Make a Report | See Other Reports | The Beatty Reports | Scientific Publications on BL

Report your Observations!


Rakov and Uman pointed out (Lightning: Physics and Effects, 2001) that despite 5000 published reports of ball lightning (BL) and a scientific literature comparable in volume to the literature on conventional lightning, we still have no idea of what mechanisms create or power BL. Our hope with this site is to get reports that contain precise position and time information regarding ball lightning. Simply that information will allow us to answer the following questions: 1) How frequently ball lightning associated with natural lightning? 2) In cases where it is associated, how nearby does the lightning need to be? 3) Is there anything special (e.g. polarity, max current, structure, multiplicity, continuing currents ) about the natural lightning or thunderstorm that is associated with ball lightning production. All of the above can be determined from modern lightning location and weather radar systems if we know precise time and location of the BL. Other elements of the report are of course interesting. In particular: a) What does the formation and destruction of the ball look like? b) Is the path consistent with hot buoyant gasses? c) Is the path consistent with a charged object inducing charge in other objects and tending to trace surfaces? d) How does the ball pass through windows? Does it ever pass through electrical conductors? THANKS FOR REPORTING!!

Old Observations

Outdoor Ball Lightning
Indoor Ball Lightning (New York)
Indoor Ball Lightning (Japan)

The Beatty Collection

In the late 1990's and early 'aughts, Mr. Beatty operated a discussion group on American Online. The discussion was open, unmoderated, and largely unverified. It included UFO's and other strange phenomena as well as ball lightning. While those reports were all presented in narrative form, we have tried to organize them by the criteria of our questionaire above. This document should not be considered a scientific document, but it does reflect both the diversity (lots of colors, sizes and durations) as well as the commonality of ball lightning reports. We will soon be publishing our newer database of 300+ reports as well as a subset that has been more thoroughly vetted and that we believe are genuine BL reports.

Selected Scientific Publications on Ball Lightning

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Last updated: January 19, 2022.