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Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby MGmirkin » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:40 pm

jjohnson wrote:It would be useful to find that there are data which support evidence of there being electric currents incident upon the moon which cause the hot spots, and which create the fields which discharge surface or near-surface materials into space.

"Dear Michio..."

Are you implying there is not data to support this? ;o] Sure some of it's anecdotal, but you can certainly connect the dots easily enough...

(Electrically Charged Particles Found in Enceladus' Plumes) ... us-plumes/

The CAPS instrument is designed to detect charged gas (plasma), but its measurements in the plume revealed tiny ice grains whose signatures could only be present if they were electrically charged.

The particles have both positive and negative electrical charges, and the mix of the charges varied as the Cassini spacecraft crossed the plume.

They claim the charging of dust grains MAY have something to do with triboelectric charging as grains "bump together" coming out of the purported geysers. Purely speculative, of course.
“What are particularly fascinating are the bursts of dust that CAPS detects when Cassini passes through the individual jets in the plume” says Jones. “Each jet is split according to charge though”, adds Arridge, “Negative grains are on one side, and positive ones on the other”.

That is to say, the plumes are CHARGE SEPARATED. Interesting, since according to pseudo-skeptics, charges should be "instantly neutralized" or something close to it. Curious then that the plumes don't follow said trend and appear to REMAIN charge separated. And what do separated charges mean? Electric fields. Perhaps of low intensity... Depends on just how dense the plumes are and the degree of "charge separation," I'd guess?

Enceladus' "cometary plumes" composition might also arise similarly to that of comets through similar action, if one considers the Electric Comet Model to be the proper model for the production of cometary comas, jets and tails.

(Cassini 'tastes' organic brew at Saturn’s geyser moon) ... 3EF_0.html

"A completely unexpected surprise is that the chemistry of Enceladus, what's coming out from inside, resembles that of a comet," said Hunter Waite, principal investigator for the Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

"Enceladus is by no means a comet. Comets have tails and orbit the sun, and Enceladus's activity is powered by internal heat while comet activity is powered by sunlight. Enceladus's brew is like carbonated water with an essence of natural gas," said Waite.

They're, of course, quick to disbelieve their own observations and wave them away because, how could a moon act like a comet? In the Standard Model, it would seem there's just no way. So, for now, comets remain "dirty snowballs" / "icy dirtballs" and Enceladus has "geysers" in their eyes... Never the twain shall meet.

Of course, one COULD make a certain anecdotal case for the EU interpretation of things by looking at the behavior of the Io-Jupiter interaction, which I tend to think might offer us an 'in' to what's going on with the Enceladus-Saturn interaction.

At Io, they already KNOW there's a current flowing between Io and Jupiter (they call it a "flux tube"; a nice inert, non-threatening name, no?)

(The Io "Dynamo")

[Voyager 1's] magnetometer very clearly detected the signature of a current of about a million amperes.

(Jupiter's Io Generates Power and Noise, But No Magnetic Field)

As [Galileo] flew near Io's poles in August and October [2001?], the density of charged particles
it was passing through suddenly increased about tenfold when the spacecraft crossed the path of a magnetic-field connection between Io and Jupiter, reported Dr. Donald Gurnett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

"You hear a whistling sound from Jupiter's radio emissions, then, just when you go over the pole, you hear a tremendous roar that starts abruptly, then stops abruptly," Gurnett said. "It's like the noise from a huge electrical power generator." Io actually generates as much wattage as about 1,000 nuclear power plants.

The region of increased density is where electrons and ions come up from Io's tenuous atmosphere and follow a "flux tube" where field lines from Jupiter's strong magnetic field intersect Io. In a 1999 flyby of Io, Galileo had provided some indication of the higher density over the moon's poles. This year's two Io flybys were the first to show that those denser areas coincide with the magnetic-field flux tube, Gurnett said.

Galileo detected electrical currents flowing along magnetic field lines above two areas of volcanic activity on Io, Kivelson said. Material shot high from eruptions is apparently affecting conductivity more than 100 kilometers (about 60 miles) above the surface.

"If this is the mechanism that's producing the currents, it may help us in the search for active plumes," she said.

But, *IS* that the mechanism for current production? Or is it a byproduct of the currents, as might be inferred from the Dessler / Peratt paper.

So, it seems that there are electric currents measured directly over the regions they're calling "volcanoes" as well as an "acoustic roar" (which they indicate implies Io's generating wattage like a son of a gun) over the pole of Io where "electrons and ions come up from Io's tenuous atmosphere and follow a 'flux tube' where field lines from Jupiter's magnetic field intersect Io." Sounds distinctly like "field-aligned" currents (AKA, Birkeland currents), no?

Wikipedia sums it up well:

(Electric Power -- Circuits)

The term wattage is used colloquially to mean "electric power in watts."

Take it as you will.

(New, Unexpected Spots Found on Jupiter) ... n-jupiter/

The researchers propose that a beam of electrons is being transferred from one hemisphere to another, causing the fainter spots.

The image below illustrates the different mechanisms creating the auroral spots. The large torus around Jupiter is the plume of sulfur created by Io. The blue line between Io and Jupiter is where it is connected by the ionized sulfur, drawn in and funneled by Jupiter's magnetosphere. The red lines illustrate the possible electron beams connecting the poles, which create the newly-discovered spots.


So, Io's perhaps caught up in an electron beam between one and the other hemisphere of Jupiter... AND it's roaring like 1000 electric generators above the pole. AND electric currents have been detected over the so-called "volcanoes" (Dessler / Peratt liken them to a plasma focus or "plasma gun").

Is it quite possible that something similar is happening with an Enceladus-Saturn interaction? Might that also explain the anomalous / unexpected heat signature at the pole of Enceladus?

(Enceladus Temperature Map) ... 06432.html

This image shows the surprise that startled Cassini scientists on the composite infrared spectrometer team when they got their first look at the infrared (heat) radiation from the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus.

There is a dramatic warm spot centered on the pole...

They of course attributed it to "internal heat," however they justified that to themselves. It's not "warm" by any standard. But the pole is about 10 Kelvin warmer then the rest of the surface and 15 Kelvin warmer than pre-existing models predicted.

Is it possible that joule heating or some other process is warming the pole slightly?

Recent flybys of Cassini have continued to narrow down the regions that are "hot" spots. ... ageId=3861 ... enceladus/

A new map that combines heat data with visible-light images shows a 40-kilometer (25-mile) segment of the longest tiger stripe, known as Baghdad Sulcus. The map illustrates the correlation, at the highest resolution yet seen, between the geologically youthful surface fractures and the anomalously warm temperatures that have been recorded in the south polar region. The broad swaths of heat previously detected by the infrared spectrometer appear to be confined to a narrow, intense region no more than a kilometer (half a mile) wide along the fracture.

In these measurements, peak temperatures along Baghdad Sulcus exceed 180 Kelvin ( – 92 C, -135 F), and may be higher than 200 Kelvin (- 73 C, -100 F). These warm temperatures probably result from heating of the fracture flanks by the warm, upwelling water vapor that propels the ice-particle jets seen by Cassini's cameras. Cassini scientists will be testing this idea by investigating how well the hot spots correspond with the jet sources.

Is the hot spotty nature of the heat signatures evidence of "geysers" and "tidal heating" or of Thornhill's suggestion that St. Elmo's Fire / corona discharges are the likely culprits for the increased temperatures?

(Enceladus, comets and electric moons)

The crucial discovery is the “completely unexpected surprise” of the similarity of the chemistry of the jets of comets and Enceladus. It should not have been a surprise. The jets of both are an electric discharge phenomenon, heating the surface. The matter in the jets is coming from the surface and not the interior.

it is characteristic of cathode jets to erode the sharp edges of a crater. It is also characteristic of a corona discharge to form jets spaced roughly equally ... It may be possible to confirm equal spacing of some of the jets on Enceladus. Higher resolution images of that moon should show a similar pattern of hot spots along the “tiger stripes” where the enhanced heat output is detected. Meanwhile, Io is a living laboratory of the electric discharge machining of planetary surfaces.

(Enceladus' Cometary Plumes)

it seems that Enceladus is connected to Saturn’s circuitry. There is no need to postulate special and unlikely conditions inside Enceladus to explain its plumes. Like Io, Triton, and Europa in the past, Enceladus is undergoing electric discharge activity on its surface too. The tiny moon is geologically “cold and inactive” because internal geological forces are not driving the plumes. The energy of the plumes is being supplied externally by electricity.

Electric discharge machining of planetary surfaces is the most powerful sculpting force in Nature.

Guess it all depends on which explanation you find most likely... Cold moon with some mysterious internal heat reservoir that finds its way out at the poles or an explanation involving currents inflowing at the poles (like we pretty much already know they do at Io) and doing a bit of electrical discharge machining of the surface...

Personally I think the answer is pretty obvious. But, perhaps harder for some to accept...

~Michael Gmirkin
"The purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the uninvestigated." ~Dr. Stephen Rorke
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." ~Gibson's law
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby jjohnson » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:01 am

Hi, Mike,
I was being too wry, I guess, and thinking I had noted that that was precisely what the plasma spectrometer was showing, despite the mainstream interpretations of other mechanisms. Moving charged particles (relative to Enceladus's surface) do indeed constitute a current. Even weakly ionized plasmas can carry currents, and in this case the amount of energy needed to accelerate light protons and electrons to the escape velocity needed to put them into the e-ring is not that great. That there are large scale electromagnetic disturbances on and around Saturn are without question - those aurora images are indication enough. What drives the current is the interesting question. Enceladus orbits through Saturn's magnetic field, which might create the necessary mechanisms, forcing charged particle discharge (both negative and positive) which likely recombine in the e-ring which (my guess) is largely charge neutral.

As the lady should have said when asked, "...and what do those turtles stand on?" : "Why, sir, it's electricity supporting them, all the way down!"
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby jjohnson » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:06 am

BTW, I looked up Enceladus's escape velocity and it's around 240 m/s. That's practically a drift current velocity.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby junglelord » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:50 am

Excellent post Mike, thanks so much.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby solrey » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:23 am

Great comprehensive post there Michael.
Thanks for posting the escape velocity j. You're right about just needing a weak current to achieve that.

This fits right in with some rough calculations I did on this thread.
Here's the part relevant to escape velocity.
The lowest energy electron beam detected of 10 eV would equate to ion temperatures @(1eV) of 11,604 K
The low-midrange of 100 eV gives ion temps (@10eV) of 116,040 K
1 eV will accelerate an electron to 420 km/s
Or an ion to 0.021 km/s (100 eV would be 2.1 km/s or 7,560 km/h...or about twice the speed of a bullet.
The electron beams detected ranged from 10's of eV to several 100 eV.

That is for negative ions, btw, the positive ions were three orders of magnitude more energetic. My guess is due to Saturns strong magnetic field keeping +ion energies higher than electron or -ion energies. Something that Eric Lerner applied while developing focus fusion with a DPF.

So the detected electron energies were at least 10eV (equals 1eV for ions) up to several 100eV, therefore the minimum ion velocity (@1eV) would be around 210m/s (0.021km/s), just 30m/s shy of escape velocity around 240m/s. The average, or mean, ion velocities are much higher than escape velocity. So while the majority of them escape, the lower energy and heavier ions drift back to the surface, likely getting neutralized along the way, like a light mist of snow. The ice is probably a mix of H2O, CO2 and hydro-carbons like CH4.

It's all so elegantly explained by EU theory and there's enough data to publish a paper too.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby solrey » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:43 pm

Oops, I buggered moving the decimal place. :oops:

...therefore the minimum ion velocity (@1eV) would be around 210m/s (0.021km/s), just 30m/s shy of escape velocity around 240m/s. The average, or mean, ion velocities are much higher than escape velocity

That should be around 21m/s (.021km/s) at the minimum -ion energies of 1ev, while 10ev at 210m/s is around the escape velocity and the -ions into the several 10eV would exceed the 240m/s escape velocity.

So while the majority of them escape, the lower energy and heavier ions drift back to the surface

That's still true but based on the accurate figure of 21m/s, there would be more ions available (between 21m/s and 240m/s) that drift back to coat the surface in ice. The corrected figure is probably a better fit with the actual ratio of ions that drift back as ice and the ions that escape.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby jjohnson » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:09 pm

So, Solrey, if we can clear up where the electrical current comes from (in nearby terms, not the Orion Arm) we can pretty well predict (in arrears) what drives the ionized jets out to the e-ring. Ah, if I had only ever written a paper in my life (not counting English papers)!
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby jjohnson » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:19 pm

Here is a parallel train of thought, while I'm on this subject:

The presence of a ring current around Saturn was first suggested in the early 1980s following magnetic anomalies observed by the Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Ring currents are also found around Earth and Jupiter. They are caused when plasma becomes trapped between mirror points on magnetic field lines, similar to the Van Allen radiation belts surrounding Earth, and gradually drifts around the planet. The aggregate motion of all of the hot ions distributed around the equator generates an electric current.
On Saturn, the source of the plasma is material from the rings and gas vented by geysers on the moon Enceladus, which is subsequently ionized and accelerated. The MIMI images show that the ring current occupies a region of the equatorial plane between 540 000 kilometres and 1 080 000 kilometres from the centre of Saturn. They also show that Saturn’s ring current is persistently asymmetric (unlike Earth’s), and that the asymmetry rotates nearly rigidly with Saturn.
MIMI, which was developed by an international team led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Maryland, has three distinct sensors that allow it to "visualize the invisible" and show the plasma and radiation belts in Saturn’s environment in an image.

Maybe the geysers eject the water first and then it is ionized and accelerated up and dragged into the E-ring, but maybe it is ionized at and below the surface first by current sheets within Enceladus, and is ejected in the ionized state already.

Voyager 1 found that Enceladus orbited in the densest part of Saturn's diffuse E ring, indicating a possible association between the two… Enceladus is one of only three outer solar system bodies (along with Jupiter's moon Io and Neptune's moon Triton) where active eruptions have been observed. Analysis of the outgassing suggests that it originates from a body of sub-surface liquid water, which along with the unique chemistry found in the plume, has fueled speculations that Enceladus may be important in the study of astrobiology.

Okay, now we know that Enceladus orbits in the plasma ring current, also known as the E-ring. The ring current’s charged particles rotate rigidly with Saturn (unlike her rings, which rotate as a Keplerian disk, outer rings slower than inner ones). Enceladus’s orbital period is 1.37 days, while Saturn’s revolution (“day”), and by extension, the plasma ring’s) is about 10-1/2 hours. Hence, Encaladus is moving through a magnetic field created by the moving charges in the E-ring.

From NASA, via BBC, 2010:
Cassini has already detected sodium in the plumes - a signature of the dissolved salts you would expect to find in any mass of liquid water that had been in contact with rock deep within the world for a long period.
The latest observations were made using the Cassini plasma spectrometer (Caps). The instrument was originally flown to acquire data on Saturn's magnetic environment, by measuring the density, flow velocity and temperature of ions and electrons that enter the instrument.

So, if you have a sphere consisting frozen or liquid salt water which is conductive, and you drag it through a plasma electric current, what happens? Does charge build up on the sphere and have to be discharged to maintain voltage parity within the current? Are the jets signatures of the largest Van de Graaff generator we’ve seen yet? No visible lightning since the voltage levels may force dark mode operation, but plenty of charged particles ejected into space.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby solrey » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Here's a good paper. Jupiter Io system: A unique case of moon planet interaction.

Check out the last section:
An analogy of the Io-Jupiter system is now being applied to the astrophysical and cosmic objects. A conducting body traversing a magnetic field produces an induced electric field. When the circuit is closed, a current will set up, resulting in resistive dissipation. The Jupiter-Io system therefore operates as a unipolar inductor. Another potential cosmic unipolar inductor could be a planet orbiting around a magnetic white dwarf. These systems have a similar configuration, with the differences being their orbital period and separation, the masses and radii of the two components, and the magnetic moment of the magnetic body.

In fact the generation of electric current between the magnetic object and non-magnetic body result in heating of the atmosphere/surface of the magnetic object where the current touches it and would result in production of emission in the polar region of the magnetic object. This could be one way of revealing a planet around a white
dwarf that is difficult to detect otherwise.

Ref [61] proposed that binary stars consisting of a magnetic and a non-magnetic white dwarf can also be a cosmic unipolar inductor. In this model the luminosity is caused by resistive heating of the stellar atmospheres due to induced currents driven within the binary. This source of heating is found to be sufficient to account for the observed x-ray luminosity of the RX J1914+24, and provides an explanation for its puzzling characteristics.

Close binaries of this type can have short period and secondaries larger than the planet-size bodies. Provided that the spin of the magnetic white dwarf and the orbital rotation are not synchronized (so that there is a relative motion between the secondary and the magnetic field lines of the primary) and that the density of the plasma between the white dwarf is high enough, the unipolar inductor will operate.

Seems this would apply to Enceladus as well and the "geysers" are likely a result of the induced currents driven into the surface of Enceladus, with all the concomitant sputtering, etching, particle acceleration, localized heating, coronal discharge and energy to drive electro-chemical reactions.

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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby jjohnson » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:21 pm

How do you find such good papers! Do you happen to know the date published? I sure don't remember seeing this blared all over the NASA Science web site. I think, based on about only a year's looking at these things, that NASA actually has a lot of pragmatic people looking into real plasma physics and incorporating them into some of their explanations in what might be considered a "controlled leakage" sort of fashion. That way, they can always come back and say, "See, we were doing the EU thing well before...whatever." I expect to see more of this thing, and if the explanations work for them consistently it will be the photomultiplier tube all over again.

What is interesting is the scaling analogy. Saturn has a family of moons, and rings, and they all move in a Keplerian disk, with shorter periods close to Saturn and longer periods as you move farther out. This is a more or less gravity-driven system, at least on the face of it. But then you get to the E-ring. This is a diffuse plasma torus, with the densest part centered on Enceladus's orbit (which is nearly circular and in a 2:1 resonance with Dione, farther out. The E-ring rotates as a hard disk, like a galaxy, with a "flat rotation curve". The E-ring has the same sidereal rotational period as does Saturn, 32.9h, or 118387s. That just happens to be (Kepler's 3rd Law) the rotational period of Enceladus at its radial distance. The E-ring extends from about 180,000 to about 640,000 km from the center of Saturn, but the entire mass rotates rigidly with Enceladus's orbital period. The inference I make from this is that a diffuse ionized (plasma) disk rotates rigidly with respect to its center of rotation, but a neutral, discrete arrangement of bodies will exhibit a Keplerian pattern of rotation, with periods increasing proportionally to the cube of the average orbital radius from the primary mass, and each will influence the other to some extent or other gravitationally.

If that tends to be the case, then a galaxy's rotational behavior exemplifies the characteristics of its being that of a plasma configuration rather than a discrete neutral gravitating body set of orbitals, and galaxies' behaviors should be better characterized by the physics of cosmic plasmas than simply those of gravity. Gravity is there, to be sure, but it is swamped out rather quickly when the entire galactic disc behaves under the influence of the much stronger forces created among the diffused set of charged bodies.

Stars are made up of plasma (even NASA scientists tell us that) and there are hundreds of billions of plasma stars operating in a given galaxy, with connecting Birkeland currents which may be a light year in diameter. Locally a star exerts both gravitic and E/M forces upon its family, and depending on which part of its family we are looking at, one or the other of these forces may predominate. But among stars separated by light years, gravity forces between stars can be safely neglected in the presence of the much longer range influences of their and their connecting plasma currents' electromagnetic forces.

Interesting, the graphic lessons which can be spun out of one simple planet and moon system! And as you say, Jupiter and Io aren't so different, and possibly Uranus and Miranda, as well.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby scotts » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:20 pm

I wonder if the water ions are created in the same manner as suggested for comets and really there is no water. Except here the process is way more powerful.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby solrey » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:35 am

I wonder if the water ions are created in the same manner as suggested for comets and really there is no water. Except here the process is way more powerful.

That's one factor to consider. Another is composition. Perhaps Enceladus has an abundance of oxygen rich rock like Ilmenite.
Oxygen Rich Moon Minerals

The first high-resolution ultraviolet (UV) images ever taken of the moon have identified several promising deposits of ilmenite. The mineral could provide a crucial oxygen source for future manned lunar missions.

Ilmenite is composed of titanium and iron oxide, or rust, and contains oxygen that is relatively easy to extract.

Speaking at a press conference today, Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said, "Our initial findings support the potential existence of some unique varieties of oxygen-rich glassy soils [in certain lunar regions]."

There are several known ways to extract oxygen from ilmenite. Researchers have used electric current, heat, and other gasses.

There are electro-chemical reactions taking place place on a surface immersed in the solar plasma stream supplying free hydrogen ions (protons). The relative abundances of the by-products will be governed by the chemical composition of the materials involved in the reactions. The one common factor in the solar system is the solar plasma stream supplying hydrogen ions, the variables are the density of said solar plasma, the chemical composition (related to electrical capacitance as well) and voltage potential.

In the case of Enceladus, it's immersed in the plasma torus, and moving through the magnetic field, of Saturn so it experiences a persistent and mostly constant voltage potential. That voltage potential is actually weak enough that a significant percentage of ions are not accelerated past escape velocity plus, due to protection from Saturn's magnetic field, it's not subject to the ion drag that pulls the water group molecules away from the surface as is the case on comets. Enceladus could have abundant oxygen-rich glassy soils, like ilmenite, and there might also be a concentration of it in the south polar region of the infamous tiger stripes. The pattern of the stripes is a result of the electromagnetic environment.

The Earth's moon experiences a hydration cycle that has been observed where water group molecules are created in reactions with lunar regolith (likely ilmenite, imo) and the solar wind.

It seems that Enceladus is somewhere between the Earth's moon with it's persistent weak hydration cycle, and a comets vigorous albeit short lived hydration cycle.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby StefanR » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:08 am

The Triton-Neptune plasma interaction


The Voyager 2 encounter with Neptune and Triton in August 1989 showed a large ionosphere at Triton. Subsequent studies have tried to explain the production of such high levels of ionization but have ignored the possible plasma dynamics originating from the interaction between Neptune's magnetosphere and Triton. This study applies knowledge gained from studying the solar wind-Venus interaction to this case. We find that observations made by Voyager 2 can be explained by downward convection of magnetospheric plasma into Triton's atmosphere, with the flow momentum transferred to the neutral atmosphere near an altitude of 650 km.

A Predicted Triton Plasma Torus in Neptune's Magnetosphere


We investigate the possibility of the formation of a plasma torus generated by the satellite Triton in the magnetosphere of Neptune. We solve a set of coupled differential equations that describe the evolution of material sputtered from the surface or atmosphere of Triton in the conditions likely to exist in an assumed Neptunian magnetosphere for various combinations of nitrogen and methane that may exist on Triton.

Plumes (or Geysers) One of the biggest surprises about Triton was the discovery of atmospheric plumes in the spotted southern hemisphere of Triton. These plumes reach heights of 8 kilometers and are blown laterally by winds in the extremely thin atmosphere (!). They can be traced for several hundred kilometers. The origin of these plumes is still a matter of debate. They may be the result of solar heating of a thin frozen nitrogen layer, or of melting of volatiles near the surface by internal heat.

Mass loss of N2 molecules from Triton by magnetospheric plasma interaction


Previous investigations of sputtering of molecular nitrogen from Triton's atmosphere lead to estimates of escape rates of about 1021 N2 molecules s−1. Here, the erosion of Triton's nitrogen atmosphere resulting from sputtering due to different plasma populations and particles from Neptune's magnetosphere is investigated. This investigation shows that sputtering from Triton's nitrogen atmosphere could lead to N2 escape rates during the plasma sheet crossing on the order of 5 × 1024 s−1. This calculation shows that sputtering of Triton's nitrogen atmosphere by magnetospheric particles is an efficient nonthermal escape mechanism, similar to Saturn's large satellite Titan, and is an additional important process for the power input of the Neptune aurora.

Stimulated desorption of atoms and molecules from bodies in the outer solar system

Laboratory data is needed on electronically-induced desorption from low-temperature solids: ices, organics, hydrated salts, glasses and certain minerals. Many bodies in the outer solar system are bombarded by relatively intense fluxes of fast ions and electrons as well as solar UV photons. This can cause both changes in their optical reflectance as well as desorption of atoms and molecules from their surfaces. Stimulated desorption produces Na and K 'atmospheres' above the 'rocky' surfaces of the moon and Mercury and H2O, H2 and O2 'atmospheres' about icy outer-solar system bodies. Since theses bodies contain other surface materials, direct detection by spacecraft or remote detection by telescopes of the desorbed atoms and molecules can be used, along with laboratory data, to determine the surface composition and geological processes occurring on distant bodies.
Since most small, outer solar system bodies, with the exception of Titan, have either no atmospheres or tenuous ones, their icy surfaces are exposed to the solar UV and to the local plasma causing desorption as well as physical and chemical alterations (Johnson, 1990; 1998). During the Voyager I tour of the outer solar system, W.L. Brown, L.J. Lanzerotti and colleagues at AT&T Bell Labs measured the ejection of molecules induced by energetic ion impact of ice. They discovered that the sputtering from low-temperature ices by fast, light ions is determined by the electronic excitations produced in the ice, rather than by knock-on collisions (Brown et al., 1978) and, hence, is an electronically-stimulated-desorption process. This exciting discovery opened a new field of study. Below the relevance of desorption to a few outer solar system bodies is described; for extended descriptions see Johnson (1990; 1996; 1998).

Style of Plasma Interaction

The type and strength of satellite/magnetospheric interaction depends on the satellite’s size, surface composition,
and electrical conductivity, the presence or absence of an internal magnetic field in the satellite, and the
density, composition, and speed of the interacting plasma. Based on these factors, three distinct types of interactions have been observed.

In the nonconducting type of satellite/plasma interaction, as in the case of Callisto,
the magnetospheric plasma slams into the satellite and is absorbed, but sputters some volatile material off the
satellite’s surface.
A second type of interaction, called the conducting-satellite/plasma interaction, is best illustrated by Io and
Europa. Because of a well-developed ionosphere at Io and large plasma pickup near Europa, most of the
magnetospheric plasma is diverted around the moons. Only a small fraction of the incoming plasma flux strikes
the moons and sputters volatile materials off the surface. The strong Alfvén wing currents generated in the
interaction are closed in the ionosphere of Jupiter where they generate visible footprints (see Figures 4.3 and 4.4).
The third type of interaction is epitomized by Ganymede, which generates its own internal magnetic field.58
Ganymede’s magnetic field is strong enough that it creates a minimagnetosphere of its own in Jupiter’s magnetosphere,
partially shielding the satellite from plasma bombardment. The interaction between Ganymede’s magnetosphere
and Jupiter’s magnetosphere is similar to the interaction between Earth’s magnetosphere and the solar
wind, in which magnetic reconnection plays a key role.
Curiously, the other three Galilean satellites were found not to have internal fields at present. However, it is
likely that some or all of the other large moons of the solar system were endowed with an internal magnetic field
at some time in their evolution.

Induced Fields

Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Magnetic observations from the vicinities of Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto
show that all three moons generate electromagnetic induction fields in response to the rotating field of Jupiter.59,60 The
magnetic signatures are consistent with the presence of subsurface electrically conducting shells in these bodies.
Detailed analyses for Europa and Callisto suggest that liquid subsurface oceans with thicknesses exceeding a few
kilometers could account for the enhanced subsurface conductivities.61 Geological and geophysical lines of
evidence are consistent with liquid subsurface oceans within Europa and Ganymede. However, the presence of
electromagnetic induction from geologically inactive Callisto was indeed a surprise.
Titan. The only spacecraft to make in situ observation of the interaction of Titan with Saturn’s magnetosphere was
Voyager 1, which flew through the plasma wake of Titan. No appreciable internal magnetic field was observed
(surface field strength <30 nT).62 The main pickup ion is N+, and the integrated surface pickup rate is ~1024 ions
per second. The geometry of the flyby was not suitable to infer the presence or absence of an electromagnetic
induction signature, so magnetic measurements cannot yet speak to the question of an ocean within Titan.
The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. -L.H.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby viscount aero » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:29 am

I find Kaku's glib and smug explanation of "gravity squeezing" laughable and negligent, as he sums it all up just like that, with the smiling and impressionable anchor person high-fiving him as if he's figured it all out. Kaku is sort of the voice of pop-astronomy today, a higher-profile physicist --with the layperson just in awe and amazement over whatever he says.

"Gravity squeezing" ..... LOL okay.

That's one of the dumbest explanations I've yet heard since this phenomenon was discovered by Cassini several years ago.
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Re: Michio Kaku: 'This Is a Game Changer'

Unread postby viscount aero » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:44 am

To add, years ago on I suggested (to virtually no responses), in a large thread about Enceladus, that the moon is probably acting as a large electrolyte, as Cassini had detected even then that the water was ionized. This evidence is unequivocally indicative of charge separation. In order to have ionized water, you must run a current through the water. This is done here on Earth in water ionization machines.

To restate this: negatively charged water ions present in the plumes EXACTLY requires an electric current to exist. There is no other way to create that other than by charge separation induced by electricity. To then skate over this, ignore it, overlook this is to blatantly leave the probable cause entirely unexamined. For a high profile physicist then get on national TV and never mention this is not only negligent but comes across as intentionally omitting the forensics that are present. Were this to be done at a crime scene, ie, blatant ignoring of all of the evidence seen and unseen, that investigator would be fired.
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