According to folklore, after seeing a lightning flash, you should count the number of seconds that pass before you hear the thunder.
What does red sky in morning mean? Weather superstitions explained
Thus, for every five seconds between lightning and thunder, the sound travels 5, feet, or roughly a mile. Follow The Sun. Your Sun Sign in. News Corp WSJ. Sign in. All Fabulous. Sarah Barns. Red rainfalls typically lasted less than 20 minutes. A small percentage of particles were white or had light yellow, bluish grey and green tints.
Electron microscope images showed the particles as having a depressed centre. At still higher magnification some particles showed internal structures. The pH of the water was found to be around 7 neutral. The electrical conductivity of the rainwater showed the absence of any dissolved salts. Sediment red particles plus debris was collected and analysed by the CESS using a combination of ion-coupled plasma mass spectrometry , atomic absorption spectrometry and wet chemical methods.
The major elements found are listed below. Physicists Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar of the Mahatma Gandhi University , Kerala, used energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis of the red solid and showed that the particles were composed of mostly carbon and oxygen, with trace amounts of silicon and iron. Thomas Brenna in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University conducted carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses using a scanning electron microscope with X-ray micro-analysis, an elemental analyser, and an isotope ratio IR mass spectrometer.
The red particles collapsed when dried, which suggested that they were filled with fluid. The results were consistent with a marine origin or a terrestrial plant that uses a C4 photosynthetic pathway. A few days later, following a basic light microscopy evaluation, the CESS retracted this as they noticed the particles resembled spores,    and because debris from a meteor would not have continued to fall from the stratosphere onto the same area while unaffected by wind.
A sample was, therefore, handed over to the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute TBGRI for microbiological studies, where the spores were allowed to grow in a medium suitable for growth of algae and fungi. The inoculated Petri dishes and conical flasks were incubated for three to seven days and the cultures were observed under a microscope. The colour was found to be due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen -forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia.
Field verification showed that the region had plenty of such lichens. Samples of lichen taken from Changanacherry area, when cultured in an algal growth medium, also showed the presence of the same species of algae. Both samples from rainwater and from trees produced the same kind of algae, indicating that the spores seen in the rainwater most probably came from local sources. The site was again visited on 16 August and it was found that almost all the trees, rocks and even lamp posts in the region were covered with Trentepohlia estimated to be in sufficient amounts to generate the quantity of spores seen in the rainwater.
A lichen is not a single organism, but the result of a partnership symbiosis between a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium.
What does red sky in morning mean? Weather superstitions explained
The report also stated that there was no meteoric, volcanic or desert dust origin present in the rainwater and that its colour was not due to any dissolved gases or pollutants. However, for these lichen to release their spores simultaneously, it is necessary for them to enter their reproductive phase at about the same time. The CESS report noted that while this may be a possibility, it is quite improbable.
CESS scientists noted that "While the cause of the colour in the rainfall has been identified, finding the answers to these questions is a challenge. In February , a team of scientists from India and Austria, also supported the identification of the algal spores as Trentepohlia annulata , however, they speculate that the spores from the incident were carried by winds from Europe to the Indian subcontinent. History records many instances of unusual objects falling with the rain — in , in an example of raining animals , a small waterspout in the North Sea sucked up a school of fish a mile off shore, depositing them shortly afterwards on Great Yarmouth in the United Kingdom.
At first, the red rain in Kerala was attributed to the same effect, with dust from the deserts of Arabia initially the suspect. Sasidharan Pillai, a senior scientific assistant in the Indian Meteorological Department, proposed dust and acidic material from an eruption of Mayon Volcano in the Philippines as an explanation for the coloured rain and the "burnt" leaves. This hypothesis was also ruled out as the particles were neither acidic nor of volcanic origin, but were spores. But not always strongly. Sometimes the fall of red rain seems to have occurred after an air-burst, as from a meteor exploding in air; other times the odd rainfall is merely recorded in the same year as the appearance of a comet.
July through September
In Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar, physicists at the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam , Kerala, posted an article entitled "Cometary panspermia explains the red rain of Kerala"  in the non- peer reviewed arXiv web site. While the CESS report said there was no apparent relationship between the loud sound possibly a sonic boom and flash of light which preceded the red rain, to Louis and Kumar it was a key piece of evidence. They proposed that a meteor from a comet containing the red particles caused the sound and flash and when it disintegrated over Kerala it released the red particles which slowly fell to the ground.
However, they omitted an explanation on how debris from a meteor continued to fall in the same area over a period of two months while unaffected by winds. Their work indicated that the particles were of biological origin consistent with the CESS report , however, they invoked the panspermia hypothesis to explain the presence of cells in a supposed fall of meteoric material.
Two months later they posted another paper on the same web site entitled "New biology of red rain extremophiles prove cometary panspermia"  in which they reported that. These claims and data have yet to be verified and reported in any peer reviewed publication. In Louis and Kumar published a paper in Astrophysics and Space Science entitled "The red rain phenomenon of Kerala and its possible extraterrestrial origin"  which reiterated their arguments that the red rain was biological matter from an extraterrestrial source but made no mention of their previous claims to having induced the cells to grow.
The team also observed the cells using phase contrast fluorescence microscopy, and they concluded that: "The fluorescence behaviour of the red cells is shown to be in remarkable correspondence with the extended red emission observed in the Red Rectangle Nebula and other galactic and extragalactic dust clouds , suggesting, though not proving an extraterrestrial origin. In August Louis and Kumar again presented their case in an astrobiology conference.
The red cells found in the red rain in Kerala, India are now considered as a possible case of extraterrestrial life form. They can also be cultured in diverse unconventional chemical substrates. The molecular composition of these cells is yet to be identified.
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Researcher Chandra Wickramasinghe used Louis and Kumar's "extraterrestrial origin" claim to further support his panspermia hypothesis called cosmic ancestry. Cosmic ancestry speculates that higher life forms, including intelligent life, descend ultimately from pre-existing life which was at least as advanced as the descendants. Louis and Kumar made their first publication of their finding on a web site in , and have presented papers at conferences and in astrophysics magazines a number of times since.
The controversial conclusion of Louis et al. The hypothesis' authors — G. Louis and Kumar — did not explain how debris from a meteor could have continued to fall on the same area over a period of two months, despite the changes in climatic conditions and wind pattern spanning over two months. Louis then incorrectly reported on 29 August in the non-peer reviewed online physics archive "arxiv.
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Regarding the "absence" of DNA, Louis admits he has no training in biology,   and has not reported the use of any standard microbiology growth medium to culture and induce germination and growth of the spores, basing his claim of "biological growth" on light absorption measurements following aggregation by supercritical fluids ,  an inert physical observation. Both his collaborators, Wickramasinghe  and Milton Wainwright  independently extracted and confirmed the presence of DNA from the spores. The absence of DNA was key to Louis and Kumar's hypothesis that the cells were of extraterrestrial origins.
Louis' only reported attempt to stain the spores' DNA was by the use of malachite green , which is generally used to stain bacterial endospores, not algal spores,  whose primary function of their cell wall and their impermeability is to ensure its own survival through periods of environmental stress.
They are therefore resistant to ultraviolet and gamma radiation , desiccation , lysozyme , temperature, starvation and chemical disinfectants. Visualizing algal spore DNA under a light microscope can be difficult due to the impermeability of the highly resistant spore wall to dyes and stains used in normal staining procedures. The spores' DNA is tightly packed, encapsulated and desiccated, therefore, the spores must first be cultured in suitable growth medium and temperature to first induce germination , then cell growth followed by reproduction before staining the DNA.
Other researchers have noted recurring instances of red rainfalls in , , , , , and  and several times since then. A typical day would have you wake up to warm sunny mornings becoming hot by afternoon with a few afternoon thundershowers especially over western Grand Cayman. Occasional surges of cooler air from continental North America, the leading edge of which is called a cold front is the main winter system affecting the Cayman Islands from late October through early April.
These systems are the major producers of rainfall during the winter months although precipitation is not quite as long lasting or of the same amounts as with summertime systems. Perturbations in the easterlies or tropical waves are the main summer systems affecting the Cayman Islands from late May through November. During these months the systems move through the Cayman area roughly every four to five days but can all but disappear for a few weeks.
The stronger of these systems tend to bring a day or two of cloudiness, heavy showers and thundershowers during their passage and strong southeast winds after their passage.