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Ball Lightning and UFOs.

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posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 06:00 AM
I've been thinking about this, there's a similarity with the orb UFO's and ball lightning. There's not much evidence of ball lightning, maybe one photo and stories, but people still believe in them but not in alien UFO's

I heard one of my relatives' house was burned down by a ball lightning. It appeared from the ceiling during a thunderstorm, and this person (can't remember who) told the kids to not move. Then the ball just swirled away and into the ceiling and made it catch fire big time.

If you ever get one moving towards you, don't move, and just blow hard and it goes with the air

posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 09:13 AM

Originally posted by drew hempel
thanks for the ball lightning followup Karl 12 -- I know I gave it as the explanation for a couple UFO sighting links you wanted me to check out.

Apparently ball lighting follows other electromagnetic signatures -- which explains it appearing inside commerical jets....

Hey Drew, thanks for the reply and ball lightning is certainly a very interesting (and freaky) phenomenon - as well as a rather controversial one.
I tend to disagree with you about the object in the Tehran incident being mistaken for plasma as there are some definite shapes sketched by the pilot in these documents which appear to discount the explanation - I also found it interesting that the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics came to the unanimous conclusion in this report that the object involved in the RB-47 case was not 'plasma' or 'electrical luminosity by the atmosphere'.

Here are the threads again in case you want to carry on discussion:

The 1976 Tehran, F-4 Phantom Chases UFO Case

The RB-47 UFO Encounter | 1957


posted on Apr, 23 2010 @ 09:41 AM

Originally posted by JScytale
While I do believe ball lightning could explain a lot of UFO sightings readily, I would really need the data on how it formed (observed data, not theoretical) and how frequently it formed to really make any conclusions. I can also say without a doubt the one UFO I saw long ago was not ball lightning, as it was basically a hunk of polished metal hovering in broad daylight

JScytale, thanks for the reply and I would also be interested to see more work done on this phenomena as there appears to be a lot of unanswered questions - I did find the interviews in the Arthur C. Clarke documentary very interesting though.

As I said, I think ball lightning may explain some UFO sightings but certainly not many cases (like yours) in which people appear to witness solid objects -there are lots of other reports below where this explanation seems not to be the case although I suppose it doesn't hurt to examine unexplained aspects of atmospherical physics.

Police reports

Pilot reports

Underwater reports


posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 01:40 PM

Originally posted by Jonas86
I've been thinking about this, there's a similarity with the orb UFO's and ball lightning. There's not much evidence of ball lightning, maybe one photo and stories, but people still believe in them but not in alien UFO's

That is such an interesting thought.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:29 PM
reply to post by karl 12

I'm looking for any mention of plasma balls or plasma lightning in the two new links you gave. I could find NONE.

Please give specific references that rule out plasma balls or plasma lightning. Thanks.

O.K. I found this:

the question of whether this incident might be explained in terms of any "plasma effect" is considered but rejected. In the end, this case is conceded to be unexplained.

Still not sure how much was known about plasma BALLS -- at that time. "plasma effect" is pretty nondistinct.

[edit on 24-4-2010 by drew hempel]

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 03:01 PM
My only UFO encounter MAY have been ball lightning,

It was an overcast afternoon when i spotted a bright green small
ball of light travel in a horizontal line across the sky, the distance
was hard to pinpoint but maybe 5000 feet? No noise and i observed
whatever it was for maybe 10-20 seconds and it just flew out of site
it never popped or anything i just saw it get further and further away

Was this ball lightning or something else? i dont know but you
cant rule out the possibility of lightning in a plasma like ball shape.

on another note my aunt had ball lightning come down her house
chimney and explode with a loud bang showering soot everywhere
i never saw this but she described the event as ball lightning.

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 03:39 PM

Originally posted by drew hempel
I'm looking for any mention of plasma balls or plasma lightning in the two new links you gave. I could find NONE.

Here you go - it was linked off the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautic's report:

The Committee has made a careful examination of the present state of the UFO issue and has concluded that the controversy cannot be resolved without further study in a quantitative scientific manner and that it deserves the attention of the engineering and scientific community..

Sample Case Selected by the UFO
Subcommittee of the AIAA

4. After review the unanimous conclusion was that the object was not a plasma or an electrical luminosity by the atmosphere


Dr James Mcdonald also makes some very good points about plasma in this report:

UFOs -- An International Scientific Problem

As for Tehran case - after reading the government documents found in this DIA report and the pilot descriptions found here, do you still think the object involved was plasma?

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 03:41 PM

What do you think about these balls of light filmed in Pittsburgh?
Chinese lanterns?

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 03:46 PM
reply to post by cosby

Marsh gas?

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 05:16 PM
reply to post by stealthyaroura

Stealthyaroura, that's an interesting account and it's certainly a possibility although I think science knows so little about the phenomenon that it's pretty difficult to say - there's an interesting National Geographic article below which goes into more detail about theories but I think the first sentence just about sums it up.

"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...

While some skeptics remain, there is significant observational evidence for ball lightning's existence.

"There are around 10,000 written accounts of observations covering many countries with similar properties recurring in many observations," said John Abrahamson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"All this points to a phenomenon which is repeatable and justifies a single label."

Thousands of eyewitnesses have described seeing a floating, glowing ball similar to a tennis ball or even a beach ball..

Ball Lightning Research

Despite some fairly consistent characteristics, ball lightning has thus far defied scientific explanation—but it's not for a lack of theories.

Scientists have postulated that plasma may be behind the phenomenon.

Plasma clouds are composed of charged particles that recombine into atoms and glow with light.

The clouds may be created by an energy source like a conventional lightning bolt and could theoretically form ball lightning.

An alternative theory promotes the notion that small particles held together in a ball by electrical charges emit chemical energy through oxidation.

This theory suggests that when lightning strikes a surface, a vapor is formed. The vapor condenses into particles that mix with oxygen in the air and then slowly burn with the release of chemical energy.

"The whole picture is electrical energy, in a huge amount really, and a small part of that energy gets converted to chemical energy and stored in particles," said the University of Canterbury's Abrahamson, who supports the theory.

Laboratory work is currently seeking to reproduce ball lightning under this model and several others.

Meanwhile, the Naval Research Lab's Hubler hopes that technology will leave less room for the real thing to hide.

"There is such a proliferation of video cameras these days that people must have captured [pictures of] ball lightning, and it would be an immense help to see some of those videos and study them," he said.

"Here's a real, physical phenomenon that's out there in nature, and we don't have the foggiest idea what it is—that's interesting," he added.

"I hope in my lifetime we find out what it is. It's possible that there's some very new physics in it and that could be very profound."



posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 05:47 PM
I've always considered ball lightning to be a possible explanation for what I saw years ago, but there was no thunderstorm nearby. It was a nice-ish day with some minor cloud cover and the UFO was silently gliding in a perfectly horizontal line. It was a perfect oval and orange with a lighter orange halo around it and was almost pulsing, but left no trail, and it eventually disappeared behind one of the larger low lying clouds which indicated to me that it wasn't very high up in the sky, but it looked big from where I was standing. I've always felt it moved behind cover like it had a purpose, but I'd still consider this lightning phenomenon as well, even though I'll never know what it actually was.

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 09:10 PM
reply to post by karl 12

It's still possible -- but if not then it could be military as were the "fireballs" -- the foo fighters in Germany.

posted on Apr, 27 2010 @ 09:59 PM

Originally posted by karl 12
Does Ball lightning account for some UFO sightings?

Since mainstream science isn't sure exactly what ball lightning is, I'm not 100% sure either.

However of all the UFO threads I've read on ATS, I recall seeing one where I'm pretty sure something like "ball lightning" is the correct explanation:

Originally posted by Psynarchist

It does seem to show a darker part along the bottom, so maybe he didn't rotate the camera. Could it still possibly be something he threw in the powerlines that then violently 'sparked' to the left by sheer electro/magnetic power?

I have no clue, but here's the sequence as in the original video:

In this case the "UFO" or "ball lightning" was seen near a power line and there are engineering reasons why plasma can and does form near power lines, not the least of which is that the power transmitted by a power line is actually in the form of an electromagnetic field surrounding the power line, and is not confined to the wire itself. Therefore plasma can be manifested outside the power line under certain unusual conditions.

Ball lightning or plasma discharge may be able to form away from the influence of any power line. But when it forms near a power line, like this one did, it's a little bit less of a mystery to science because of what we know about the propensity for these types of plasma discharges to form near power lines.

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 06:56 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

Arbitrageur, good call -those are some very interesting pics.

There's another strange account below from 2007 which was said to happen between two flashes of lightning:

Ball Lightning report:

Between two flashes of lightning perhaps five minutes apart, I happened to gaze out the window to view the downpour. At that moment a fiery ball of brilliant yellow moved across our front yard about 10 feet from the ground. The ball itself was somewhere between the size of a grapefruit and a soccer ball. I saw its tight spherical shape engulfed in a sort of plasma while a tapered tail of bright yellow flame trailed behind it for a distance of about twenty-five feet.

It moved not so quickly as a bird might fly across the yard. It did not "streak" but simply moved deliberately at a sort of cruising speed. My companions saw it only indirectly but I eyed it thoroughly, completely, and totally.

As I tried to come to terms with what I had just seen, I mentioned ball lightning - a rare and mysterious phenomenon I had read about some time ago. But my recollection was that ball lightning is so rarely seen that its very existence is in doubt.


Also, its not on for very long but there's this interesting clip from Youtube:


posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 07:26 AM
reply to post by ufoorbhunter

to quote many an ATSer: "wtf" was that?

posted on Apr, 29 2010 @ 06:48 PM

Originally posted by karl 12
reply to post by Arbitrageur
Arbitrageur, good call -those are some very interesting pics.

There's another strange account below from 2007 which was said to happen between two flashes of lightning:

That's an interesting picture and story too!

I'm not sure that picture goes with that story...if I read it correctly the story describes what happened and then they found that picture of another event on the internet?

Anyway I couldn't help but notice that there's what appears to be a power line in that photo also. So to my earlier point, plasma near a power line is slightly less mysterious compared to plasma (or ball lighting) forming away from a power line. I didn't see any mention of power lines in the story though. And I should add the higher the power line voltage, the greater the chance of plasma forming, and that photo you posted doesn't look like a high voltage power line.

posted on May, 11 2010 @ 10:58 PM
High voltage stretches the ether which is condensed by high frequency.
Composed of independent electrical charge carriers they may
perhaps be stretched into plus and minus sides that form the ball
Other than that regular atmospheric gases can be illuminated.

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