Strange Spark Phenomena

From:  Malcolm Watts [SMTP:MALCOLM-at-directorate.wnp.ac.nz]
Sent:  Thursday, January 29, 1998 2:54 PM
To:  Tesla List
Subject:  Re: Strange Spark Phenomena

Hi Gary,

> From:  gweaver [SMTP:gweaver-at-earthlink-dot-net]
> Sent:  Wednesday, January 28, 1998 11:09 AM
> To:  Tesla-at-pupman-dot-com
> Subject:  Strange Spark Phenomena
> I fired up my tiny 1.5" TC today.  I changed the sphere from 2" to 4".
> Changed the cap from .0014 uf to .005 uf.  Changed the spark gap from 4 gaps
> .025 each to 3 gaps .025 each.  Moved primary tap from turn 5 to turn 3.
> Spark output increased from 3" to 6".  The power supply is a furnace
> ignition transformer 6K 20 ma.  120 watts.
> The output spark is strange.  I have seen this phenomena before but haven't
> thought much about it until now.  The first 2" of the output spark is very
> thin, the next 2" are very hot, thick and blue, the last 2" are very thin
> like the first 2".   How can a spark that is all one continuous spark be
> made up of 3 sections?  How can the center 2" of the spark be hotter and
> thicker than the ends of the same spark?
> Gary Weaver

I too have noted this on a number of occasions with a lot of 
different systems (easy to see at low power). My reading of it is 
that a streamer issues from the terminal and a close enough object
(either simultaneously or when the terminal leader gets close enough 
to the target (cf. lightning)) and the two meet in the middle where, 
presumably, the highest concentration of energy is. Any 
advance/correction to this anyone?