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A strange phenomenon seen during storms formed by Hurricane Italia

A strange phenomenon seen during storms formed by Hurricane Italia

During his voyages, Christopher Columbus saw the mighty “St. Elmo’s Fire” in the night sky during a storm.

He thought too Charles Darwin On a “cold and green” trip near the Río de la Plata: “The lightning was very clear, the rain heavy and the wind blowing,” he noted in his diary.

“Everything burns, the sky with lightning, the water with glowing particles, and even the masts are seen with blue flame,” continued the naturalist.

The two researchers were talking about a Atmospheric phenomenon Various factors combine to produce an impressive electromagnetic discharge It is usually interpreted as lightning, although it is not about that.

This scene was witnessed by the pilots of the US Air Force aircraft who were hunting this Tuesday as well. Cyclone Italia As they approach the coast of northwest Florida.

“St. Elmo’s Fire” spotted off Florida coast during storm surge from Hurricane Italia

As it has been named for centuries “St. Elmo’s Fire”In honor of the Saint of Sailors (in English it is called St. Elmo’s Fireby San Erasmo de Formia), sailors of antiquity claim to have seen it at night on the high seas.

As described by Darwin, he was seen Light from the top of the masts of boats.

Centuries later, atmospheric scientists provided an explanation for this phenomenon It is produced by “radical accumulation of electric charge”.The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains. (NOAA, its abbreviation in English).

“When a sharp object (such as a ship’s mast) interacts with an unusually high electric field and a large number of electrons, Electrons glow in different colorslike a neon sign, resulting in this rare event,” says NOAA.

The electric field will change the air molecules Electrically charged particles or “plasma”, which emits a glowing light. The result is a discharge, not like a typical thunderstorm, but plasma.

Nowadays merchant ships no longer use the old masts. But some shaped parts, including lightning rods, can pick up this energy.

Further Wings of airplanes Although this poses no danger to passengers sheltering inside, they are exposed.

A similar glow can be created in a laboratory.

But it has fascinated sailors — and now pilots — for centuries A glow develops on stormy nights Above the sea, the darkness is very deep.

BBC News World

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