Ball lightning is one of the most mysterious and difficult to explain natural phenomena. He appeared during the storm, flew through the air, passed through walls and windows, and then disappeared without a trace. Some witnesses claim to have seen it the size of a soccer ball, others the size of a grapefruit or even a pea. Its color and shape are also very diverse: from yellow to red, from round to oval. It can be hot or cold, silent or noisy, harmless or deadly. But what is it really?
Scientists have long doubted the existence of ball lightning, considering it a product of imagination or optical illusion. However, in recent decades, evidence of its reality has emerged, such as photos, videos and measurements. However, there is still no widely accepted theory that can fully explain the nature and origin of this phenomenon. There are many hypotheses, but none can satisfy all the conditions. According to some scientists, ball lightning is electromagnetic radiation caused by electrical discharges between clouds and the ground. Others suggest that it is formed from plasma bubbles containing charged particles and gases. There are also more exotic propositions, such as that ball lightning is a miniature black hole formed in the Big Bang, or that it is related to the fifth dimension of space.
One of the newest and most unique ideas comes from theoretical physicist Andrea Aiello of the Max Planck Institute for Light in Germany. He suggested that ball lightning is the projection of a four-dimensional object onto our three-dimensional space. Such an object could be similar to a hypercube – a four-dimensional analogue of a cube. A hypercube can be thought of as two cubes connected at all edges. If we look at a hypercube from a certain angle, we see it as a cube within a cube. And if we rotate it so that one of its corners is facing us, we will see that it resembles a ball.
Aiello imagined a four-dimensional spherical object in the fourth dimension. He calls it super glossy. Superballs can be created by electric fields during thunderstorms. When a superball passes through our three-dimensional space, we see it as ball lightning. This explains its ability to overcome obstacles and disappear without a trace. Aiello also predicted that ball lightning can change size and shape depending on the angle from which it is viewed.
Of course, this is just a hypothesis that needs further research and experimental verification. But it demonstrates how creative and unconventional scientific thinking can be.