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Generation of Ball Lightning

Brian Hare
Brian Hare
Physics Junior
Project is funded by the Brian and Gayle Hill Research Fellowship
Ball lightning is a mysterious weather phenomenon, appearing as a bright spherical object. It has been reported to have many inexplicable properties such as the ability to pass through windows and follow jet planes.

Ball lightning can be created inside a microwave, but a consensus has never been reached for describing a mechanism behind either natural ball lightning, or purported microwave ball lightning.

A set of experiments has been done to attempt to reproduce Ball Lightning by creating a vortex of AC plasma. This vortex should set up an electric and magnetic field that would allow for generation of ball lightning like plasmoids.

While this line of experimentation has yet to create what would be considered to be "ball lightning", initial attempts by using AC plasmas are promising and will be summarized.