Agriculture
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Watering the Air
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Salamanders
Salamanders and Newts
Animals
Sleep Affects a Bird's Singing
A Fallout Feast for Crabs
G-Tunes with a Message
Behavior
Swedish Rhapsody
Mice sense each other's fear
Contemplating thought
Birds
Ibises
Blue Jays
Kookaburras
Chemistry and Materials
Batteries built by Viruses
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
The memory of a material
Computers
Lighting goes digital
New eyes to scan the skies
Earth from the inside out
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Supersight for a Dino King
Dinosaurs Grow Up
Some Dinos Dined on Grass
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Riding to Earth's Core
Detecting an Eerie Sea Glow
Environment
Forests as a Tsunami Shield
What is groundwater
A Stormy History
Finding the Past
Stone Age Sole Survivors
Your inner Neandertal
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Fish
Flounder
Saltwater Fish
Parrotfish
Food and Nutrition
The Essence of Celery
Chew for Health
Chocolate Rules
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Pronouns
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
Detecting True Art
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Human Body
From Stem Cell to Any Cell
A Better Flu Shot
Attacking Asthma
Invertebrates
Camel Spiders
Beetles
Daddy Long Legs
Mammals
Miniature Schnauzers
Sperm Whale
Dalmatians
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Gaining a Swift Lift
Invisibility Ring
Plants
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Anacondas
Iguanas
Caimans
Space and Astronomy
A Moon's Icy Spray
Dark Galaxy
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Bionic Bacteria
Smart Windows
A Clean Getaway
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Reach for the Sky
Flying the Hyper Skies
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Weather
Arctic Melt
A Change in Climate
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
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Powering Ball Lightning

Ball lightning is one of the strangest objects you might never see. The rare, basketball-sized fireballs occasionally form in nature after lightning strikes soil. They can float or bounce and last for several minutes before disappearing. In recent years, scientists have learned something about the science behind ball lightning. But questions remain. A new study helps illuminate the picture. Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel began the study after making ball lightning by mistake in their lab. Vladimir Dikhtyar and Eli Jerby had just invented a new type of drill that was made partly from pieces of microwave ovens. The tip of the drill concentrates microwave radiation into a spot that measures just 2 millimeters wide. Such concentrated radiation allows the drill to pierce many materials. About 10 years ago, Dikhtyar and Jerby were testing their new device when a glowing blob suddenly blew out of the material they were drilling. The blob eventually reentered the drill, causing a lot of damage. Hoping to find out what had ruined their fancy tool, the engineers experimented until they could reliably make fireballs on purpose. The trick, they found, was to drill into glass. They found a way to cage the glowing blobs for up to several minutes. To make the trap, they used a tissue-box-sized container with glass walls. They kept the glowing orbs alive by zapping them with extra microwaves. The lab-made blobs were different from ball lightning that occurs in nature. For one thing, the artificial balls were much smaller—just a few centimeters across, instead of basketball-sized or bigger. They formed in a different way too. And if left alone, the manmade blobs vanished within 30 milliseconds. (There are 1,000 milliseconds in 1 second). Still, the scientists thought their blobs were realistic enough to help test one of the leading theories about what causes ball lightning in nature. In 2000, researchers from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, proposed that ball lightning forms when lightning strikes soil. Under the right conditions, the strike creates a charged gas that glows and contains dust that is full of microscopic particles. Chemical reactions within the dust then create energy that keeps the gas glowing, the scientists suspected. Using an intense X-ray beam, Dikhtyar and Jerby found evidence to support that theory. Their tests showed tiny particles within the artificial blobs. These particles were similar in size to the particles that may exist in natural ball lightning.—Emily Sohn

Powering Ball Lightning
Powering Ball Lightning








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