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Posted by on Dec 27, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is Saint Elmo’s Fire?

What Is Saint Elmo’s Fire?

Saint Elmo’s fire is the name given to the glow of light that is sometimes seen on ship masts, airplane wings and church steeples during a thunderstorm. It is actually a charge of electricity caused by the storm.

Saint Elmo’s fire is a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a corona discharge from a sharp or pointed object in a strong electric field in the atmosphere.

The electricity discharges into the air in a harmless flash of light that looks like fire as it flickers on a ship’s tall masts. “Saint Elmo” is the nickname of Saint Erasmus of Formia, who was considered the patron saint of Mediterranean sailors.

Sailors considered St. Elmo’s fire as a good omen. They believed that the ghostly light was a sign that the saint was watching over their ships and protecting them during storms.

Content for this question contributed by Tim Host, resident of Manchaca, Travis County, Texas, USA