Agriculture
Making the most of a meal
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Silk’s superpowers
Amphibians
Toads
Salamanders
Bullfrogs
Animals
Firefly Delight
Assembling the Tree of Life
Lives of a Mole Rat
Behavior
The Snappy Lingo of Instant Messages
Math Naturals
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Birds
Parrots
A Meal Plan for Birds
Turkeys
Chemistry and Materials
Atom Hauler
The Buzz about Caffeine
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Computers
Toxic Dirt + Avian Flu = Science Fair Success
The Shape of the Internet
Computers with Attitude
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Winged Insects May Go Way Back
Dinosaur Dig
Fossil Fly from Antarctica
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Challenging the Forces of Nature
Environment
Fishing for Fun Takes Toll
Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs?
Seabirds Deliver Arctic Pollutants
Finding the Past
Sahara Cemetery
The Puzzle of Ancient Mariners
Settling the Americas
Fish
Bass
Salmon
Sting Ray
Food and Nutrition
Strong Bones for Life
The Color of Health
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Whoever vs. Whomever
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Deep-space dancers
Math of the World
Detecting True Art
Human Body
Hear, Hear
Gut Microbes and Weight
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Invertebrates
Bedbugs
Hermit Crabs
Horseshoe Crabs
Mammals
Quokkas
Elk
Killer Whales
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Speedy stars
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Plants
Farms sprout in cities
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Reptiles
Crocodilians
Gila Monsters
Pythons
Space and Astronomy
Catching a Comet's Tail
Burst Busters
Cousin Earth
Technology and Engineering
Riding Sunlight
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
How to Fly Like a Bat
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
Catching Some Rays
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Add your Article

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








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™