Another speaker at the July 2014, Paris, GEIPAN meeting (click here) was astrophysicist Massimo Teodorani (click here.) He presented a paper titled "Instrumented Monitoring of Aerial Anomalies: A Scientific Approach to the Investigation of Anomalous Atmospheric Light Phenomena." I will provide my summary of his paper.
In his introduction, Teodorani notes that sightings of anomalous lights occur in several locations on earth. These lights exhibit no solid structure, or surface, However, they do appear as very bright, spheres, with "...peculiar characteristics in its structure, motion, and luminosity/colour variations."
From work Teodorani himself has conducted, he suggest that "...it can be concluded that such kind of anomalies are subject to no real increase in time..." with apparent increases over the years being judged due to the increased media attention, increased Internet exposure and increased cell phone availability.
In terms of spatial distribution, his work leads him to state that numbers of reports are "...totally dependent on the population number...." Thus some apparent areas with high numbers of reports may be due solely to the population of that area, and not an inherent concentration of lights in that area. Thus some areas known for frequent observations may not actually be special. However, some locations do indeed have an above average number of lights, eg. Hessdalen valley, Norway.
Monitoring investigations in Italy:
A number of research groups in Italy are engaged in monitoring anomalous light phenomenon in recent years. However, "...no real scientific results and/or conclusions have been obtained so far, except for a quite accurate correlation of reported cases with geological or geophysical parameters." He illustrates this section, with several photographs of such observations.
Scientific observations in Hessdalen Valley:
A permanent measuring station has been in existence for some time and has provided visual observations, photographs, videos and occasionally, instrumented measurements.
Research there has provided some information, including:
1. The lights seen are often spherical, of different colours, often of long duration (30-60 minutes), "spaced out by periods of "off" and "on" phases..."
2. "They are often able to emit a high level of radiant energy ...on the order of 20Kw in the optical spectrum..."
3. "The very few optical spectra...do not show a 'unified pattern' (such as that of a star)..."
4. "Quite often the light phenomenon present a radar track."
The main problem for "light balls":
"One way to attack the physics of the problem...can, in principle, be quantified by considering an essential set of equations, which do not differ substantially from the ones used in stellar physics..."
He presents a set of equations "...that define the 'plasma sphere structure,' after assuming that a plasma sphere can be considered as a sort of 'mini star...' '
Methodology of research:
The author admits that this research is difficult. The appearance of light balls is unpredictable. "We now have only a preliminary scientific picture of the phenomenon. But we do not have yet any definitive and clear explanation of the enigma of the self-containment of such light balls..."
"Of course the only way to solve the still open physical problems in this field is to have the possibility to carry out a systematic and very well funded research, so that recurrence areas can be monitored constantly using both scientific personnel on field and automatic measuring equipment." Teodorani details several thoughts on just what would be needed.
Understanding the mechanism by which these light balls are generated might lead to laboratory reproduction and hence a possible new energy source.
To read the full paper in English, click here. For his slide presentation, click here. To view a video of his talk, click here.