Ball lightning on a church spire, 1850

Ball lightning on a church spire, 1850

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ball lightning on a church spire. This artwork dates from 1850. The phenomenon seen here was referred to in the accompanying caption as a 'splendid meteor' (possibly a small meteor shower). However, the term 'meteor' may be being used in its older sense of any phenomenon in the atmosphere. If so, this is more likely to be a form of electrical discharge, such as ball lightning or St Elmo's fire, forming around the metal cross on top of the church spire. Both these phenomena are electrical discharges that form the glowing sparks and luminous sphere seen here. This church is located in Painswick, Gloucestershire, England.

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Keywords: 1800s, 1850, 19th century, artwork, atmosphere, atmospheric, ball lightning, black-and-white, britain, british, building, church spire, cross, electric, electrical, electrical discharge, england, english, europe, european, gloucestershire, glowing, historical, history, history of science, illustration, luminous sphere, meteor shower, meteorological, meteorology, monochrome, painswick, phenomena, phenomenon, physical, physics, religion, religious, sparking, splendid meteor, st elmo's fire, uk, united kingdom, weather

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