St. Elmo's Fireworks

in Proof of Brain7 months ago

St. Elmo's Fireworks


In my posts I have talked about many particularly luminous natural phenomena, such as will-o'-the-wisps, pillars of light, green flashes, different rare types of rainbows and lightning, and now St. Elmo's fires, but this is the only phenomenon that you can touch and smell and we can replicate it too.

If you have ever shaken hands with someone, and a spark has jumped, you have experienced this phenomenon; The fires of San Telmo is a well-known phenomenon since ancient times, especially in seafaring towns, its name comes from Erasmus of Formia, also known as San Telmo who was the patron saint of Navigators.

The phenomenon appeared as purple flames or electrical discharges that emanated from practically all charged objects, including airplanes brushing against clouds; this phenomenon is also seen in the pointed parts of the ships, such as the tips of the masts, the old sailboats were full of them and for some reason the Sailors saw this and were not scared, in fact, they believed it was San Telmo protecting them from bad weather.

Saint Elmo's fireworks on airplane windshields

Charles Darwin wrote about the Saint Elmo games in his diary about the trip aboard the Beagle ship, around the world, "everything is on fire, the sky with Lightning, the water with luminous particles (he was referring to fluorescent algae) and even the ship's masts have blue flames; Darwin called them flames because in 1832 he didn't know a better word, but now we call them corona discharges and with a tesla coil you can replicate it.

We must also be careful with anything that produces high voltages, especially if you have a pacemaker, even a tiny tesla coil can cause injuries if not used properly and in the best of cases it will break down the electronic devices that are nearby due to the electric field. that generates a large tesla coil, it can stop your heart, I do not recommend it.

Image created by me in playgroundai

Corona discharges or San Telmo games occur when there is a very large electrical potential difference between two objects, in this case between the coil electrode and the finger, there is a voltage difference and in the case of what Darwin saw there was a much bigger difference in voltage between the clouds and the ship, there are too many electrons accumulating on the electrode or in the storm clouds and they want to escape, since electrons have a negative charge they don't like to be crowded together because opposite poles attract and poles the same repel each other.

So they start to jump into the air to escape that crowding, the electrons accumulate more on sharp surfaces, that's why that's where they start to jump from first, by jumping they are electrically charging the air that surrounds the object, and when the mast of the ship approaches that electric field created by the electrons that escaped, they begin to attract them.

As the electrons have a very small mass, they weigh practically nothing, this attraction accelerates them so much that, when they cross the air, they heat it up, when they collide with the air molecules, that is, the oxygen and nitrogen that form it, ionize it, this produces a chain reaction where electrons collide with air molecules and in doing so expel more electrons that collide with other molecules and so on and in the process create photons or light that are those tenuous twigs of light.

That is the reason why we should not walk with an umbrella in stormy weather.


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