[July 2003] Bouncing balls of light after a lightning storm have been reported for centuries, but only since about the 1960's have scientists started to carefully study them and discover that, not only are they real and not fictions of folklore, but they are very hard to understand. A Google search turns up over 18,000 pages, many of them are legitimate discussions of the scientific issues. There have been international scientific symposia devoted to this subject, and numerous technical articles published over the last 40 years.

Researchers tend to agree that an aerosol, a suspension of fine particles in air, is present in the balls. The particles react chemically and interact electromagnetically. Some of the theorists, however, picture a radiant network of filaments-a "fluff ball of fire," as one scientist described it. Another contends that the aerosol is an acid mist and that it encloses a gaseous, hot core of reactive chemicals. In all the models, the aerosol's action is critical in explaining the litany of often astonishing eyewitness accounts.

Science News published an article about ball lightning in their February 9, 2002 issue.

Bill Beaty has what appears to be an excellent page of links to ball lightning web sites. I don't wish to compete with folks that seem to have the spare time and energy to assemble such resources, so I'm not going to attempt to put one together here.