This section explains in a qualitative -- not quantitative -- fashion why there are different decay modes and what the different decay modes are. I believe these decay modes will eventually be systematically modeled in a quantitative fashion on super-computers.
On the surface of a harmonic ball-of-light -- such as a electron or proton -- are patches of electric and magnetic fields. These patches must be equally sized and have no relative motion in order for the ball-of-light to be harmonic. The patches of magnetic fields do not have to be exactly the same size as the patches of electric fields. I believe there is a common discrepancy in size between the electric and magnetic and this is what creates "charge."
This "discrepancy" is a natural result of trying to split the surface of a sphere up into alternating patches of electric and magnetic where each patch is exactly the same size and shape -- with the added restriction that there would be perfect alternation with no two patches of electric being adjacent to electric or magnetic being adjacent to magnetic.
Examples of harmonic patches in a two dimensional plane are:
Examples of nonharmonic patches in a two dimensional plane are:
Examples of harmonic patches on a sphere are:
(This graphic is not exactly what I want here because the areas of the patches are unequal.)
On the surface of a proton, there are probably thousands of patches of electric and magnetic fields! These fields probably are equal in number and probably alternate in perfect order, but there is probably a slight size difference favoring the magnetic which gives the particle its overall positive charge. This difference might be manifested in the shapes of the magnetic patches versus the electric patches, or there might simply be one more magnetic patch than electric patch.
Example of potentially harmonic patches with different shapes in a two-dimensional plane are:
Graphic of circles on plane
When balls-of-light decay, they can decay in a number of fundamental modes. Three key details that influence how a ball-of-light decays are:
For example, one large asymmetrical patch of an electric or magnetic field on the surface of a ball-of-light would act completely different from many small asymmetrical patches. Or, if one patch or a series of patches were given a high velocity, say around the equator of the ball-of-light, this would act differently than a group of patches equally spaced with little or no relative velocity.
Always remember, the "patches" are merely the "additive or subtractive intersections of waves" of electric and magnetic fields. There is no one type of patch that is "correct." There is practically no limit to the number of ways the waves may intersect and superimpose on each other.
This decay mode is very common in particles that are almost completely harmonic, such as the cores of spherical galaxies and stars. The electric and magnetic fields are evenly distributed over the surface of the sphere. In general, any asymmetries are equally spaced. The patches of asymmetries are relatively small compared to the size of the ball-of-light. The induced decay particles -- the "babies" -- are magnitudes smaller than the parent ball-of-light. Examples include: some quasars, elliptical galaxies, the sun, most stars, some types of ball lightning.
This decay mode is less common than the fizzle. However, it can be spectacular. It can be best visualized as a series of asymmetrical patches of either electric or magnetic or both spinning around the equator of the ball-of-light.
Graphic of patches spinning around a sphere
The velocity of the patches accelerates -- initiated by an external force -- causing the particle to be pinched splitting it into two primary components.
Smaller components and photons would normally make up the remainder of the byproducts.
Examples include: some types of radio galaxies, supernova (like SN1987A), the initial "parent" ball-of-light that created the "children" in binary star systems, some Herbig-Haro objects, nuclear fission of Uranium or Plutonium, and the decay of atomic nuclei in situations where the atomic nuclei have a high speed interaction with another particle but are not actually hit by the other particle. Since this is such a common situation in high energy particle physics, here is a graphic of that situation for easy visualization:
Graphic of high speed split
Similar to the split, the nonharmonic portion is on the equator of the ball-of-light. However, the asymmetries do not accelerate thus causing the ball-of-light to split. In essence, the asymmetries just sit there, not moving much if at all. While the asymmetries might not be large enough to cause the particle to split, the are large enough to induce smaller byproducts that spin off the equator creating a disk of material.
Examples include: spiral galaxies, stars with "proto-planetary" or planetary material, (See also Planet Formation), stellar ball lightning (usually mistakenly interpreted as UFO's or spaceships from other planets).
The catastrophic decay that creates such an explosion does not leave a core object. In such an explosion, the asymmetries are so large that they cause an acceleration of asymmetries -- they are self-inducing. The acceleration of the asymmetries causes them to grow, increasing the acceleration -- like a chain-reaction.
A distinguishing feature of this decay mode is that the original asymmetries were spread out enough not to allow them to combine along the equator and create a "split" decay.
Examples include: irregular roughly spherical galaxies (like globular clusters), supernova that leave no core; some types of ball lightning, some unusual atomic nuclei as seen decaying in particle accelerators.
This catastrophic decay mode creates an explosion that does leave a core object. The asymmetries were small enough that: as they induced explosive byproducts, this allowed the ball-of-light to become stable thus retaining the core. Examples include: some forms of quasars; white dwarfs in planetary nebulae, pulsars, and the decay of neutrons.
This decay mode has an electromagnetic field that spins around the equator of the ball-of-light that gives a spinning motion to the ball-of-light and gives a spiral shape to the ejecta.
I am sure there are other decay modes. However, I have not had the time to visualize others yet.