In the film "St. Elmo's Fire" what was St. Elmo's fire?
#58470. Asked by RaeRae55. (Jul 22 05 5:19 PM)
St. Elmo's fire is a plasma (i.e. a hot, ionized gas) that forms arounds the tips of raised, pointed conductors during thunderstorms. It is known as a corona discharge or point discharge to physicists. The few people that have had the privilege of viewing an actual St. Elmo's fire have given various descriptions. It has been seen with different physical characteristics depending on the conditions of the viewing. It could be blue to bluish-white, silent to emitting a hissing sound, and ghostly to solid. Some people belive that the Hindenburg was ignited by St. Elmo's fire in 1937, however this theory has yet to be proven.|
The title and subsequent song come from a quote at the climax of the movie: "It's St. Elmo's Fire. Electric flashes of light that appear in dark skies out of nowhere. Sailors would guide entire journeys by it, but the joke was on them... there was no fire. There wasn't even a St. Elmo. They made it up. They made it up because they thought they needed it to keep them going when times got tough, just like you're making up all of this. We're all going through this. It's our time at the edge." Unfortunately this quote is erroneous in just above every aspect.
St. Elmo's fire is a real, documented phenomenon
St. Elmo's fire didn't appear in the sky, rather it gathered around the masts of the ship. Thus making it impossible to chart a course by.
St. Elmo was a nickname for Saint Erasmus of Formiae, the patron saint of sailors; a very real person.
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