It's Still 2 Metres, so Now What?

High Voltage Rain

Pylon and cows in rain

The Monday Photo

It was a grey wet day, and as I took this picture, I could hear the high voltage power lines crackling above me. It’s an electrical effect known as a Corona Discharge.

What I could hear was the sound of the air breaking down electrically, and moisture in the air helps to speed the effect. Sometimes you can hear this crackling it’s snowing, or when there’s a heavy fog.

If you are very lucky when you hear it, you can see the blue luminous “crown” of tiny sparks that gives this breakdown its name; “corona” is Latin for crown.

But when I took this photo, the heavy rain stopped me from seeing anything very clearly; it could have been happening right above me and I’d never have known.

The higher the voltage in the wire the more likely is the discharge to occur, and this pylon near Winslow carries 400,000 volts, nearly 1,700 times the mains voltage in your home.

This huge voltage doesn’t seem to bother the cows, grazing under the lines at the far side of the field. They are just getting on with it.

There’s been research on whether cattle, and also some deer, behave differently under these lines. There’s supposed to be a magnetic effect. But the four articles I read, all about the same piece of research, contradicted each other.

I couldn’t make any sense out of it, but what do you think?

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