Earth photos

Fires of San Telmo. Earth's atmosphere

Fires of San Telmo. Earth's atmosphere

Among the electrical phenomena that occur in the Earth's atmosphere, the Fire of San Telmo is one of the most difficult to see. The Fires of San Telmo, in reality, are not any kind of fire. It is a kind of plasma that is caused by static electricity in the atmosphere. It could be said that it is a discharge of light similar to the sparks produced by metallic or pointed objects during a great storm.

The Fire of San Telmo is a kind of flare caused by the ionization of the air within the electric field caused by the storms. The ionized air gives off a violet blue light characteristic of this peculiar phenomenon. This is the case of the mysterious fire on the water of our image, which was held in a lake in Finland.

The romantic name of Fuego de San Telmo comes from the ancient sailors. They were used to seeing those small flares, which they did not burn, on the masts of their ships. They related this phenomenon with a kind of protection, during heavy storms, by their employer, San Telmo.

Charles Darwin himself was very impressed with these mysterious fires while navigating the River Plate, and any passenger can see them, with a bit of luck, on the nose of the planes in flight. In fact, a San Telmo Fire was responsible for the accident suffered by the Hindenburg zeppelin in New Jersey on May 6, 1937, in which 36 people died.

◄ PreviousNext ►
Strata BanksCrepuscular rays
Album: Photos of the Earth and the Moon Gallery: Atmosphere of the Earth