Ball lightning, a very rare and one of the most fascinating types of lightning, has been recorded in Bergamo, Italy around 01:30 CET on July 14, 2017 during severe storms.
Immediately after the strong pulsing glow came a very strong smell of sulfur, a common trait with ball lightning reports. There were no signs of fire the following morning and this occurred some 2 - 3 meters (6.5 - 9.8 feet) above the tree tops on a hillside in front of the observers home," EU Storm Map reports.
"We receive only 1 to 2 ball lightning reports per year in Europe and this is the 2nd one we have seen in 2017," the report said.
Video courtesy Patrizia Lapatty Bersani via EUStormMap
Ball lightning is still an unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon. The term refers to reports of luminous, spherical objects that vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter. Though usually associated with thunderstorms, the phenomenon lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt. Many early reports claim that the ball eventually explodes, sometimes with fatal consequences, leaving behind the odor of sulfur.
Until the 1960s, most scientists treated reports of ball lightning skeptically, despite numerous accounts from around the world. Laboratory experiments can produce effects that are visually similar to reports of ball lightning, but how these relate to the natural phenomenon remains unclear.
Scientific data on natural ball lightning are scarce, owing to its infrequency and unpredictability. The presumption of its existence depends on reported public sightings, and has therefore produced somewhat inconsistent findings. Owing to inconsistencies and to the lack of reliable data, the true nature of ball lightning remains unknown.
Read more: Rare phenomenon caught on camera: 'Ball lightning' in Novosibirsk - July 18, 2016
Featured image: Ball lightning in Bergamo, Italy on July 14, 2017. Credit: Patrizia Lapatty Bersani via EU Storm Map