the others that I’m not sure we can assume all the various lights shown in the video represent ball lighting. Upon first viewing (and muting the soundtrack) at least one looked like maybe flares to me and another looked like maybe aircraft landing lights… kind of a mixed bag so each one would have to be looked at individually in more depth to be sure.

I do think ball lighting is a fascinating subject but see this post for a skeptical view of the phenomena. It seems the case for ball lightning is just as elusive as the case for alien spaceships… :)

P.S. I hope you don’t mind but I merged this thread with an existing thread on the topic for easy reference. Take a look at the debate on the “Hessdalen Lights” earlier in this thread which is often cited as “evidence” of atmospheric plasmas. (ball lighting would be a form of plasma)
Last edited by Access Denied on Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: thread not merged
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:13 am

Access Denied wrote:P.S. I hope you don’t mind but I merged this thread with an existing thread on the topic for easy reference. Take a look at the debate on the “Hessdalen Lights” earlier in this thread which is often cited as “evidence” of atmospheric plasmas. (ball lighting would be a form of plasma)



I don't mind at all! :)

Thank you for moving it, there is absolutely no point in having two threads about the same subject.
Last edited by Access Denied on Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed quote attribution
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Access Denied » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:20 am

BoredNow wrote:I don't mind at all! :)

Thank you for moving it, there is absolutely no point in having two threads about the same subject.

Actually, I changed my mind. :lol:

The video you included in your OP may be worth discussing on it's own.
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Why Not? » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:07 am

BoredNow wrote:Oh, and I forgot to ask, Why Not, what do YOU think about the ball lightning theory? Do you have any thoughts about it? Does it seem plausible to you that some UFOs may in fact be ball lightning?


BoredNow.....

I thought I should answer, albeit other members have really covered off my own thoughts.

Notwithstanding the broader questions about the whole "ball lightning" phenomenon.....

I guess it's possible "ball lightning" could be mistaken for a "UFO" because let's face it.....some people will call anything a "UFO".

However.....

I suspect the transient & elusive nature of the phenomenon would not result in many mistaken "UFO" sightings.

Actually.....as I write this, I am thinking about the story my Dad told me many years ago when his grandma described how "ball lightning" "flew" in through her back door, "rolled" along the hallway burning all the carpet along the way & then "flew" out her front door.....all in seconds! I think that when he told me that, it was the first time I'd ever heard of "ball lightning"!

Thank you again for raising this interesting topic.

Kind regards
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby BoredNow » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:07 pm

BBC had this interesting article today:

Ball lightning 'may explain UFOs'

Some UFO sightings could be explained by ball lightning and other atmospheric phenomena, claims Australian astrophysicist Stephen Hughes.

The scientist has made a detailed study of an unusual event in 2006 when large meteors were observed over Brisbane. Their appearance occurred at the same time as a brilliant green object was seen to roll over nearby mountains. Dr Hughes has put forward a theory linking the object - presumed to be ball lighting - to the fireballs.

His idea is that one of the fireballs may have momentarily triggered an electrical connection between the upper atmosphere and the ground, providing energy for the ball lightning to appear above the hills. He has written up his explanation in a journal of the Royal Society.

Dr Hughes says the extraordinary episode, which occurred during a night of fine weather, is just the sort of happening that might lead some to think they had witnessed UFO activity.


More here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11877842
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby longhaircowboy » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:46 pm

Plasmas as an explanation for UFOs has been around for a while. Hynek tried to use it on some cases way back in the day. I have yet to come upon a case that would best be explained by ball lighnting. Usually its much more mundane(like stars, plane lights) and I've investigated many sightings.
And from my time in North Carolina I recall the Brown Mountain lights which were an old myth about dead folk seeking loved ones. Plasma was proposed as one theory. Another was gas eruptions. Don't recall what the actual cause was or even if there was one.
It's quite possible a small portion of sightings could be some sort of plasma effect but I've yet to see it and I been in the UFO game a long time.
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Jocko Flocko » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:20 am

I always "assumed" the bluish round balls I saw on two occasions during very severe thunderstorms were indeed "ball lightning". On both occasions the "balls" appeared immediately after a nearby lightning strike. They appeared and traveled a bit above the ground and then faded out like a dying candle flame within 4 to 6 seconds of appearing. This was accompanied by a VERY strong smell of sulfur.
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Re: UFOs or ball lightning?

Postby Buckwild » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:53 am

Hi everyone,

Ball Lightning (BL) is a fascinating subject but not all that glitters is gold.

Here is a place where you can find many scientific papers related to BL :
http://win.ciph-soso.net/bibliography/default.asp

Just write "ball lightning" in the "search for" window and search for the articles/papers with google.

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos from Fotocat will soon present a document related to BL :

A Catalogue of Ball Lightning Photographs in Preparation
Linked to the above, I have just completed a full review of my large files on this subject, including the extensive bibliography on ball lightning in my library. Although not at all comprehensive, it has resulted in the production of a repertoire of photographic examples of ball lightning and bead lightning*. This first draft catalogue (90 entries) is now being circulated among several specialists with the aim of collecting additional cases and improving the detail content of the register.

Those of you with an interest in ball lightning who wish to consult and contribute to the last version of the catalogue in the making are invited to write me (fotocat@anomalia.org). A paper is being written and every assistance received will be duly acknowledged in the final publication.


I'll open a thread as soon as it comes out.

Many people are skeptic about this phenomena and I can understand them, some photos and videos on the internet could show this kind of phenomena : http://ufo-logic.xooit.com/t1973-Plasmo ... NI-PAN.htm

I opened a thread on ATS to show some interesting images I've found :
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread363918/pg1

++
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