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RegistrationInscripcin

AboutThisGuide
ThisGuideisintendedforanyonewhowondershowourUniversereallyworks,andwhomightbe
interestedinanintriguingandsomewhatdifferentpointofview.
IstheUniversenowexpandingfasterandfasterassciencemagazinestell
us?
Doesgravityalone,theweakerofthetwolongrangeforcesandthe
centerpieceoftheStandardModelinastrophysics,ruletheheavens?

Asmallstargrouping,NGC265,
intheSmallMagellanicCloud,nearourMilkyWaygalaxy.
Imagecredit:EuropeanSpaceAgencyandNASA/Hubble

Readersmaybesurprisedtodiscoverthatmanywelltrainedskepticsdonotsupportpopular
ideasinastronomyandthespacesciences.

Criticsdoubtthat"blackholes"actuallyexist.Theysuggestthat"darkmatter,"supposedlyfar
moreabundantthanvisiblematter,isamerefiction,hidingthefactthatearliertheoriesnolonger
work.

Theoriesofgalaxyformation,thebirthofstars,andtheevolutionofourplanetarysystemareall
raisedtodoubtbycriticswhobelievethatafatefulturnin20thcenturytheorysetastronomyona
deadendcourse.
Enchantedbytheroleofgravityinthecosmos,astronomersfailedtorecognizethepervasiverole
ofchargedparticlesandelectriccurrentsinspace.

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ThepurposeofthisGuideistoclarifyanewvantagepoint,onethatacknowledgesthe
contributionoftheelectricforcetothedynamicstructureandhighestenergyeventsinthe
universe.

Aswecompareeventsinspacetothebehaviorofchargedparticlesinthelaboratory,the
differencesbetweenanelectricmodelandthetraditionalgravityonlymodelshouldbecome
progressivelymoreclear.
ThepurposeofthisGuideistointroduceandclarifytherolesofplasmaandelectricityinspace.It
willdescribewhatproducestheuniquebehaviorofplasma,andhowelectricitycontributestothe
complexanddynamicstructureoftheuniverse.

Itdescribesaworkstillintheearlystagesofprogress,withitsinterpretationofobservationsin
space,nearandfar,muchmoreinclusiveoftheelectricandplasmaphysicscontributionsthan
customarilyfoundinwritingonthissubject.
WeoffertheEssentialGuidetoscientistsandtotheinterestedlayreader.Forthosewholiketo
delveintotechnicaldetails,linkstomoreindepthmaterialareincluded,andwillbeexpandedover
time.
WewillreleasethepreliminaryversionofthisGuideontheThunderbolts.infositeonechapterata
time.

Thedocumentwillcontinuetoevolve,perhapsforyearstocome,andweinvitecontributionsfrom
specialistsinthescientificstudiescovered.Giventheexplosionofdatafromspace,noone
workingalonecankeepupwithcurrentfindings.

Forthisreason,interdisciplinarycollaborationwillbeakeytothesuccessofthisendeavor.

Acknowledgements
AsworkonthisGuideproceeds,thenumberofindividualsdeservingspecialacknowledgement
willgrow.

ButwewillalwaysoweaspecialdebtofgratitudetoBobJohnson,whoseinitialscriptdeveloped
overseveralmonthsgaveusasolidfoundationonwhichtobuildthisproject.
JimJohnson,anarchitectbytraining,wellversedintheprinciplesoftheElectricUniverse,will
serveasManagingEditorandwebmaster.
ThemultitalentedDaveSmithwillserveasadvisoronwebmasterissuesandasakeyliaisonto
scientistsandtoundergraduateandgraduatestudentsdesiringtoknowmoreortoactively
participate.
Alsowarrantingmentionaretwoindividualswho,duringtheformativephaseofthisproject,
investedsubstantialtimeinidentifyingkeyquestionsandanswers.ThecontributionsofMichael
GmirkinandChrisReeve,thoughexceedingthepresentscopeoftheGuide,havehelpedto
pavethewayforwhatwillcome,includingsystematicanswerstocommonmisconceptions.
Wearepleasedtoaddtothislisttwoassistanteditors,KimGiffordandMarySueHalliburton.
BothhavefolloweddiscussionoftheElectricUniverseoverseveralyearsandhaveshownthe
requisiteeditorialskillsthisGuidewillrequire.
Andfinally,athankyoutoourreaders.Ourfirstprioritywillalwaysbeontendingtoneeded
clarificationsorcorrectionsinthepublishedportionsoftheGuide.

Onsuchmatters,ourreadersareoftenthefirsttohelp.
DavidTalbott
TheThunderboltsProject

BacktoContents

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Introduction
September2,2011

TheNewPictureofSpace
Nowmorethanever,theexplorationofourstarryUniverseexcitestheimagination.Neverbeforehasspace
presentedsomanypathwaysforresearchanddiscovery.
Newobservationaltoolsenableusto"see"formerlyinvisibleportionsoftheelectromagneticspectrum,andthe
viewisspectacular.TelescopeimagesinXray,radio,infraredandultravioletlightrevealexoticstructureand
intenselyenergeticeventsthatcontinuallyredefinethequestasawhole.
Spectrographicinterpretationhasgrownhandinhandwithfaster,largememorycomputersandprograms,in
sophisticationandinbroadscientificdataprocessing,imagingandmodelingcapability.
Standingoutamidstanavalancheofnewimagesisthegreatestsurpriseofthespaceage:evidencefor
pervasiveelectriccurrentsandmagneticfieldsacrosstheuniverse,allconnectingandanimatingwhatonce
appearedasisolatedislandsinspace.

Theintricatedetailsrevealedarenotrandom,butexhibittheuniquebehaviorofchargedparticlesinplasma
undertheinfluenceofelectriccurrents.
Thetelltaleresultisacomplexofmagneticfieldsandassociatedelectromagneticradiation.Weseetheeffects
onandabovethesurfaceoftheSun,inthesolarwind,inplasmastructuresaroundplanetsandmoons,inthe
exquisitestructureofnebulas,inthehighenergyjetsofgalaxies,andacrosstheunfathomabledistances
betweengalaxies.
Thankstothetechnologyofthe20thcentury,astronomersofthe21stcenturywillconfrontanextraordinary
possibility.Theevidencesuggeststhatintergalacticcurrents,originatingfarbeyondtheboundariesofgalaxies
themselves,directlyaffectgalacticevolution.

Theobservedfinefilamentsandelectromagneticradiationinintergalacticandinterstellarplasmaarethe
signatureofelectriccurrents.Eventhepowerlightingthegalaxies'constituentstarsmayindeedbefoundin
electriccurrentswindingthroughgalacticspace.

InaCoronalMassEjection(CME),
chargedparticlesareexplosivelyacceleratedaway
fromtheSuninstreamingfilaments,defyingtheSun'simmensegravity.
Electricfieldsacceleratechargedparticles,
andnothingelseknowntosciencecanachievethesameeffect.
IftheSunisthecenterofanelectricfield,
howmanyotherenigmaticfeaturesofthisbodywillfinddirectexplanation?

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Credit:SOHO(NASA/ESA)

Itwaslongthoughtthatonlygravitycoulddo"work"oracteffectivelyacrosscosmicdistances.But
perspectivesinastronomyarerapidlychanging.Specialiststrainedinthephysicsofelectricityandmagnetism
havedevelopednewinsightsintotheforcesactiveinthecosmos.

Aplausibleconclusionemerges.Notgravityalone,butelectricityandgravityhaveshapedandcontinueto
shapetheuniversewenowobserve.

ALittleHistory
TheearlytheoreticalfoundationformodernastronomywaslaidbytheworkofJohannesKeplerandIsaac
Newtoninthe17thand18thcenturies.

Since1687whenNewtonfirstexplainedthemovementoftheplanetswithhisLawofGravity,sciencehasrelied
ongravitytoexplainalllargescaleevents,suchastheformationofstarsandgalaxies,orthebirthsof
planetarysystems.
Thisfoundationrestedontheobservedroleofgravityinoursolarsystem.

Researchintothenatureandpotentialofelectricityhadnotyetbegun.

Franklin'sexperimentswithelectricityoccurred
afterthedirectionsofgravityonlyastronomywerealreadywellestablished.
Credit:PhotocourtesyoftheBenjaminFranklinTercenary

Then,inthe19thCentury,researchpioneers,whoseverynamescracklewithelectricity:
AlessandroVolta(17451827)
AndrAmpre(17751836)
MichaelFaraday(17911867)
JosephHenry(17971878)
JamesClerkMaxwell(18311879)
JohnH.Poynting(18521914),
...begantoempiricallyverifythe"laws"governingmagnetismandelectrodynamicbehavior,anddeveloped
usefulequationsdescribingthem.
Bythestartofthe20thCenturyaNorwegianresearcher,KristianBirkeland(18671917),wasexploringthe
relationshipbetweentheauroraborealisandthemagneticfieldshewasabletomeasureontheEarthbelow
them.
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HededucedthatflowsofelectronsfromtheSunwerethesourceofthe"NorthernLights"aconclusion
confirmedindetailbymodernresearch.Itwouldbeatleastanotherseventyyearsbeforethephrase"Birkeland
currents"begantoentertheastronomers'lexicon.
Subsequentworkbyotherscientists,
JamesJeans(18771946)
NobelLaureateIrvingLangmuir(18811957)
WillardBennett(19031987)
NobelLaureateHannesAlfvn(19081995),authorofCosmicPlasma,
...continuedtoextendourunderstandingofionizedmatter(plasma,thefourthstateofmatter).
Inthelatterhalfofthe20thCentury,Alfvn'sclosecolleagueAnthonyPerattpublishedagroundbreaking
textbookonspaceplasma,PhysicsofthePlasmaUniverse,theculminationofhishandson,highenergy
plasmaexperimentsandsupercomputerparticleincellplasmasimulationsattheDepartmentofEnergy'sLos
AlamosLaboratoryinNewMexico,USA.

Thebookhascontinuedtoserveasaguidetospecialistsinthefield.
Anewtoneinastronomyoccurredasengineerspointedradiotelescopestotheskyandbegantodetect
somethingastronomershadnotexpectedradiowavesfromenergeticeventsinthe"emptiness"ofspace.

AttheSecondIEEEInternationalWorkshoponPlasmaAstrophysicsandCosmology,1993,KevinHealyofthe
NationalRadioAstronomyObservatory(NRAO)presentedapaper,AWindowonthePlasmaUniverse:The
VeryLargeArray,(VLA)inwhichheconcluded,
"Withthecontinuingemergenceofseriousdifficultiesinthe"standardmodels"ofastrophysics
[and]theriseoftheimportanceofplasmaphysicsinthedescriptionofmanyastrophysical
systems,theVLA(VeryLargeArray)isaperfectinstrumenttoprovidetheobservationalsupport
forlaboratory,simulation,andtheoreticalworkinplasmaphysics.

Itsunprecedentedflexibilityandsensitivityprovideawealthofinformationonanyradioemitting
regionoftheuniverse."

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Activegalaxy3C31(circledatcenter)
isdwarfedbytheplasmajetsalongitspolaraxis,
movingatvelocitiesalargefractionofthespeedoflight.
Howmighttheelectricalpotentialalongtheimmensevolume
ofthisactiveregionaffecttheevolutionofthisgalaxyanditsbillionsofstars?
Credit:NRAO'sVeryLargeArray,andPatrickLeahy'sAtlasofDRAGNs

Atthestartofthe21stCentury,WallaceThornhillandDavidTalbottwrotetheircollaborativebook,The
ElectricUniverse,andelectricalengineerandprofessorDonaldE.ScottauthoredTheElectricSky.

Togethertheseworksprovidethefirstgeneralintroductiontoanewunderstandingofelectriccurrentsand
magneticfieldsinspace.
LeadingthewayintechnicalpublicationhasbeentheNuclearandPlasmaSciencesSociety,adivisionofthe
InstituteofElectricalandElectronicEngineers(IEEE).Thisprofessionalorganizationisoneoftheworld's
largestpublishersofscientificandtechnicalliterature.
Standingontheshouldersoftheelectricalpioneers,CarlFlthammar,GerritVerschuur,PerCarlqvist,Gran
Marklundandmanyotherscontinuetoextendgroundbreakingplasmaresearchtothisday.

TheLimitsofGravitationalTheory
TheLawofGravity,whichreliesexclusivelyonthemassesofcelestialbodiesandthedistancesbetweenthem,
worksverywellforexplainingplanetaryandsatellitemotionswithinoursolarsystem.

Butwhenastronomerstriedtoapplyittogalaxiesandclustersofgalaxies,itturnsoutthatnearly90%ofthe
massnecessarytoaccountfortheobservedmotionismissing.
Thetroublebeganin1933whenastronomerFritzZwickycalculatedthemasstolightratiofor8galaxiesinthe
ComaClusteroftheComaBerenices("Berenices'shair")constellation.

Atthetime,itwasassumedthattheamountofvisiblelightcomingfromstarsshouldbeproportionaltotheir
masses(aconceptcalled"visualequilibrium").

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AsZwickywastorealize,theapparentrapidvelocitiesofthegalaxies,aroundtheircommoncenterofmass
("barycenter"),suggestedthatmuchmoremassthancouldbeseenwasrequiredtokeepthegalaxiesfrom
flyingoutofthecluster.
Zwickyconcludedthatthemissingmassmustthereforebeinvisibleor"dark".Otherastronomers,suchas
SinclairSmith(whoperformedcalculationsontheVirgoClusterin1936)begantofindsimilarproblems.

Tomakemattersworse,inthe1970s,radialvelocityplots(radiusfromthecenterversusstars'speedof
rotation)forstarsintheMilkyWaygalaxyrevealedthatthespeedsflattenoutratherthantraildown,implying
thatvelocitycontinuestoincreasewithradius,contrarytowhatNewton'sLawofGravitypredictsfor,andwhich
isobservedin,theSolarSystem.
Inshort,astronomersusingtheGravityModelwereforcedtoaddalotmoremasstoeverygalaxythancanbe
detectedatanywavelength.

Theycalledthisextramatter"dark"itsexistencecanonlybeinferredfromthefailureofpredictions.Tocover
fortheinsufficiencytheygavethemselvesablankcheck,alicensetoplacethisimaginedstuffwherever
neededtomakethegravitationalmodelwork.
Othermathematicalconjecturesfollowed.Assumptionsabouttheredshiftofobjectsinspaceledtothe
conclusionthattheuniverseisexpanding.Thenotherspeculationsledtothenotionthattheexpansionis
accelerating.

Facedwithanuntenablesituation,astronomerspostulatedacompletelynewkindofmatter,aninvisible
"something"thatrepelsratherthanattracts.

SinceEinsteinequatedmasswithenergy(E=mc),thisnewkindofmatterwasinterpretedasbeingofaform
ofmassthatactslikepureenergyregardlessofthefactthatifthematterhasnomassitcanhavenoenergy
accordingtotheequation.Astronomerscalledit"darkenergy",assigningtoitanabilitytoovercomethevery
gravityonwhichtheentiretheoreticaledificerested.
Darkenergyisthoughttobesomethinglikeanelectricalfield,withonedifference.

Electricfieldsaredetectableintwoways:whentheyaccelerateelectrons,whichemitobservablephotonsas
synchrotronandBremsstrahlungradiation,andbyacceleratingchargedparticlesaselectriccurrentswhichare
accompaniedbymagneticfields,detectedthroughFaradayrotationofpolarizedlight.

Darkenergyseemstoemitnothingandnothingitpurportedlydoesisrevealedthroughamagneticfield.One
suggestionisthatsomepropertyofemptyspaceisresponsible.Butemptyspace,bydefinition,containsno
matterandthereforehasnoenergy.

Theconceptofdarkenergyisphilosophicallyunsoundandisapoignantreminderthatthegravityonlymodel
nevercameclosetotheoriginalexpectationsforit.

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ThisartisticviewofthestandardmodeloftheBigBang
andtheexpandingUniverseseems
topresentaprecisepictureofcosmichistory.
Amuchdifferentstoryemergesaswelearn
aboutplasmaphenomenaandelectriccurrentsinspace.
Credit:NASAWMAP

Takingthepostulateddarkmatteranddarkenergytogether,somethingontheorderoftwentyfourtimesas
muchmassintheformofinvisiblestuffwouldhavetobeaddedtothevisible,detectablemassoftheUniverse.

That'stosay,intheGravityModelallthestarsandallthegalaxiesandallthematterbetweenthestarsthatwe
candetectonlyamounttoaminuscule4%oftheestimatedmass:

ChandraXrayObservatory
estimatesofthe"totalenergycontentoftheUniverse".
Only"normal"mattercanbedirectlydetectedwithtelescopes.
Theremaining"dark"matterandenergyareinvisible.
ImageCredit:NASAWMAP

Criticsoftenpointoutthatatheoryrequiringspeculative,undetectablestuffonsuchascalealsostretches
credulitytothebreakingpoint.Somethingveryreal,perhapsevenobvious,isalmostcertainlymissinginthe
standardGravityModel.
Isitpossiblethatthemissingcomponentcouldbesomethingasfamiliartothemodernworldaselectricity?

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BacktoContents

Chapter1DistancesinSpace
September2,2011

1.1DistancestoStars
Whenwelookupintothenightskyandseeallthestars,manyofwhicharesunssimilartoourown,theylook
fairlyclosetogether.Butthey'renotreallycloseatall.Theextentofspacebetweenthemishuge.
Distanceisanimportantanddifficultquantitytomeasureinastronomy.

Wehavetoknowhowclosewearetothestarsandgalaxiesbecausemuchelseinastronomydependsdirectly
onthatspecificinformationthetotalenergy(luminosity)emitted,massesfromorbitalmotions,stars'true
motionsthroughspace,andtheirtruephysicalsizes.

Starburstcluster
photocourtesyNASA/HubbleSpaceTelescope

Starsaresofarawaythatevenintelescopestheyareonlytinypointsoflight.

Withoutaknowledgeofthedistance,youcannotaccuratelyknowwhetheryouarelookingatasmallbutvery
brightstaroratalargerbutlessbrightstar,orwhetherthisstarorthatisclosertous.Thisisalsotrueof
galaxies,quasars,jetsandotherdistantphenomena.
Thedistancebetweenoureyesprovidesusourdepthperception.Eacheyemustbeheldataspecificangleto
centerasubject.

Thebraininterpretsthoseanglesandadjuststheeye'sfocus,givingusafeelforhowclosethesubjectisand
creatinganindepthimageoftheworldaroundus.Thisbiologicalangulardetectionisthebasisofadistance
calculationmethodcalledparallaxinastronomy.
Triangulation,ortrigonometricparallax,isadirectwayofusingthemeasuredangulardifferencefromtwo
positionstomeasurethedistancetosomeobject.

Byobservingastar'spositionrelativetothebackgroundstarsfromoppositesidesofourorbitabouttheSun,
wehaveawidebaselinethatwillallowustogetanangulardifferencefromobservations6monthsapartandbe

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abletomeasurethedistancetosomethingasfarawayasastar.

Trigonometricparallaxdiagram
courtesyAustralianTelescopeOutreachandEducationwebsite

TheEarthaveragesabout93millionmilesfromtheSun,sothatisitsnearlycircularorbit'sradius.

Thisdistanceisoftencalledanastronomicalunit(AU)inastronomy.Sothedistancefromonesideofthe
Earth'sorbittotheoppositesideis2AU,orabout186millionmiles.

Whenwemeasuretheangletotheneareststar(AlphaCentauri)fromonesideoftheorbit,waitsixmonths,and
measureitagain,wefindthattheangulardifferenceisrathersmall,requiringenormousprecisionof
measurement.Moreonparallaxanddistancecalculationshereandhere.
TheEuropeanSpaceAgency(ESA)launcheditsautomatedHipparcossatellitetelescopetotake
measurementsofover118,000starsduringitslifetimefrom19891993.Mission:improvetheprecisionof
cataloguedlocationsofmanystarsandupdatetheTychoandTycho2catalogs.

Outofthenewlymeasuredparallaxes,20,870starsmetthecriterionofhavingastellarparallaxerrorof10%or
less.

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HIPPARCOSsatelliteparallaxerrorplotbyRalphBiggins,
fromESA/HIPPARCOScatalogdata.
Noteincreasingpercenterrorbounds
(verticallyexpandingwedge)withincreasingdistance

EvenwiththemoreaccurateHipparcossatellitedata,distancemeasurementstostarsouttoaround200220
lightyearshaveupto10%error,andtheyareincreasinglylessaccurateouttoabout500lightyears.

Beyondthat,trigonometricparallaxmeasurementsshouldnotbeconsideredreliable.Pogge,inthelinkaboveto
hisLecture5,claimsHipparcosdatagive"gooddistancesoutto1000lightyears",yetanestimateddistanceof
only500lightyearswith20%30%errorisalreadyoffbytoomuchtobeofmuchuse.

1000lightyearsisanalmostincomprehensibledistance,yetitisonlyabout1%ofthewayacrossourMilky
Waygalaxy.
Anangleofonedegreeissubdividedinto60minutes(60)ofarc,liketheconventionofdividinganhourinto60
minutesoftime.Similarlyeachminuteofarccanbesubdividedinto60seconds(60)ofarc.

TheparallaxtoallstarsexceptourSunislessthanonearcsecond.Infact,theparallaxtoAlphaCentauriis
about0.75ofanarcsecond,orabout0.0002degree.Theparallaxangletoallotherstarsisevenlessthanthis
smallvalue.
Onelightyear,thedistancelighttravelsinvacuuminoneyear,isalmost6trillionmiles.Ifyoudivide3.26by
theparallaxtoastarinarcseconds,youwillgetthedistancetothestarasmeasuredinlightyears.

Astronomersgenerallypreferparsecs(pc)ratherthanlightyearsasdistancemeasurements,eventhough
parallaxmeasurementscanonlybeusedtodeterminedistanceaccuratelyarelativelyshortdistancefromour
Sun.
Example:(3.26/0.75arcsecond)=4.36lightyears(ly),whichis,
25.65trillionmilesor1.33parsecstotheneareststar.
Let'sstartclosertohome.

1.2ModelingDistancesInandNearOurSolarSystem
RobertBurnhamdevelopedamodeltoshowusinordinarytermshowmuchspacethereisouttherebetween
thestars.Tounderstanditsscaleweneedtoknowacoupleofrealdistances.
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Asnotedabove,thedistancefromtheEarthtotheSunisaround92,960,000miles(149,605,000km).Usually
roundedoffto93millionmiles(150millionkm),thisdistanceiscalledtheAstronomicalUnit(AU).
Alightyear(ly)isequalto63,294AU.

Coincidentally,thisisaboutthesamenumberasthenumberofinchesinastatutemile,63,360.Therefore,
thereisaroundthesamenumberofinchesin1AU(63,360x92,960,000)asthenumberofmilesin1lightyear
(63,294x92,960,000).Thosearereallybignumbers.Let'ssticktoinches.
Burnhamsetthescaleinhismodelsothat1inch(1)equals1AUor93millionmiles.Then1mileinourmodel
wouldequal1ly.Thisscalewouldbeexpressedas1:6,000,000,000,000.That'soneunitrepresentssixmillion
millionunits,whichisascaleofoneto6trillionor1:61012.
Let'sstartdescribingaBurnhamesqueminiaturescalemodelofoursolarsystemusingthisscale.

WeknowthedistancefromEarthtotheSun(1AU)willbeoneinch.HowbigwilltheSunbe?TheSun's
diameterisabout870,000miles,soinourscalemodeltheSunwillbealittleunder1/100thofaninchacross.
That'saverytinyspeck.

TheEarthwillbeoneinchawayfromtheSunbutsosmall(0.00009,or9onehundredthousandthsofaninch)
thatwewouldnotbeabletoseeitwithoutamicroscope.

Theinnersolarsystem,
nonscaledartist'simage

Pluto'sorbitalradiusis39.5timeslargerthanEarth's,soPlutowillbe39.5inches,oralmostexactly1meter,
fromtheSun.Theheliosphere,theregionaroundtheSunwhichthesolarwindpermeates,isabout7feetinour
model.
Sowhereistheneareststarinourmodel?OurnearestneighborisAlphaCentauri,whichisover4lightyears
away.That'smorethan4milesinourmodel.
Yes,4miles.OurmodelSunisonetinyspeck,andit's4milestothenextnearestspeck.That'salotofspace
inbetween.Sohowbigisourgalaxyinthistinymodel?

Themodelgalaxywouldstretch100,000milesacross.Thethindiskandspiralarmswouldbeathousandmiles
thick.Itscentralbulgeofstarswouldbewellover6000milesfromtoptobottom.Ourgalaxyisbutoneof
hundredsofbillionsofgalaxiesvisibleintheobservableUniversewithourpresentinstruments.

Thenighttimeskyappearstobecrowdedwithstars,butstarsareseparatedtypicallybyover10milliontimes
theirdiameters.

1.3DistanceandGravity

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Rememberthat,asNewtonwrote,theforceofgravitydecreaseswith(i.e.,isinverselyproportionalto)the
squareofthedistancebetweentwoobjects.

Sothegravitationalattractionbetweentwospecks4milesapartisn'tallthatstrong.Noristheforceofgravity
betweentwostars4lightyearsapart.Let'suseNewton'sequationtoworkoutwhatitactuallyis.
Inthesimpleequationbelow,abovetheworksheet,FistheforceinNewtons,Gisaverysmallnumbercalled
theGravitationalConstant,M1andM2aretheestimatedmassesofthetwostarsinkilograms,andristhe
distancebetweentheircentersinmeters.

AstronomersusethemetricorS.I.systemasitismuchmorewidelyusedandmoreconvenientthanthe
traditionalImperialsystemofinches,feet,miles,poundsandounces.

However,theresultofthecalculationispresentedatthebottomoftheimageintermsoftheforceofgravityat
Earth'ssurface,calleda"gee"(for"gravity")regardlessofyourmeasurementsystem.
F=G(M1M2)r

Gravityforcecalculation
exertedontheSunbyAlphaCentauri

Despitetheirgreatmass,thetwostarsexertonlyaminisculegravitationalaccelerationoneachother.

Whateverforcescontrolthebehaviorofthematterintheuniversemustbestrongenoughandmustbeableto
operateeffectivelyenoughovertheimmensedistancesinvolved.
Newton'slawofgravityhasdonewellenoughinexplainingtheforcesofattractionandorbitalmotionswithinthe
limitedareaofthesolarsystem.

Buttherelativelyweakforceofgravitycouldonlyoperateeffectively,ifatall,overinterstellardistancesifit
weretruethatspaceisemptyandtherewerenocompetingforceswhichmightovercomethatofgravity.

BacktoContents

Chapter2MagneticandElectricFieldsinSpace
October17,2011

2.1TheStrengthofGravityandElectricForces
Gravityisarelativelyveryweakforce.

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TheelectricCoulombforcebetweenaprotonandanelectronisoftheorderof1039(that's1with39zerosafter
it)timesstrongerthanthegravitationalforcebetweenthem.

Thefourfundamentalinteractions(forces)inphysics

Wecangetahintoftherelativestrengthofelectromagneticforceswhenweuseasmallmagnettopickupan
ironobject,say,aballbearing.

EventhoughthewholeofEarth'sgravitationattractionisactingupontheballbearing,themagnetovercomes
thiseasilywhencloseenoughtotheballbearing.Inspace,gravityonlybecomessignificantinthoseplaces
wheretheelectromagneticforcesareshieldedorneutralized.

Smallmagnetattractsandholdsaballbearing

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againstEarthgravity'spull.

Forsphericalmassesandcharges,boththegravityforceandtheelectricCoulombforcevaryinverselywiththe
squareofthedistanceandsodecreaserapidlywithdistance.Forothergeometries/configurations,theforces
decreasemoreslowlywithdistance.

Forexample,theforcebetweentworelativelylongandthinelectriccurrentsmovingparalleltoeachothervaries
inverselywiththefirstpowerofthedistancebetweenthem.
Electriccurrentscantransportenergyoverhugedistancesbeforeusingthatenergytocreatesomedetectable
result,justlikeweuseenergyfromadistantpowerstationtoboilakettleinourkitchen.Thismeansthat,over
longerdistances,electromagneticforcesandelectriccurrentstogethercanbemuchmoreeffectivethaneither
thepunyforceofgravityoreventhestrongerelectrostaticCoulombforce.
Rememberthat,justinordertoexplainthebehaviorofthematterwecandetect,theGravityModelneedsto
imaginetwentyfourtimesmorematterthanwecansee,inspeciallocations,andofaspecialinvisibletype.

Itseemsmuchmorereasonabletoinvestigatewhethertheknownphysicsofelectromagneticforcesand
electriccurrentscanbringabouttheobservedeffectsinsteadofhavingtoinventwhatmaynotexist.

2.2The"Vacuum"ofSpace
Untilabout100yearsago,spacewasthoughttobeempty.Thewords"vacuum"and"emptiness"were
interchangeable.

Butprobeshavefoundthatspacecontainsatoms,dust,ions,andelectrons.Althoughthedensityofmatterin
spaceisverylow,itisnotzero.Therefore,spaceisnotavacuumintheconventionalsenseoftherebeing
"nothingthereatall".

Forexample,theSolar"wind"isknowntobeaflowofchargedparticlescomingfromtheSunandsweeping
roundtheEarth,ultimatelycausingvisibleeffectsliketheNorthern(andSouthern)Lights.
Thedustparticlesinspacearethoughttobe2to200nanometersinsize,andmanyofthemarealso
electricallycharged,alongwiththeionsandelectrons.Thismixtureofneutralandchargedmatteriscalled
plasma,anditissuffusedwithelectromagneticfields.

WewilldiscussplasmaanditsuniqueinteractionswithelectromagneticfieldsinmoredetailinChapter3.The
"empty"spacesbetweenplanetsorstarsorgalaxiesareverydifferentfromwhatastronomersassumedinthe
earlierpartofthe20thcentury.
(Noteaboutterminologyinlinks:astronomersoftenrefertomatterintheplasmastateas"gas,""winds,""hot,
ionizedgas,""clouds,"etc.

Thisfailstodistinguishbetweenthetwodifferentlybehavingstatesofmatterinspace,thefirstofwhichis
electricallychargedplasmaandtheotherofwhichmaybeneutralgaswhichisjustwidelydispersed,non
ionizedmoleculesoratoms.)

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Ionizedhydrogen(plasma)abundanceinanorthernskysurvey
Image:WikiCommons

TheexistenceofchargedparticlesandelectromagneticfieldsinspaceisacceptedinboththeGravityModel
andtheElectricModel.Buttheemphasisplacedonthemandtheirbehaviorisonedistinctivedifference
betweenthemodels.

Wewillthereforediscussmagneticfieldsnext.

Aurora,photographedbyL.Zimmerman,Fairbanks,Alaska.
Imagecourtesyspaceweather.com,AuroraPhotoGallery

2.3IntroductiontoMagneticFields
Whatdowemeanbytheterms"magneticfield"and"magneticfieldlines"?

Inordertounderstandtheconceptofafield,let'sstartwithamorefamiliarexample:gravity.
Weknowthatgravityisaforceofattractionbetweenbodiesorparticleshavingmass.WesaythattheEarth's
gravityisallaroundushereonthesurfaceoftheEarthandthattheEarth'sgravityextendsoutintospace.

WecanexpressthesameideamoreeconomicallybysayingthattheEarthhasagravitationalfieldwhich
extendsintospaceinalldirections.Inotherwords,agravitationalfieldisaregionwhereagravitationalforceof
attractionwillbeexertedbetweenbodieswithmass.
Similarly,amagneticfieldisaregioninwhichamagneticforcewouldactonamagnetizedorchargedbody.
(Wewilllookattheoriginofmagneticfieldslater).Theeffectofthemagneticforceismostobviouson
ferromagneticmaterials.

Forexample,ironfilingsplacedonasurfaceinamagneticfieldalignthemselvesinthedirectionofthefieldlike
compassneedles.

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Abarmagnetwithironfilingsaroundit,
showingthemagneticfielddirection

Becausetheironfilingstendtoalignthemselvessouthpoletonorthpole,thepatterntheymakecouldbedrawn
asaseriesofconcentriclines,whichwouldindicatethedirectionand,indirectly,strengthofthefieldatany
point.
Thereforemagneticfieldlinesareoneconvenientwaytorepresentthedirectionofthefield,andserveas
guidingcentersfortrajectoriesofchargedparticlesmovinginthefield(ref.FundamentalsofPlasmaPhysics,
CambridgeUniversityPress,2006,PaulBellan,Ph.D.)
Itisimportanttorememberthatfieldlinesdonotexistasphysicalobjects.

Eachironfilinginamagneticfieldisactinglikeacompass:youcouldmoveitoverabitanditwouldstillpoint
magneticnorthsouthfromitsnewposition.Similarly,aplumbbob(astringwithaweightatoneend)will
indicatethelocaldirectionofthegravitationalfield.Linesdrawnlongitudinallythroughaseriesofplumbbobs
wouldmakeasetofgravitationalfieldlines.

Suchlinesdonotreallyexisttheyarejustaconvenient,imaginarymeansofvisualizingordepictingthe
directionofforceappliedbythefield.SeeAppendixIformorediscussionofthissubject,orhere,atFizzics
Fizzle.
Afieldlinedoesnotnecessarilyindicatethedirectionoftheforceexertedbywhateveriscausingthefield.

Fieldlinesmaybedrawntoindicatedirectionorpolarityofaforce,ormaybedrawnascontoursofequal
intensitiesofaforce,inthesamewayascontourlinesonamapconnectpointsofequalelevationabove,say,
sealevel.Often,around3dimensionalbodieswithmagneticfields,imaginarysurfacesareusedtorepresent
theareaofequalforce,insteadoflines.
Byconsensus,thedefinitionofthedirectionofamagneticfieldatsomepointisfromthenorthtothesouth
pole.
Inagravitationalfield,onecouldchoosetodrawcontourlinesofequalgravitationalforceinsteadofthelinesof
thedirectionoftheforce.Theselinesofequalgravitationalforcewouldvarywithheight(thatis,withdistance
fromthecenterofthebody),ratherlikecontourlinesonamap.Tofindthedirectionoftheforceusingthese
elevationcontourlines,onewouldhavetoworkoutwhichwayabodywouldmove.

Placedonthesideofahill,astonerollsdownhill,acrossthecontours.Inotherwordsthegravitationalforceis
perpendiculartothefieldlinesofequalgravitationalforce.
Magneticfieldsaremorecomplicatedthangravityinthattheycaneitherattractorrepel.

Twopermanentbarmagnetswiththeiroppositeends(opposite"poles",orNS)facingeachotherwillattract
eachotheralongthedirectionindicatedbythefieldlinesofthecombinedfieldfromthemboth(seeimage
above).Magnetswiththesamepolarity(NNorSS)repeloneanotheralongthesamedirection.
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Magneticfieldsalsoexertforcesonchargedparticlesthatareinmotion.

Becausetheforcethatthechargedparticleexperiencesisatrightanglestoboththemagneticfieldlineandthe
particle'sdirection,achargedparticlemovingacrossamagneticfieldismadetochangedirection(i.e.to
accelerate)bytheactionofthefield.Itsspeedremainsunchangedtoconservekineticenergy.

Thefollowingimageshowswhathappenstoanelectronbeaminavacuumtubebeforeandafteramagnetic
fieldisapplied,inalabdemonstration.

Inthisdemonstration,avacuumtubeacceleratesanarrow
beamofelectrons(emittingbluelight)verticallyupward.
Energizingthemagneticfieldofthecoilsbypassingan
electriccurrentthroughthemforcestheelectronbeamtocurve.
Imagecredit:ClemsonUniversity,PhysicsOnlineLabs

Themagneticforceonachargedparticleinmotionisanalogoustothegyroscopicforce.

Achargedparticlemovingdirectlyalongor"with"amagneticfieldlinewon'texperienceaforcetryingtochange
itsdirection,justaspushingonaspinninggyroscopedirectlyalongitsaxisofrotationwillnotcauseittoturnor
"precess".
Eventhoughtheforceondifferentchargedparticlesvaries,theconceptofvisualizingthedirectionofthe
magneticfieldasasetofimaginaryfieldlinesisusefulbecausethedirectionoftheforceonanyonematerial,
suchasamovingchargedparticle,canbeworkedoutfromthefielddirection.

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MagneticfieldlinessuperimposedontheSun
inthevicinityofacoronalholeandotheractiveregions.
Understandingthedynamicsofsuchfieldshelpstounderstand
theunderlyingplasmacurrentsformingthem.
Imagecredit:NASASDO/LockheedMartinSpaceSystemsCorp.,10.20.2010

2.4TheOriginofMagneticFields

Thereisonlyonewaythatmagneticfieldscanbegenerated:bymovingelectriccharges.Inpermanent
magnets,thefieldsaregeneratedbyelectronsspinningaroundthenucleioftheatoms.

Astrongmagnetiscreatedwhenalltheelectronsorbitingthenucleihavespinsthatarealigned,creatinga
powerfulcombinedforce.IfthemagnetisheatedtoitsCurietemperature,thethermalmotionoftheatoms
breaksdowntheorderlyspinalignments,greatlyreducingthenetmagneticfield.Inametalwirecarryinga
current,themagneticfieldisgeneratedbyelectronsmovingdownthelengthofthewire.

Amoredetailedintroductiontothecomplexsubjectofexchangecouplingandferromagnetismcanbefound
here.
Eitherway,anytimeelectricchargesmove,theygeneratemagneticfields.Withoutmovingelectriccharges,
magneticfieldscannotexist.Ampre'sLawstatesthatamovingchargegeneratesamagneticfieldwithcircular
linesofforce,onaplanethatisperpendiculartothemovementofthecharge.
Magneticfieldlinessurroundaconductorinconcentric,equalvaluedcylindersor"shells".Notethatifyoualign
yourrightthumbinthedirectionarrowofthecurrent,yourcurledfingersshowthemagneticfielddirection.
Imagecredit:WikimediaCommons,captionsadded
Sinceelectriccurrentsmadeupofmovingelectricchargescanbeinvisibleanddifficulttodetectatadistance,
detectingamagneticfieldatalocationinspace(bywellknownmethodsinastronomy,seebelow)isasure
signthatitisaccompaniedbyanelectriccurrent.
Ifacurrentflowsinaconductor,suchasalongstraightwireoraplasmafilament,theneachchargedparticlein
thecurrentwillhaveasmallmagneticfieldaroundit.Whenalltheindividualsmallmagneticfieldsareadded
together,theresultisacontinuousmagneticfieldaroundthewholelengthoftheconductor.

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Theregionsinspacearoundthewirewherethefieldstrengthisequal(called"equipotentialsurfaces")are
cylindersconcentricwiththewire.

Magneticfieldlinessurroundaconductorinconcentric
equalvaluedcylindersor"shells".Notethatifyoualign
yourrightthumbinthedirectionarrowofthecurrent,
yourcurledfingersshowthemagneticfielddirection
Imagecredit:WikimediaCommons,captionsadded

Timevaryingelectricandmagneticfieldsareconsideredlater.(SeeChapterIVandAppendixIII)
ThequestionoftheoriginofmagneticfieldsinspaceisoneofthekeydifferencesbetweentheGravityModel
andtheElectricModel.
TheGravityModelallowsfortheexistenceofmagneticfieldsinspacebecausetheyareroutinelyobserved,but
theyaresaidtobecausedbydynamosinsidestars.Formostresearcherstoday,neitherelectricfieldsnor
electriccurrentsinspaceplayanysignificantpartingeneratingmagneticfields.

Incontrast,theElectricModel,asweshallseeinmoredetaillater,arguesthatmagneticfieldsmustbe
generatedbythemovementofchargedparticlesinspaceinthesamewaythatmagneticfieldsaregenerated
bymovingchargedparticleshereonEarth.Ofcourse,theElectricModelacceptsthatstarsandplanetshave
magneticfields,too,evidencedbymagnetospheresandotherobservations.

Thenewinsighthasbeentoexplainadifferentoriginforthesemagneticfieldsinspaceiftheyarenotcreated
bydynamosinstars.

2.5DetectingMagneticFieldsinSpace

Sincethestartofthespaceage,spacecrafthavebeenabletomeasuremagneticfieldsinthesolarsystem
usinginstrumentsonboardthespacecraft.Wecan"see"magneticfieldsbeyondtherangeofspacecraft
becauseoftheeffectthatthefieldshaveonlightandotherradiationpassingthroughthem.

Wecanevenestimatethestrengthofthemagneticfieldsbymeasuringtheamountofthateffect.

OpticalimageMagneticfieldintensity,direction

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CourtesyRainerBeckandBillSherwood(ret.),
MaxPlanckInstitutefrRadioAstronomie

WehaveknownabouttheEarth'smagneticfieldforcenturies.Wecannowdetectsuchfieldsinspace,sothe
conceptofmagneticfieldsinspaceisintuitivelyeasytounderstand,althoughastronomershavedifficultyin
explainingtheoriginationofthesemagneticfields.
Magneticfieldscanbedetectedatmanywavelengthsbyobservingtheamountofsymmetricalspectrographic
emissionlineorabsorptionlinesplittingthatthemagneticfieldinduces.

ThisisknownastheZeemaneffect,afterDutchphysicistand1902Nobellaureate,PieterZeeman,(1865
1943).

Noteintherightimageabovehowcloselythefielddirectionalignswiththegalacticarmsvisibleintheoptical
image,left.

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TheZeemaneffect,spectrallinebroadeningorsplittinginamagneticfield.
Imagecredit:www.chemteam.info/classicalpapers/no.38,1897theZeemaneffect.
OriginalphotobyPieterZeeman

Anotherindicatorofthepresenceofmagneticfieldsisthepolarizationofsynchrotronemissionradiatedby
electronsinmagneticfields,usefulatgalacticscales.

SeeBeck'sarticleonGalacticMagneticFields,inScholarpedia,plusBeckandSherwood'sAtlasofMagnetic
FieldsinNearbyGalaxies.MeasurementofthedegreeofpolarizationmakesuseoftheFaradayeffect.The
Faradayrotationinturnleadstothederivationofthestrengthofthemagneticfieldthroughwhichthepolarized
lightispassing.
ThehighlyinstructionalpaperbyPhillipKronbergetal,MeasurementoftheElectricCurrentinaKpcScale
Jet,providesacompellinginsightintothedirectlinkbetweenthemeasuredFaradayrotationinthepowerful
"knots"inalargegalacticjet,theresultantmagneticfieldstrength,andtheelectriccurrentpresentinthejet.
MagneticfieldsareincludedinboththeGravityModelandtheElectricModeloftheUniverse.Theessential
differenceisthattheElectricModelrecognizesthatmagneticfieldsinspacealwaysaccompanyelectric
currents.

Wewilltakeupelectricfieldsandcurrentsnext.

2.6IntroductiontoElectricFields
Anelectricchargehaspolarity.

Thatis,itiseitherpositiveornegative.Byagreement,theelementary(smallest)unitofchargeisequaltothat
ofanelectron(e)oraproton(+e).Electricchargeisquantizeditisalwaysanintegermultipleofe.
Thefundamentalunitofchargeisthecoulomb(C),wheree=1.601019coulomb.Bytakingtheinverseofthe
lattertinyvalue,onecoulombis6.251018singlychargedparticles.

Oneampere(A)ofelectriccurrentisonecoulombpersecond.A20Acurrentthuswouldbe20Cofchargeper
second,orthepassageof1.251020electronspersecondpastafixedpoint.
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Everychargehasanelectricfieldassociatedwithit.Anelectricfieldissimilartoamagneticfieldinthatitis
causedbythefundamentalforceofelectromagneticinteractionandits"range"orextentofinfluenceisinfinite,
orindefinitelylarge.Theelectricfieldsurroundingasinglechargedparticleisspherical,likethegravitational
accelerationfieldaroundasmallpointmassoralargesphericalmass.

Theelectricfieldaroundasinglepositivecharge(L)andbetweentwochargedplates.
Arrowsindicatethedirectionoftheforceonapositivecharge.
Notethatthesameforcewouldbeappliedintheoppositedirectiononanegativecharge.

Thestrengthofanelectricfieldatapointisdefinedastheforceinnewtons(N)thatwouldbeexertedona
positivetestchargeof1coulombplacedatthatpoint.Likegravity,theforcefromonechargeisinversely
proportionaltothesquareofthedistancetothetest(oranyother)charge.
Thepointindefiningatestchargeaspositiveistoconsistentlydefinethedirectionoftheforceduetoone
chargeactinguponanothercharge.

Sincelikechargesrepelandoppositesattract,justlikemagneticpoles,theimaginaryelectricfieldlinestendto
pointawayfrompositivechargesandtowardnegativecharges.SeeashortYouTubevideoontheelectricfield
here.
Hereisausercontrolleddemonstrationof2chargesandtheirassociatedlinesofforceinthisMathematica
application.
YoumayneedtodownloadMathematicaPlayer(justonce,andit'sfree)fromthelinkedwebsitetoplaywiththe
demo.Clickon"DownloadLiveDemo"afteryouinstallMathematicaPlayer.Youcanadjuststrengthand
polarityofcharge(+or)withthesliders,anddragthechargedparticlesaroundthescreen.Givethefieldlines
timetosmoothoutbetweenchanges.
Electromagneticforcesarecommonlystrongerthangravitationalforcesonplasmainspace.Electromagnetism
canbeshielded,whilegravitycannot,sofarasisknown.

Thecommonargumentinthestandardmodelisthatmostoftheelectronsinoneregionorbodyarepairedwith
protonsinthenucleiofatomsandmolecules,sothenetforcesofthepositivechargesandnegativecharges
canceloutsoperfectlythat"forlargebodiesgravitycandominate"(link:Wikipedia,FundamentalInteractions,
lookundertheElectromagnetismsubheading).
Whatisoverlookedaboveisthat,withtheoccasionalexceptionofrelativelycool,stableandnearneutral
planetaryenvironmentslikethosefoundhereonEarth,mostothermatterintheUniverseconsistsofplasma
i.e.,chargedparticlesandneutralparticlesmovinginacomplexsymphonyofchargeseparationandtheelectric
andmagneticfieldsoftheirownmaking.Gravity,whilealwayspresent,isnottypicallythedominantforce.
Farfromconsistingofmostlyneutralizedchargeandweakmagneticandelectricfieldsandtheirassociated
weakcurrents,electricfieldsandcurrentsinplasmacanandoftendobecomeverylargeandpowerfulinspace.

TheElectricModelholdsthatphenomenainspacesuchasmagnetospheres,Birkelandcurrents,stars,pulsars,
galaxies,galacticandstellarjets,planetarynebulas,"blackholes",energeticparticlessuchasgammaraysand
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Xraysandmore,arefundamentallyelectriceventsinplasmaphysics.

Eventherockybodiesplanets,asteroids,moonsandcomets,andthegasbodiesinasolarsystemexistin
theheliospheresoftheirstars,andarenotexemptfromelectromagneticforcesandtheireffects.
Eachseparatechargedparticlecontributestothetotalelectricfield.

Thenetforceatanypointinacomplexelectromagneticfieldcanbecalculatedusingvectors,ifthechargesare
assumedstationary.Ifchargedparticlesaremoving(andtheyalwaysare),however,they"create"are
accompaniedbymagneticfields,too,andthischangesthemagneticconfiguration.

Changesinamagneticfieldinturncreateelectricfieldsandtherebyaffectcurrentsthemselves,sofieldsthat
startwithmovingparticlesrepresentverycomplexinteractions,feedbackloopsandmessymathematics.
Chargesinspacemaybedistributedspatiallyinanyconfiguration.

If,insteadofapointorasphere,thechargesaredistributedinalinearfashionsothatthelengthofacharged
areaismuchlongerthanitswidthordiameter,itcanbeshownthattheelectricfieldsurroundsthelinearshape
likecylindersofequalforcepotential,andthatthefieldfromthisconfigurationdecreaseswithdistancefromthe
configurationastheinverseofthedistance(nottheinversesquareofthedistance)fromthecenterline.

Thisisimportantinstudyingtheeffectsofelectricandmagneticfieldsinfilamentarycurrentssuchaslightning
strokes,aplasmafocus,orlargeBirkelandcurrentsinspace.
Rememberthatthedirectionofappliedforceonapositivechargestartsfrompositivechargeandterminateson
negativecharge,orfailinganegativecharge,extendsindefinitelyfar.

Evenasmallchargeimbalancewith,say,morepositivelychargedparticleshereandmorenegativelycharged
particlesadistanceawayleadstoaregionofforceorelectricfieldbetweentheareasofseparateddissimilar
charges.Theimportanceofthisarrangementwillbecomemoreclearinthediscussionofdoublelayersin
plasma,furtheron.
Thinkofanelectricalcapacitorwheretherearetwoseparated,oppositelychargedplatesorlayers,similartothe
twochargedplates"B"inthediagramabove.

Therewillbeanelectricfieldbetweenthelayers.Anychargedparticlemovingorplacedbetweenthelayerswill
beacceleratedtowardstheoppositelychargedlayer.Electrons(whicharenegativelycharged)acceleratetoward
thepositivelychargedlayer,andpositiveionsandprotonstowardthenegativelychargedlayer.

Acandleflameinanelectricfieldbetweentwodissimilarlychargedplates
willbeorientedsidewaysbecauseaflameisapartiallyionizedplasma.
Itthereforerespondsmorestronglytotheelectricforcebetweentheplates
thantothethermalconvectiveforcesinagravityfield

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AccordingtoNewton'sLaws,forceresultsinacceleration.

Thereforeelectricfieldswillresultinchargedparticles'acquiringvelocity.Oppositelychargedparticleswillmove
inoppositedirections.Anelectriccurrentis,bydefinition,movementofchargepastapoint.Electricfields
thereforecauseelectriccurrentsbygivingchargedparticlesavelocity.
Ifanelectricfieldisstrongenough,thenchargedparticleswillbeacceleratedtoveryhighvelocitiesbythefield.

Foralittlefurtherreadingonelectricfieldsseethis.

2.7DetectingElectricFieldsandCurrentsinSpace
Electricfieldsandcurrentsaremoredifficulttodetectwithoutputtingameasuringinstrumentdirectlyintothe
field,butwehavedetectedcurrentsinthesolarsystemusingspacecraft.

OneofthefirstwasthelowaltitudepolarorbitTRIADsatelliteinthe1970s,whichfoundcurrentsinteracting
withtheEarth'supperatmosphere.

In1981HannesAlfvndescribedaheliosphericcurrentmodelinhisbook,CosmicPlasma.
Sincethen,aregionofelectriccurrentcalledtheheliosphericcurrentsheet(HCS)hasbeenfoundthat
separatesthepositiveandnegativeregionsoftheSun'smagneticfield.Itistiltedapproximately15degreesto
thesolarequator.Duringonehalfofasolarcycle,outwardpointingmagneticfieldslieabovetheHCSand
inwardpointingfieldsbelowit.

ThisisreversedwhentheSun'smagneticfieldreversesitspolarityhalfwaythroughthesolarcycle.AstheSun
rotates,theHCSrotateswithit,"dragging"itsundulationsintowhatNASAterms"thestandardParkerspiral".
SomelinkstoheliosphericcurrentsheetsitesareWikipedia,NASA,thisMathematicademonstration,andthe
BelgianInstituteofAeronomy.

DepictionoftheHeliocentricCurrentSheet(HCS)aroundtheSun,
withtypicalripplesdraggedintoaspiralconfiguration.
Credit:WikiCommons

Spacecrafthavemeasuredchangesovertimeinthecurrentsheetatvariouslocationssincethe1980s.They
havedetectednearEarthandsolarcurrentsaswell.TheGravityModelacceptsthatthesecurrentsexistin
spacebutassumestheyarearesultofthemagneticfield.

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Wewillreturntothispointlater.

AresearchrocketwithSPIRITIIpayloadcontainingextendablebooms
withLangmuirprobestodetectelectricfieldsandionsinnearEarthplasma.
Imagecredits:NASAWallopsFlightFacilityandPennStateUniversity

Electricfieldsoutsidethereachofspacecraftarenotdetectableinpreciselythesamewayasmagneticfields.

Linesplittingorbroadeninginelectricfieldsoccurs,butitisasymmetricallinesplittingthatindicatesthe
presenceofanelectricfield,incontrasttothesymmetriclinesplittinginmagneticfields.

Further,electricfieldlinebroadeningissensitivetothemassoftheelementsemittinglight(thelighterelements
beingreadilybroadenedorsplit,andheavierelementslesssoaffected),whileZeeman(magneticfield)
broadeningisindifferenttomass.

AsymmetricbrightlinesplittingorbroadeningiscalledtheStarkeffect,afterJohannesStark(18741957).

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Spectrographiclinebroadeningofhelium
increaseswiththestrengthoftheelectricfieldthroughwhichitpasses.
Heavierelementsexhibitlesslinesplittingthanlighterones.
Imagecredit:JournaloftheFranklinInstitute,1930

Anotherwayinwhichwecandetectelectricfieldsisbyinferencefromthebehaviorofchargedparticles,
especiallythosethatareacceleratedtohighvelocities,andtheexistenceofelectromagneticradiationsuchas
Xraysinspace,whichwehavelongknownfromEarthboundexperiencearegeneratedbystrongelectricfields.
ElectriccurrentsinlowdensityplasmasinspaceoperatelikefluorescentlightsorevacuatedCrookesTubes.

Inaweakcurrentstate,theplasmaisdarkandradiateslittlevisiblelight(althoughcold,thinplasmacanradiate
alotintheradioandfarinfraredwavelengths).Ascurrentincreases,plasmaentersaglowmode,radiatinga
modestamountofelectromagneticenergyinthevisiblespectrum.

Thisisvisibleintheimageattheendofthischapter.Whenelectricalcurrentbecomesveryintenseina
plasma,theplasmaradiatesinthearcmode.Otherthanscale,thereislittlesignificantdifferencebetween
lightningandtheradiatingsurfaceofastar'sphotosphere.
Thismeans,ofcourse,thatalternativeexplanationsfortheseeffectsarealsopossible,atleastintheory.

TheGravityModeloftenassumesthattheweakforceofgravitymultipliedbysupernaturaldensitiesthatare
hypothesizedtomakeupblackholesorneutronstarscreatesthesetypesofeffect.Ormaybeparticlesare
acceleratedtonearlightspeedbysupernovaeexplosions.

Thequestioniswhether"multipliedgravity"orlabtestableelectromagnetismismoreconsistentwith
observationsthattheUniverseiscomposedofplasma.
TheElectricModelarguesthatelectricaleffectsarenotjustlimitedtothosepartsofthesolarsystemthat
spacecrafthavebeenabletoreach.TheElectricModelsupposesthatsimilarelectricaleffectsalsooccur
outsidethesolarsystem.

Afterall,itwouldbeoddifthesolarsystemwastheonlyplaceintheUniversewhereelectricaleffectsdooccur
inspace.

2.8TheExtentofElectromagneticFieldsinSpace
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IntheGravityModel,onlystaticmagneticfieldsarethoughttohaveanyeffectinspace.

TheGravityModeladoptsthesimplifyingassumptionthatelectricityplaysnosignificantpartinthedynamicsof
theUniverseandthatmagneticfieldsare'frozenin'totheplasmaanidearepudiatedbytheNobelprize
winner,HannesAlfvn,whofirstproposedit.IntheGravityModel,theforceofgravityrulesthebehaviorofthe
cosmos.
Bycontrast,intheElectricmodel,themagneticfieldsinspacederivefromelectriccurrents.

IntheElectricModel,thecomplexinteractionsamongelectriccurrents,magneticfields,electricfields,and
chargeseparationdeeplyinfluencethebehaviorofmatterandenergeticeventsthroughouttheUniverse.

TheVeilNebula,NGC6960,
withitsgauzy,glowingfilamentaryplasmacurrents
andcurrentsheetsspanningthelightyears.
Imagecredit:T.A.Rector,UniversityofAlaska,Anchorage,
andKittPeakWIYN0.9mtelescope/NOAO/AURA/NSF

BacktoContents

Chapter3Plasma
October25,2011

3.1IntroducingPlasma
Itisknownthatspaceisfilledwithplasma.Infact,plasmaisthemostcommontypeofmatterintheuniverse.

Itisfoundinawiderangeofplacesfromfire,neonlights,andlightningonEarthtogalacticandintergalactic
space.Theonlyreasonthatwearenotmoreaccustomedtoplasmaisthatmankindlivesinathinbiosphere
largelymadeupofsolids,liquids,andgasestowhichoursensesaretuned.Forexample,wedon'texperience
fireasaplasmaweseeabrightflameandfeelheat.

Onlyscientificexperimentscanshowusthatplasmaisactuallypresentintheflame.
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Whileplasmastudiesmayfocus
onasinglesubjectsuchasfusionenergyproduction,
theunderstandingofhowtheUniverseoperates
alsoawaitsthestudentwithawiderinterest.
Imagecredit:DOEPrincetonPlasmaPhysicsLabPeterGinter
"Plasmaisacollectionofchargedparticlesthatrespondscollectivelytoelectromagneticforces"
(fromthefirstparagraphinPhysicsofthePlasmaUniverse,AnthonyPeratt,SpringerVerlag,1992).

Aplasmaregionmayalsocontainaproportionofneutralatomsandmolecules,aswellasbothchargedand
neutralimpuritiessuchasdust,grainsandlargerbodiesfromsmallrockybodiestolargeplanetsand,of
course,stars.
Thedefiningcharacteristicisthepresenceofthefreecharges,thatis,theionsandelectronsandanycharged
dustparticles.Theirstrongresponsetoelectromagneticfieldscausesbehavioroftheplasmawhichisvery
differenttothebehaviorofanunionizedgas.

Ofcourse,allparticleschargedandneutralrespondtoagravityfield,inproportiontoitslocalintensity.As
mostoftheUniverseconsistsofplasma,locationswheregravitationalforcedominatesthatof
electromagnetismarerelativelysparse.
Becauseofitsuniqueproperties,plasmaisusuallyconsideredtobeaphaseofmatterdistinctfromsolids,
liquids,andgases.Itisoftencalledthe"fourthstateofmatter"although,asitsstateisuniversallythemost
common,itcouldbethoughtofasthe"first"stateofmatter.
Thechartbelowiscommonlyusedtoindicatehowstateschangefromathermalpointofview.

Thehigherthetemperature,thehigheruptheenergyladderwithtransitionsupwardanddownwardasindicated.
However,ittakesaveryhighthermalenergytoionizematter.Thereareothermeansaswell,andanionized
statewithchargeimbalancecanbeinducedandmaintainedatalmostanytemperature.
Asolidsuchasametalelectricalcable,onceitisconnectedinanelectricalcircuitwithasufficientlyhigh
electricalvoltagesource(batterypowerplant)willhaveitselectronsseparatedfromthemetalnuclei,tobe
movedfreelyalongthewireasacurrentofchargedparticles.
Abeakerofwaterwithabitofmetallicsalt,suchassodiumchloride,isreadilyionized.Ifanelectricvoltageis
appliedviaapositiveandanegativewire,thehydrogenandoxygenatomscanbedriventotheoppositely
chargedwiresandevolveasthegaseousatomstheyareatroomtemperature.

Suchstable,neutralstatesareapartofanelectricuniverse,butthisGuidewillfocusmoreoninvestigatingthe
stateofplasmaandelectriccurrentsatlargerscales,inspace.
Amolecularcloudofverycoldgasanddustcanbeionizedbynearbyradiatingstarsorcosmicrays,withthe
resultingionsandelectronstakingonorganizedplasmacharacteristics,abletomaintainchargeanddouble
layerscreatingchargeseparationandelectricalfieldswithverylargevoltagedifferentials.Suchplasmawill
acceleratechargesandconductthembetterthanmetals.

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Plasmacurrentscanresultinsheetsandfilamentaryforms,twoofthemanymorphologiesbywhichthe
presenceofplasmacanbeidentified.

Fourstatesorphasesofmatter,andthetransitionsbetweenthem.
NotethesimilaritytotheearlyGreek"primaryelements"
ofEarth,water,airandfire.
Itisclearthatplasmaisthestatewiththehighestenergycontent.
Openquestion:Fromwhereinspacedoesthisenergycome?
Imagecredit:WikimediaCommons

Theproportionofionsisquantifiedbythedegreeofionization.Thedegreeofionizationofaplasmacanvary
fromlessthan0.01%upto100%,butplasmabehaviorwilloccuracrossthisentirerangeduetothepresence
ofthechargedparticlesandthechargeseparationtypicalofplasmabehavior.
Plasmaissometimesreferredtomerelyasan"ionizedgas".

Whiletechnicallycorrect,thisterminologyisincompleteandoutdated.Itisusedtodisguisethefactthat
plasmaseldombehaveslikeagasatall.Inspaceitdoesnotsimplydiffuse,butorganizesitselfintocomplex
forms,andwillnotrespondsignificantlytogravityunlesslocalelectromagneticforcesaremuchweakerthan
localgravity.

Plasmaisnotmatterinagasstateitismatterinaplasmastate.
TheSun'sejectionofhugemassesof"ionizedgas"(plasma)asprominencesandcoronalmassejections
againstitsownpowerfulgravityservestoillustratethissuccinctly.Thesolar'wind'isplasma,andconsistsof
movingchargedparticles,alsoknownaselectriccurrent.Itisnotafluid,ora'wind',ora'hotgas',toputitin
plainterms.

Useofotherwordsfromfluiddynamicsservestoobfuscatetherealityofelectriccurrentsandplasma
phenomenamorepowerfulthangravity,aroundusinspace,asfarawayaswecanobserve.

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Dogravitationalforcesexplainhowmillionsoftonsoffeatheryplasma
filamentsareacceleratedofftheSun'ssurfaceandintothesolarsystem?
Credit:farultravioletimagebyNASASolarDynamicsObservatory

3.2Ionization

Weknowthatspaceisfilledwithfields,avarietyofparticles,manyofwhicharecharged,andcollectionsof
particlesinsizefromatomstoplanetstostarsandgalaxies.

Neutralparticlesthatis,atomsandmoleculeshavingthesamenumberofprotonsaselectrons,andneglecting
antimatterinthisdiscussioncanbeformedfromoppositelychargedparticles.

Conversely,chargedparticlesmaybeformedfromatomsandmoleculesbyaprocessknownasionization.
Ifanelectrononenegativechargeisseparatedfromanatom,thentheremainingpartoftheatomisleftwith
apositivecharge.Theseparatedelectronandtheremainderoftheatombecomefreeofeachother.This
processiscalledionization.Thepositivelychargedremainderoftheatomiscalledanion.

Thesimplestatom,hydrogen,consistsofoneproton(itsnucleus)andoneelectron.Ifhydrogenisionized,then
theresultisonefreeelectronandonefreeproton.Asingleprotonisthesimplesttypeofion.
Ifanatomheavierthanhydrogenisionized,thenitcanloseoneormoreelectrons.

Thepositivechargeontheionwillbeequaltothenumberofelectronsthathavebeenlost.Ionizationcanalso
occurwithmolecules.Itcanalsoarisefromaddinganelectrontoaneutralatomormolecule,resultingina
negativeion.Dustparticlesinspaceareoftencharged,andthestudyofthephysicsofdustyplasmasisa
subjectofresearchinmanyuniversitiestoday.

Energyisrequiredtoseparateatomsintoelectronsandionsseethechartbelow.

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Firstionizationenergy
versuselements'atomicnumbers.
Imagecredit:WikimediaCommons,
editedtoaddtemperaturesalongtherightaxis

Noticetherepetitivepatternofthechart:analkalimetalhasarelativelylowionizationenergyortemperature
(easytoionize).

Asyoumovetotheright,increasingtheatomicnumberthenumberofprotonsinthenucleusoftheatomthe
energyrequiredtoionizeeach'heavier'atomincreases.Itpeaksatthenext"noblegas"atom,followedbya
dropatthenexthigheratomicnumber,whichwillbeametalagain.Thenthepatternrepeats.
Itisinterestingtonotethathydrogen,thelightestelement,isconsidereda'metal'inthiselectricandchemical
context,becauseithasasingleelectronwhichitreadily"givesup"initsouter(andonly)electronorbital.

Commonterminologyinastronomy,inthecontextofthecomponentelementsinstars,isthathydrogenand
heliumarethe'gases'andalltheotherelementspresentarecollectivelytermed'metals'.

3.3InitiatingandMaintainingIonization
Theenergytoinitiateandmaintainionizationcanbekineticenergyfromcollisionsbetweenenergeticparticles
(sufficientlyhightemperature),orfromsufficientlyintenseradiation.

Averagerandomkineticenergyofparticlesisroutinelyexpressedastemperature,andinsomeveryhigh
velocityapplicationsaselectronvolts(eV).Toconverttemperatureinkelvins(K)toeV,divideKby11604.5.
Conversely,multiplyavalueineVbythatnumbertogetthethermalequivalenttemperatureinK.
Thechartaboverepresentstheionizationenergyrequiredtostripthefirst,outermostelectronfromanatomor
molecule.

Subsequentelectronsaremoretightlyboundtothenucleusandtheirionizationrequiresevenhigherenergies.
Severallevelsofelectronsmaybestrippedfromatomsinextremelyenergeticenvironmentslikethosefoundin
andnearstarsandgalacticjets.

Importance:Theseenergeticplasmasareimportantsourcesofelectronsandionswhichcanbeacceleratedto
extremelyhighvelocities,sourcesofcosmicraysandsynchrotronradiationatmanywavelengths.Cosmicray
linkstocloudcoverpatternsaffectingourglobalclimatearereportedinHenrikSvensmark'sbook,TheChilling
Stars.
Temperatureisameasureofhowmuchrandomkineticenergytheparticleshave,whichisrelatedtotherateof
particlecollisionsandhowfasttheyaremoving.Thetemperatureaffectsthedegreeofplasmaionization.

Electricfieldsaligned(parallel)withlocalmagneticfields("forcefree"condition)canforminplasma.Particles
acceleratedinfieldalignedconditionstendtomoveinparallel,notrandomly,andconsequentlyundergo
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relativelyfewcollisions.Theconversionofparticletrajectoriesfromrandomtoparalleliscalled
"dethermalization".

Theyaresaidtohavealower"temperature"asaresult.Analogy:thinkofthevehicularmotionina"destruction
derby"as"hot",collisionpronerandomtraffic,andfreewayvehicularmovementinlanesas"cool",lowcollision,
parallelalignedtraffic.
Inacollisionbetweenanelectronandanatom,ionizationwilloccuriftheenergyoftheelectron(theelectron
temperature)isgreaterthantheionizationenergyoftheatom.Equally,ifanelectroncollideswithanion,itwill
notrecombineiftheelectronhasenoughenergy.

Onecanvisualizethisastheelectron'shavingavelocitygreaterthantheescapevelocityoftheion,soitisnot
capturedinanorbitaroundtheion.
Electrontemperaturesinspaceplasmascanbeintherangeofhundredstomillionsofkelvins.Plasmascan
thereforebeeffectiveatmaintainingtheirionizedstate.Achargeseparatedstateisnormalinspaceplasmas.

Othersourcesofionizationenergyincludehighenergycosmicraysarrivingfromotherregions,andhighenergy
or"ionizing"radiationsuchasintenseultravioletlightincidentupontheplasmafromnearbystarsorenergetic
radiativeprocessescreatedwithintheplasmaitself.

HighlyenergeticprocessesareobservedinnebulaNGC3603:
bluesupergiantSher25withtoroidalringandbipolarjets,uppercenter
arcandglowmodeplasmadischargesasemissionnebula(yellowwhiteareas)
clusteredhotblueWolfRayetandyoungOtypestars,
withelectricfilamentsandsheetsthroughoutthedustyplasmaregionsofthenebula.
Imagecredit:W.Brandner(JPL/IPAC),E.Grebel(U.ofWashington),
YouHuaChou(U.ofIllinois,UrbanaChampaign),
andNASAHubbleSpaceTelescope

InBigBangcosmology,itisthoughtthatthereisnotenoughenergyintheUniversetohavecreatedand
maintainedsignificantnumbersof"loose"ionsandelectronsthroughionization,andthereforetheycannotexist.

Ontheotherhand,wheneverionsandelectronscombineintoatoms,energyisgivenoff.IntheBigBang
Model,protonsandelectronsarethoughttohavebeencreatedbeforeatoms,soanenormousamountofenergy
musthavebeenreleasedduringtheformationoftheatomsintheUniverse.

ItseemspossiblethatiftheBigBangModeliscorrect,thenthisenergywouldstillbeavailabletoreionize
largenumbersofatoms.Alternatively,itseemspossiblethatnotallprotonsandelectronscombinedintoatoms
aftertheBigBang.
NotethattheElectricModeldoesnotrelyontheBigBangModel.

TheElectricModelsimplysaysthatwedetectionsandelectronseverywherewehavelookedsotheydoexist,
probablyinlargenumbers.Telescopeswhich"see"inhighenergyphotons,suchasChandra(Xray)andEIT,
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ExtremeUltravioletImagingTelescopeontheSOHOsolarobservationspacecraft,attesttothepresenceof
ionizingenergysourcesintheUniverse,nearandfar.

Tosuggestthatmobileionsandelectronscan'texistinlargenumbersbecause,theoretically,thereisn'tenough
energytohavecreatedthemisaserroneousasarguingthattheUniversecan'texistforthesamereason.

3.4PlasmaResearch

NorwegianscientistKristianBirkeland(18671917)
withhisTerella("LittleEarth),
anevacuatedelectromagneticplasmasimulator,
circa1904

AlthoughplasmamaynotbecommoninEarth'sbiosphere,itisseeninlightninginitsmanyforms,thenorthern
andsouthernauroras,sparksofstaticelectricity,sparkplugigniters,flamesofallsorts(seeChapter2,2.6),in
vacuumtubes(valves),inelectricarcwelding,electricarcfurnaces,electricdischargemachining,plasma
torchesfortoxicwastedisposal,andneonandotherfluorescentlightingtubesandbulbs.
Plasmabehaviorhasbeenstudiedextensivelyinlaboratoryexperimentsforover100years.

Thereisalargebodyofpublishedresearchonplasmabehaviorbyvariouslaboratoriesandprofessional
organizations,includingtheInstituteofElectricalandElectronicsEngineers(IEEE),whichisthelargest
technicalprofessionalorganizationintheworldtoday.

TheIEEEpublishesajournal,TransactionsonPlasmaScience.
WewillberelyingonmuchofthisresearchwhenexplainingplasmabehaviorintherestofthisGuide.Onepoint
tobearinmindisthatplasmabehaviorhasbeenshowntobescalableovermanyordersofmagnitude.

Thatis,wecantestsmallscaleexamplesofplasmainthelaboratoryandknowthattheobservableresultscan
bescaleduptothedimensionsnecessarytoexplainplasmabehaviorinspace.

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Experimentalplasmavacuumchamber
inDr.PaulBellan'sPlasmaPhysicsGrouplab
attheCaliforniaInstituteofTechnology,USAcirca2008.
Imagecredit:CalTech

3.5PlasmaandGases

Duetothepresenceofitschargedparticles,thatis,ions,electrons,andchargeddustparticles,cosmicplasma
behavesinafundamentallydifferentwayfromaneutralgasinthepresenceofelectromagneticfields.
Electromagneticforceswillcausechargedparticlestomovedifferentlyfromneutralatoms.Complexbehaviorof
theplasmacanresultfromcollectivemovementsofthiskind.
Asignificantbehavioralcharacteristicisplasma'sabilitytoformlargescalecellsandfilaments.Infact,thatis
whyplasmaissonamed,duetoitsalmostlifelikebehaviorandsimilaritiestocellcontainingbloodplasma.
Thecellularizationofplasmamakesitdifficulttomodelaccurately.

Theuseoftheterm'ionizedgas'ismisleadingbecauseitsuggeststhatplasmabehaviorcanbemodeledin
termsofgasbehavior,orfluiddynamics.Itcannotexceptincertainsimpleconditions.
AlfvnandArrheniusin1973wroteinEvolutionoftheSolarSystem:
"Thebasicdifference[ofapproachestomodeling]istosomeextentillustratedbytheterms
ionizedgasandplasmawhich,althoughinrealitysynonymous,conveydifferentgeneralnotions.

Thefirsttermgivesanimpressionofamediumthatisbasicallysimilartoagas,especiallythe
atmosphericgaswearemostfamiliarwith.Incontrasttothis,aplasma,particularlyafullyionized
magnetizedplasma,isamediumwithbasicallydifferentproperties."

3.6Conductionofelectricity
Plasmacontainsdissociatedchargedparticleswhichcanmovefreely.

Rememberingthat,bydefinition,movingchargesconstituteacurrent,wecanseethatplasmacanconduct
electricity.Infact,asplasmacontainsbothfreeionsandfreeelectrons,electricitycanbeconductedbyeither
orbothtypesofcharge.
Bycomparison,conductioninametalisentirelyduetothemovementoffreeelectronsbecausetheionsare
boundintothecrystallattice.Thismeansplasmaisanevenmoreefficientconductorthanmetals,asboththe
electronsandtheircorrespondingionsareconsideredfreetomoveunderappliedforces.

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Theefficiencyofplasmaconductionincompactfluorescentlightshasrapidlyreplacedmostmetalfilament
(resistanceheating)lightsources

3.7ElectricalResistanceofPlasmas

IntheGravityModel,plasmaisoftenassumedforsimplicitytobeaperfectconductorwithzeroresistance.

However,allplasmashaveasmallbutnonzeroresistance.Thisisfundamentaltoacompleteunderstandingof
electricityinspace.Becauseplasmahasasmallnonzeroresistance,itisabletosupportweakelectricfields
withoutshortcircuiting.
Theelectricalconductivityofamaterialisdeterminedbytwofactors:thedensityofthepopulationofavailable
chargecarriers(theionsandelectrons)inthematerialandthemobility(freedomofmovement)ofthesecarriers.
Inspaceplasma,themobilityofthechargecarriersisextremelyhighbecause,duetotheverylowoverall
particledensityandgenerallylowiontemperatures,theyexperienceveryfewcollisionswithotherparticles.

Ontheotherhand,thedensityofavailablechargecarriersisalsoverylow,whichlimitsthecapacityofthe
plasmatocarrythecurrent.
Electricalresistanceinplasma,whichdependsontheinverseoftheproductofthechargemobilityandthe
chargedensity,thereforehasasmallbutnonzerovalue.
Becauseamagneticfieldforceschargedparticlesmovingacrossthefieldtochangedirection,theresistance
acrossamagneticfieldiseffectivelymuchhigherthantheresistanceinthedirectionofthemagneticfield.This
becomesimportantwhenlookingatthebehaviorofelectriccurrentsinplasma.
Althoughplasmaisaverygoodconductor,itisnotaperfectconductor,orsuperconductor.

3.8CreationofChargeDifferences
Overalargeenoughvolume,plasmatendstohavethesamenumberofpositiveandnegativechargesbecause
anychargeimbalanceisreadilyneutralizedbythemovementofthehighenergyelectrons.

Sothequestionarises,howcandifferentlychargedregionsexist,ifplasmaissuchagoodconductorandtends
toneutralizeitselfquickly?
Onasmallscale,oftheorderoftensofmetersinaspaceplasma,naturalvariationswilloccurasaresultof
randomvariationsinelectronmovements,andthesewillproducesmalladjacentregionswhereneutralityis
temporarilyviolated.
Onalargerscale,positiveandnegativechargesmovinginamagneticfieldwillautomaticallybeseparatedto
somedegreebythefieldbecausethefieldforcespositiveandnegativechargesinoppositedirections.This
causesdifferentlychargedregionstoappearandtobemaintainedaslongastheparticlescontinuetomovein
themagneticfield.
Separatedchargeresultsinanelectricfield,andthiscausesmoreaccelerationofionsandelectrons,againin
oppositedirections.Inotherwords,assoonassomesmallinhomogeneitiesarecreated,thisrapidlyleadsto
thestartofmorecomplexplasmabehavior.
MovingthroughJupiter'sintensemagneticfieldcreatesstrongchargeseparation(voltagedifferential)anda
resultingelectricalcurrentinacircuitofsome2trillionwattspowerflowingbetweenIoandJupiter'spolarareas
Overallscales,thesignaturefilamentationandcellularizationbehaviorofplasmacreatesthinlayerswherethe
chargesareseparated.Althoughthelayersthemselvesarethin,theycanextendovervastareasinspace.

3.9ImportantThingstoRememberAboutPlasmaBehavior
Theessentialpointtobearinmindwhenconsideringspaceplasmaisthatitoftenbehavesentirelyunlikeagas.
Thechargedparticleswhicharethedefiningfeatureofaplasmaareaffectedbyelectromagneticfields,which
theparticlesthemselvescangenerateandmodify.
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Inparticular,plasmaformscellsandfilamentswithinitself,whichiswhyitcametobecalledplasma,andthese
changethebehavioroftheplasma,likeafeedbackloop.
Plasmabehaviorisalittlelikefractalbehavior.Botharecomplexsystemsarisingfromcomparativelysimple
rulesofbehavior.Unlikefractals,though,plasmaisalsoaffectedbyinstabilities,whichaddfurtherlayersof
complexity.
AnytheoreticalormathematicalmodeloftheUniversethatdoesnottakeintoaccountthatcomplexity,isgoing
tomissimportantaspectsofthesystem'sbehaviorandfailtomodelitaccurately.
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