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ZetaTalk: Ball Lightning
Note: written during the 2001 sci.astro debates.

Man is aware of electricity primarily from his experiences with lightning and the tiny lightning, arcs, that occur from static electricity. Were it not that lightning, in its many forms, pressed itself on mankind, experiments with electricity would not have proceeded. Man wished to harness its light-giving qualities, and the widely used light-bulb is the result. But there are some 387 discrete sub-atomic particles composing what man understands to be the flow of electrons or a magnetic field. Each operates differently, but most are not so obvious as the electron, the stage-master throwing lightning bolts at the audience. What are some of the other components of electricity and magnetism, some of the other sub-atomic particles, and how do they cause ball lightning?

Anti-Gravity Effect
As we have explained, there is a sub-atomic particle responsible for the magnetic behavior of certain metals like iron. This flows from and through those atoms that have an uneven distribution of electrons circling around the core, so the field develops around a single atom but the flow of this particle causes them all to line up in liquid iron so as a group they have a field where the flow of particles leaves one end of the field and warps around to the place where they are least, Nature abhorring a vacuum of any type. This type of flow can raise high speed trains on a rail, as in what is termed Magnetic Levitation, so it could certainly float eggs or humans during the phenomenon known as ball lightning. The question that begs to be answered is - why do the magnetic particles hang around, and not disperse, as they apparently do under other circumstances. After all, electro-magnetic motors are in common use and a single report of levitation has yet to be recorded.
Ball Formation
Mankind is aware of the brief distances and the intense electron press required to support arcs such as arc welding or carbon arc lamps. They are aware of the distance that lightning, representing a buildup of electrons in the atmosphere, can move. In general this is at most for a distance along the horizon but most often simply downward to a discharge point. In fact, this is only the visible lightning, and arcs can and do occur over longer distances and with less electron press than presumed, but this type of activity is not showy and thus escapes mankind’s notice. But ball lighting hangs together, is not moving, it would seem, from a high charge to a lesser charge, the normal distribution of electrons that is so familiar and runs all manner of handy appliances. Consider that an electrically charged field may be immense, covering the horizon that can be seem from end to end, and rising for miles up into the sky. Consider that within this charged field, there are not simply electrons and the particle that creates the phenomenon of magnetism, but all the other 387 particles that operate in a similar manner, each with its own desire to equalize its distribution in the vicinity. Ball formation occurs when the particles that would disperse are forced to remain in the vicinity by a greater pressure from other particles surrounding them.
Light Suppression
Light bends, as anyone looking at their feet while standing in water is acutely aware. Light particles are quick, and are used by Nature as the basis of sight because most of them escape and go in a straight line, but they are not so quick as to escape influence. In Black Holes, so few escape that the hole is identified by their absence. Gravity is assumed to be the shackle holding them, but in fact there is a phenomena of light that a mass of these particles in and of itself is the draw that pulls nearby light particles into itself. Then why does light seem to move in a straight line, from heat and light and electricity generating situations? They bolt, do they not? From stars and explosions and fire, they are on the run, or so it would seem. Light particles as many other particles types form waves because of a constant attraction/repulsion dance they assume with each other. They run from and yet run toward each other, always wanting homogeneity of their quality but never able to achieve this. The dance that particles form in this effort is the wave identified as a light wave. So why does light move long distances, then, during this dance? Momentum from an explosion of other particles has put them on the move. But in ball lightning, where an immense area is affecting particle equalization, these other particles cannot disperse, or explode, as they might otherwise. It is a delayed explosion, so the light being generated within the ball can do what it normally does - clump!
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