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Siberian Scientists Showcase Rare Dancing Beam Phenomenon

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Scientists from the Institute of Atmospheric Optics in Tomsk have explained why the so-called “dancing beam” appears in the sky over the US state of Florida.

According to D. Alexander Konoshonkin, a researcher at the institute, this phenomenon can be seen when an electrical charge accumulates in a cumulonimbus cloud, which is insufficient to discharge it into lightning.

said Dr. Alexander Konoshonkin, head of the Electromagnetic Wave Scattering Laboratory: “A rare natural phenomenon called the “dancing ray” photographed in the sky over Florida occurs because an electrical charge that has failed in a lightning discharge causes ice crystals to form the only mirror.

He explained that a “dancing beam” is formed when an electric charge builds up in a cumulonimbus cloud that is not enough to discharge it into lightning. And if at that moment there was a gray cloud above the mound, the ice crystals lined up and shone like a single mirror, just like in a solar column. And since the charge in the cloud moves quickly, the crystals then change direction, and it seems to the person watching them that a beam of light is moving through the cloud.

According to the Russian scientist, such a phenomenon was first described in 1885 in the monthly scientific journal Weather Review, and was also mentioned in the journal Nature in 1971, where it was called the Corona Flare. It is rarely possible to observe such a phenomenon from the Earth’s surface, because the cumulonimbus cloud itself, as a rule, interferes with its observation. And what happened in Florida is a rare phenomenon that formed at the edge of a cloud, so the audience was able to catch it.

He added that scientists from Tomsk can now explain this rare phenomenon, given that their institute studies the scattering of light rays by atmospheric particles, taking into account their predominant orientation, and not chaotic (random), as is the case outside of Russia.

Currently, scientists are creating a large database that allows not only to describe such rare natural phenomena, but also to help solve important problems related to laser sounding of the atmosphere and climate modeling.

Source: TASS

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