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 re-creating it synthetically has been a daunting feat, accomplished by only a few research teams after Nikola Tesla managed to first manifest spherical charges in the lab in 1904.

More...Scientists accidentally record ball lightning in nature for first time

NASA image of a galaxy cluster with a massive black hole in the center

 

One of the most powerful things in the universe wears a sparkly purple coat. Well, at least it looks that way in this image combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. This is an image of the galaxy cluster RX J1532.9+3021 (Nice to meet you; my name's Francie).  At the cluster's center is one of the most powerful black holes astronomers have ever found. The black hole is surrounded by hot gas, which appears here in purple.

More...Big Pic: An Ultramassive Black Hole