When a streamer terminates in the air, current flowing through it flows
through capacitance between the streamer and ground. I have seen this
effect before, while playing with homebrew Tesla coils.
One effect that is my usual experience with solid state Tesla coils
(ones oscillating continuously, especially) is that I get very intense
corona. The capacitance between the corona and ground (or between corona
on a nearby grounded point and the coil) is sufficient to pass current of
a significant fraction of a milliamp to even milliamps. I was able to
ignite paper with that intense corona. In some situations, current
flowing through this corona concentrates into streamers.
One thing I noticed in the video was that streamers going nowhere were
not as bright as sparks that were hitting something.
- Don Klipstein ([email protected]