Author: Mary Knapp

Is it real or not? Despite years of research ball lightning remains one of the mysteries of meteorology. Generally, ball lightning is described as a luminous sphere about the size of an orange that lasts between 5 seconds and a minute. Since they are very short lived, for many years the phenomena were dismissed as an optical illusion. However, some witness reported scorch marks and other damage that wouldn’t occur with an illusion! There are even a few photographs of the phenomena. For more on the subject, you can check the various books about lightning at your local library or bookstore. And if you have seen ball lightning, let us know.

Figure 1. Ball Lightning woodcut (public domain)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library