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Added Thu, 05/01/2017

When people hear the word "lightning", then, in most cases, to mind he makes known atmospheric phenomenon – a storm, in which the inside of clouds or between the cloud and the earth's surface arise electrical discharges – lightning accompanied by thunder.

Lightning [1]

Lightning called electric discharge between two clouds, or between parts of the same cloud, or between cloud and earth.

For the occurrence of lightning it is necessary that in a relatively small volume of the cloud formed the electric field strength sufficient to start electric discharge (about 1 MV/m). With a large part of the cloud should be a field with an average intensity sufficient to maintain the outbreak of the discharge (on the order of 0.1—0.2 MV/m). In lightning the electrical energy of the cloud is converted into heat, sound and light. [1]

The types of lightning

Most often lightning occurs in cumulonimbus clouds, then they are called lightning; sometimes lightning is formed in a layered-rain clouds, and during volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and dust storms.
Lightning can form and above. So, in 1989, was discovered a special kind of lightning in the upper atmosphere – elves, in 1989, sprites, and in 1995 the jets. Still on the physical nature of these lightning discharges known to very few. [2]

Lightning and electrical discharges in the upper atmosphere [1]

In this case the lightning can pass in storm clouds (vnutrioblastnaya lightning) and hit the ground (cloud to ground lightning).

In appearance, there are three kinds of lightning:

  • Linear
  • Flat (vague)
  • Ball.

Linear lightning has the appearance of a dazzling curvy lines with many branches that can be well seen in the photographic images (the first time it was captured in 1883, Hansel and Shelter). The cause of spatial variability is the different resistance level of various parts of the atmosphere, and this depends on the different distribution of temperature, humidity, rain drops, dust etc. Sometimes it forms a knot or a loop, sometimes divided into two, three or more branches, which then come together, sometimes consists of two parallel bright lines separated from one another by narrow dark stripes, and sometimes even the beads. Color linear lightning various, most often red, less often white.
The duration of such lightning is extremely small. On the basis of experiments with rapidly rotating circle consisting of alternating black and white sectors, it was found that the outbreak generally lasts less than 1 MS, although sometimes it is much more. [3]

Flat zippered vague, have kind of instantaneous flash, with no specific contours, and represent the discharge between parts of the same cloud with significant potential difference; the vagueness is due to poluprovodniki clouds. Color zipper of this kind are most often red, sometimes blue or purple. These include some lightning, usually referred to as lightning without the thunder. [3]

Ball lightning. The most unexplored and mysterious. Generally, this luminous floating in the air balloon, presumably the electric nature. In fact it is a very rare natural phenomenon that complicates its study, although scholars attempts to recreate it in the laboratory. At the moment there are about 400 theories explaining the phenomenon, but none of them has received an absolute recognition in the academic environment. [7]

Phenomena accompanying lightning

Observers often point out the sulfur smell, which could be heard after the lightning. Partly it is due to the decomposition of organic and mineral substances on the earth's surface and contains sulfur and sulfur compounds. [3] Also after a storm you can feel the smell of freshness is the ozone formed from oxygen under the influence of an electric discharge.

After a lightning strike at the human on his skin are often so-called "signs of lightning" – the tree of light pink or red streaks, disappearing when pressed with fingers (stored for several weeks if the victim is alive or 1-2 days after death), and their education promote the sweat and wet clothing.

"Mark lightning" on the victim's body [4]

This is due to the expansion of capillaries in the zone of contact of the lightning with the body. [1]

On relict trees-long-livers can be easily found multiple scars from lightning – gromoboya. It is believed that a single standing tree most affected by lightning, although in some forest areas of gromoboya can be seen on almost every tree. Dead trees by lightning is flashing. Most lightning strikes are aimed at the oak, at least — in the beech, which, apparently, depends on different quantities of fatty oils in them having a large specific resistance.

A tree struck by lightning. Voronezh, the Park "Olympic", may 2013.

The zipper is in the trunk of the tree for the path of least electrical resistance, with the large amount of heat turning water into steam, which splits the tree trunk, or more often tears off from it the parts of the cortex, showing the way of lightning. [1]

Lightning in sandy soil, the latter melts and solidifies in the form of long glass tubes called the thunderbolts.

The fulgurite [6]

Often carefully dug out of the sand, the fulgurite is shaped like the root of a tree or branch with many appendages. Such branched fulgurites are formed when lightning hits in the wet sand, which, as you know, has a higher conductivity than dry. In these cases, the lightning current entering the ground, it immediately begins to spread apart, forming a structure similar to the root of the tree, and born in this fulgurite is a repetition of this form. The fulgurite is very fragile, and attempts to purify from adhering sand, often lead to its destruction. This applies particularly to branched thunderbolts, formed in moist sand. [6]
Sometimes the results of a lightning strike are very strange, almost mystical, such as the fusion of the coins in the wallet, which remains intact, the migration of metal vapor from one subject to another where they give the blueprint for the first, etc. [5]

These and other strange things in the behavior of lightning, and just the idea of it as punishing elements associated with the other worlds, gave rise to many legends.

Mystical view of the zipper

Different mythical beliefs originated in ancient times. Then it was thought that lightning is an expression of the wrath of the gods. Since it is surrounded by many superstitions.

The most famous are, of course, superstitions about lightning. Some of them helped people to avoid bumps and other negative effects of lightning and pass the knowledge to next generations ("during a thunderstorm on the road you can't stand — a great sin"). Some collect a good harvest ("if the first thunder will be held at the snow still not melted, then the coming summer will be a cold").

Met a lot of superstitions that attempt to explain the nature of lightning, and even attempted to manage it with the help of special rituals. "Lightning is the real sky, which in the time of wrath, God shows people. If fell to the ground at least a little bit of that sky, it would burn the whole earth. Argue that the sky will open before the last judgment". "Thunderbolts - from the stone, in the form of a conical bullet. After impact they are in the land in seven fathoms, and seven years later come to the surface". [8]

The period of revelry of elements have always been considered mystical. At such moments, opened the passageways between the worlds: ours and the world of demons, the dead, etc. Sometimes it was thought that the zipper opens this "door". Various little stories, legends and personal stories contain mentions of meetings with unknown and "strange" beings, deceased relatives, shadows, and move the witness to these worlds in time or space. In this respect they are similar to the stories about the crimson fog.

For example, here is one such story:

"Grandma, I spoke as a child always keep the door closed during a thunderstorm, not the black man is coming! I thought it was not to kill, but now believe otherwise. Once during a thunderstorm, I knocked at the door. I thought that someone just asks to take cover and opened, and the door is empty. Suddenly the lightning as sverkaet, and I saw that on the threshold is clearly ecercise silhouette male. Grey is transparent. And on the threshold of empty after all! I got scared and slammed the door. And when I knocked did not open, only looked out a window. But before the door saw nobody".

As lightning, in particular ball tightly associated with the phenomena of UFOs and ghosts because witnesses said many cases where a small glowing sphere (probably a fireball) behaved quite reasonably.

Here as example the case described in the newspaper where the victim believes that the ball lightning came to her the soul of a neighbor in the country:

"That day I, as usual, in the morning, he came to the country to do gardening chores [ ... ], it Started raining with thunderstorm [...] the Storm already died down, and I thought drizzling rain not a hindrance to me. Wrapped in crisp cellophane, I went outside. However, as soon as I approached the willow tree, next to which was nailed a metal sink, nowhere in the air came the fire ball. The lightning began to rush around me. There was a sense that around exploding bullets. I froze on the spot. Once I move, the lightning began to shoot even more intense. So I stood, not moving, but the lightning didn't back down. And here she is spiral wrapped around me... you Know, my neighbor recently died, so I say "Paul, it's probably you rage. Get out of here". Lightning after my words faded. As soon as I ceased to speak, she began again to shoot. It lasted about 50 minutes. I stood, neither alive nor dead. At last the lightning began to turn fiery whirlwind, drew in the string and flew. Immediately I heard a powerful clap of thunder."[9]



The storm, like the raging element, at all times fascinated and provoked awe in the human soul. Because of lightning, especially ball, are still under active study, humanity has yet to offer explanations for the phenomena associated with them. Perhaps among them will be travel between the worlds or the appearance of mysterious creatures.

We, in turn, in addition to collecting information about similar cases, may try to identify the causes of each.

What you can read on the subject for the memories:

  • Yuman M. "Lightning", 1972
  • Stakhanov, I. P., "On physical nature of ball lightning", Moscow: Scientific world, 1996
  • Smirnov B. M., "Observational properties of ball lightning", Phys, 1992

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

Это интересно 

Observers often point to the sulfuric odor heard after lightning. It is partly explained by the decomposition of organic and mineral substances located on the surface of the earth and containing sulfur and sulfur compounds. Also, after a thunderstorm, you can feel the smell of freshness – this is ozone formed from oxygen in the air under the influence of an electric discharge

Lightning, in particular ball lightning, is closely associated with the phenomena of UFOs and ghosts because eyewitnesses tell many cases where a glowing small sphere (presumably ball lightning) behaved relatively reasonably

After a lightning strike in a person, so–called "lightning signs" often remain on his skin - tree-like light pink or red stripes that disappear when pressed with fingers (persist for several weeks if the victim is alive or 1-2 days after death), and sweat and wet clothes contribute to their formation. This is due to the expansion of capillaries in the area of lightning contact with the body

More often lightning strikes are directed to oak, less often to beech, which, apparently, depends on the different amount of fatty oils in them, which have a high resistivity

When lightning strikes sandy soil, the latter melts and hardens in the form of long glassy tubes called fulgurites. They are sometimes mistaken for artifacts that have fallen out of flying saucers

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