On the night of December 31, 2013, heavy showers passed through Parkstone, Poole, a seaport town in Dorset, UK. But the New Year’s Eve rain would bring more than just wet weather conditions to the English suburb.
An hour before the stroke of midnight, a local resident spots something anomalous overhead. The unnamed man, who managed to capture the phenomena on CCTV, described the object as “a ball of white light,” distinctly classifying it as “not a lantern.” The radiant object passes swiftly through town at a relatively low altitude, casting considerable light upon the gardens and rooftops below before disappearing out of view. The unusual sighting caused much speculation among townspeople after the story was covered in the local paper the following morning.
While still uncertain, many have theorized that Parkstone’s aerial outlier fits the bill of a rare weather phenomena known as ball lightning. The infrequent nature of the weather effect has only allowed for a shallow scientific understanding, outside of what has been reported by previous eyewitness accounts. Most recently, researchers have linked the formation of ball lightning to the vaporization of silicon oxide in the dirt of ground lightning strikes.
Commonalities between past and present ball lightning sightings seem to support the idea of a positive match to what was witnessed above Parkstone, bringing us one step closer in understanding what actually happened on that stormy night.