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Green fireballs and ball lightning

Hughes, Stephen W. (2011) Green fireballs and ball lightning. Royal Society of London. Proceedings A. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 467(2129), pp. 1427-1448.

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Abstract

This paper presents evidence of an apparent connection between ball lightning and a green fireball. On the evening of the 16th May 2006 at least three fireballs were seen by many people in the skies of Queensland, Australia. One of the fireballs was seen passing over the Great Divide about 120 km west of Brisbane, and soon after, a luminous green ball about 30 cm in diameter was seen rolling down the slope of the Great Divide. A detailed description given by a witness indicates that the phenomenon was probably a highly luminous form of ball lightning. An hypothesis presented in this paper is that the passage of the Queensland fireball meteor created an electrically conductive path between the ionosphere and ground, providing energy for the ball lightning phenomenon. A strong similarity is noted between the Queensland fireball and the Pasamonte fireball seen in New Mexico in 1933. Both meteors exhibit a twist in the tail that could be explained by hydrodynamic forces. The possibility that multiple sightings of fireballs across South East Queensland were produced owing to fragments from comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is discussed.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 38939
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: ball lightning, green fireballs, meteors, corona discharge, sprites, bolts from the blue, blue jets
DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2010.0409
ISSN: 1364-5021
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > ASTRONOMICAL AND SPACE SCIENCES (020100) > Mesospheric Ionospheric and Magnetospheric Physics (020107)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Physics
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Royal Society Publishing
Deposited On: 01 Dec 2010 13:20
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2012 18:15

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