Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Ball Lightning


ONE of the difficulties about ball lightning is to explain the relatively large and stable diameter of the balls which would appear to be around 10–20 cm1, which is large relative to the dimensions of the main high-temperature and high current-carrying regions of these high-current discharges at atmospheric pressure. The purpose of this communication is to suggest that the lightning channel may, so to speak, ‘spring a leak’ at a ‘joint’, and allow an escape from it of the jet of hot gas which flows along it2, because of the decrease in current and current density in the return stroke from ground to cloud3.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Singer, S., Nature, 198, 745 (1963).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Bruce, C. E. R., in Recent Advances in Atmospheric Electricity, edit. by Smith, L. G., 461 (Pergamon Press, 1959).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bruce, C. E. R., Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 183, 228 (1944).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Bruce, C. E. R., and Golde, R. H., J. Inst. Elec. Eng., 88, 487 (1941).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

BRUCE, C. Ball Lightning. Nature 202, 996–997 (1964).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing