Ball Lightning: Is It Myth Or Reality?

An enduring mystery of science, ball lightning is not your ordinary bolt. Described as an illuminated orb afloat in the sky, thousands of bystanders have reported seeing the phenomenon in action. Ball lightening sightings generally occur during thunderstorms, visible for less than 10 seconds before fading away.

In How To Survive The End Of The World, dozens of ball lightning attacks are sighted around the world, providing conclusive proof for the phenomenon’s existence. In reality, the existence of ball lightning is far more mysterious, the physics of the floating balls of light defying scientific explanations.

First allegedly spotted in Ancient Greece, reported sightings of ball lightning have persisted throughout history. In 1753, ball lighting allegedly killed a Russian professor named Giorg Richmann while he was attempting to replicate Benjamin Franklin’s flying kite experiment. Estimates of how much of the world population has seen ball lightning range from 1 in 30 to 1 in 150 people.

“I don’t think that anyone knows what it is,” Graham K. Hubler, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C, told National Geographic News in 2006. “Most scientists feel that the proper model hasn’t been found yet.”

While the cause of ball lightning is still undetermined, scientists are increasingly confident that the phenomenon exists. In 2012, a group of researchers in China managed to record an instance of ball lightning and measure its content with spectographs, postulating that the ball is an orb of floating vapors caused by lightning striking the soil.

Learn more about ball lightning on an all-new How To Survive The End Of The World tonight at 10P.