Scientists accidentally record ball lightning in nature for first time

An instance of ball lightning recreated in the lab last year by a team at the US Air Force Academy

(Credit: Mike Lindsay/US Air Force Academy)

Ball lightning, a phenomenon in which a glowing orb of light persists for seconds after a lightning strike, is one of the most enduring atmospheric mysteries in science. Reported sightings date as far back as ancient Greece; an occurrence of ball lightning is rumored to have killed 18th century scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann; and recreating it synthetically has been a daunting feat, accomplished by only a few research teams after Nicolas Tesla managed to first manifest spherical charges in the lab in 1904.

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