Chinese Scientists Learn More about Ball Lightning in 2014

High school graduate and athlete Cody Saltsman is a resident of Steubenville, Ohio. Enthusiastic about science, Cody Saltsman lists astronomy and physics as two of his favorite academic subjects.

Shortly after 2014 drew to a close, the UK branch of business and technology news publication Business Insider published an article covering the 11 most phenomenal physics discoveries made during the year. The groundbreaking findings that made the list ranged from topics such as nuclear fusion to quantum data teleportation and sun particles.

One of the most fascinating discoveries came from Lanzhou in China and was published in the January edition of Physical Review Letters. Chinese scientists announced that they had solved the chemical composition of the phenomenon known as ball lightning, which is a lightning sphere or disk spanning up to 10 feet across and appearing in the sky for seconds before disappearing. The scientists were able to take a spectrum of the lightning, the colors of which revealed the presence of soil minerals such as silicon, calcium, and iron. This discovery supported the supposition that the phenomenon is composed after lightning strikes the ground, creating a floating silicon sphere in the air.


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