Electric Neptune

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: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby MGmirkin » Tue May 27, 2008 10:59 pm

Ohh great spaceball, teach me the ways of the Schwartz!

Love the images! And, by the by, one might assume that those bands should have little to do with seasonal / radiative heating effects at that distance (if I'm off base, let me know). Aside from the fact that they're at BOTH poles!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Can you say Birkeland's terella figure 248b?

(Chapter VI. On Possible Electric Phenomena in Solar Systems and Nebulae; near the top of the page)
http://www.plasma-universe.com/index.ph ... nd_Nebulae

We will now pass on to experiments that in my opinion have brought about the most important discoveries in the long chain of experimental analogies to terrestrial and cosmic phenomena that I have produced. In the experiments represented in figs. 248 a-e, there are some small white patches on the globe, which are due to a kind of discharge that, under ordinary circumstances, is disruptive, and which radiates from points on the cathode. If the globe has a smooth surface and is not magnetised, the disruptive discharges come rapidly one after another, and are distributed more or less uniformly all over the globe (see a). On the other hand, if the globe is magnetised, even very slightly, the patches from which the disruptive discharges issue, arrange themselves then in two zones parallel with the magnetic equator of the globe; and the more powerfully the globe is magnetised, the nearer do they come to the equator (see b, c, d). With a constant magnetisation, the zones of patches will be found near the equator if the discharge-tension is low, but far from the equator if the tension is high.

[Figure 248 (a-e)]


In layman's terms he said that an unmagnetized globe will have evenly distributed spots, as in Fig 248a. With even minimal magnetization, spots appear in band(s) parallel to the equator. The banding latitude varies with either the strength of magnetization or with the strength of current (discharge tension).

  • If the magnetization level is variable, but not the current, then the stronger the magnetization the closer the band(s) come to the equator, the weaker the magnetization the closer the band(s) come to the poles.
  • On the other hand, if the current is variable, but not the magnetization level, then the weaker the discharge current the closer the bands(s) come to the equator, the stronger the discharge current the closer the band(s) come to the poles.

What might this then tell us about Neptune? Perhaps either:

A) the magnetic field is non-variable and the discharge current is high enough to move the banding toward the poles, or

B) the discharge current is stable (at whatever current it is receiving, through whatever mechanism) but the magnetic field is proportionately weak enough that the discharge currents move toward the poles.

Really it seems like there's just some kind of relationship between the magnetization level, strength of discharge current and the position of the bands. IE, if the units of current are over some threshold per unit of magnetism, then the bands appear at the poles. Or, if the current is under that threshold, the bands migrate toward the equator...

So, I guess sat sums up my potential implications for Neptune... :D

*Yanks his Yoghurt doll's string*

"May the Schwartz be with you!"

Cheers,
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby MGmirkin » Tue May 27, 2008 11:14 pm

:shock:

Maybe I'm reading too much into this:

Image

But isn't that bright "swirl" to the bottom left and possibly a darker version at the upper right reminiscent of Birkeland as well?

We have previously seen how the continuous discharges round the magnetic cathode-globe in our experiments, could assume a shape that recalled Saturn's ring. These continuous discharges round the globe may, however, with higher gas-pressure in the almost exhausted vessel, take the form of two spirals, curved in the plane of the equator, issuing symmetrically from two diametrically opposite points on the globe.

The accompanying figure (Fig. 262) represents an experiment such as this with two such spirals. The photograph was obtained by accident, and I have seen still more interesting pictures appear, several of which I shall publish at some future time.


Granted, the swirl isn't playing "ring around the equator" with Neptune. But for some reason that comparison just kind of jumped out at me when I took a second look...

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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:22 am

Really it seems like there's just some kind of relationship between the magnetization level, strength of discharge current and the position of the bands. IE, if the units of current are over some threshold per unit of magnetism, then the bands appear at the poles. Or, if the current is under that threshold, the bands migrate toward the equator...

So, I guess sat sums up my potential implications for Neptune...


That would interesting to persue. I personally thought the twisted rope structure of the ring arc was quite revealing too.
Reminded me of some peculiar dolphin behaviour as seen in the Cymatics-thread and the by now well known rotatating donut structure in plasmas like in the plasma focus experiment. :?
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:57 am

Comparative Planetary Auroralogy (.DOC)
http://www.sp.ph.ic.ac.uk/~mgaland/ihy/Comparative_Planetary_Auroralogy_v3.doc
In the present document, we are trying to review auroral emissions observed in the Solar System and their mechanisms, as a basis for comparative planetary auroralogy.
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:59 am

Titre du document / Document title
Plasma temperature profiles in the magnetosphere of Neptune

Résumé / Abstract
It is generally agreed that plasma in the magnetosphere of Neptune is produced primarily in the vicinity of the orbit of Triton, near and beyond 14 RN, and is then transported inwards toward Neptune. The observed temperature profiles of protons and nitrogen ions, however, show an initial decrease with decreasing distance from Neptune, the expected increase from adiabatic compression not setting in until distances below 8 RN have been reached. We propose that cooling produced by collisions with atoms of a neutral hydrogen cloud that extends inward to 8 RN may explain this behavior, at least for protons. Inclusion of inelastic scattering in addition to the more commonly invoked charge exchange makes cooling sufficiently effective so that the observed temperatures may be accounted for with plausible values of neutral hydrogen density.

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3691811
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 4:03 am

The magnetosphere of Neptune: Hot plasmas and energetic particles

Abstract

A comprehensive overview is provided of the hot plasmas and energetic particles (>20 keV) observed in the vicinity of Neptune by the low energy charged particle (LECP) experiment on the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
The LECP data are ordered with respect to magnetic field data and models derived from the Voyager magnetometer experiment. The findings include the following: (1) Weakly enhanced ion and electron fluxes were observed at the position of the subsolar bow shock. (2) Magnetic-field-aligned, antiplanetward streaming ions and electrons were sporadically observed within the inbound (subsolar) and outbound (tail flank) magnetosheaths, and within the unique ‘‘pole-on’’ cusp region encountered during the inbound trajectory. (3) Tangential ion streaming was observed at the positions of both the inbound (dawnward streaming) and outbound (tailward streaming) magnetopauses. (4) A distinct ‘‘trans-Triton’’ ion population outside the minimum L shell of Triton is characterized by large angular anisotropies that show that heavy ions (presumably N+) are a likely constituent. This population is at least partially corotating with Neptune out to at least L=27 RN and is also characterized at times by cigar-shaped (field-aligned) pick angle distributions, possibly indicative of an interaction with a neutral torus. (5) Within the middle magnetospheric regions (inside Triton), pitch angle distributions have well-developed trapped or ‘‘pancake’’ shapes. Also, in contrast to Uranus, flux profiles show no evidence of substorm-generated azimuthal asymmetries. (6) Triton (and/or Triton-generated neutral gas) controls the outer bounds of the hot plasmas and energetic particles, although the mechanism of that control is nuclear. Also, there are clear charged particle signatures of satellite 1989N1 and of ring 1989N3R. However, the large number of calculated critical L shell positions associated with all of the rings and satellites renders impractical at this time the unique determination of causal relationships between the many observed particle signatures and known material bodies.
(7) Concerning the bulk (integral) and spectral parameters of the hot plasmas, if it is assumed that the trans-Triton population is dominated by N+, the plasma β parameter reaches ∼1 within the near-planet magnetotail (L∼28 RN; in conjunction with a magnetic field depression ‘‘tail event’’), having only reached ∼0.2 in the more planetward regions. Integral electron energy intensities are such tht the more localized Neptune UV aurora can be explained if loss cone intensities are ≲1% of trapped intensities. In contrast to the Uranian magnetosphere, the lower-energy electron distributions appear generally to be at least as well characterized by hot Maxwellian distributions (kT=10 to 30 keV) as by power law distributions inside L ∼20RN, a characteristic generally exhibited at the other planets by the ions. At Neptune the ions have kT=12 to 100 keV, and kT is strongly correlated with position relative to Triton’s L shell. (8) Within the Neptunian magnetotail, planetward, magnetic-field-aligned streaming of ions and electrons is observed within the distant (∼67 RN) plasma sheet and within a closer region thought to be a detached or striated portion of the plasma sheet population. Within the near-planet magnetotail (L∼28 RN), where the spacecraft crossed from the plasma sheet to the tail lobes, cigarlike electron distributions are observed, suggestive of shell-splitting/magnetopause-sweeping effects. Consistent with the middle magnetospheric observations, and in sharp contrast to the Uranian magnetotail, the Neptunian magnetotail shows no evidence of substorm processes. ©American Geophysical Union 1991
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1991/91JA01820.shtml
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Re: The Triton-Neptune interaction

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 4:08 am

A Predicted Triton Plasma Torus in Neptune's Magnetosphere

Abstract

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. The model assumes a mechanism for transport that gives upper limits for predicted torus concentrations. Our conclusion is that a successful detection of plasma by the Voyager Plasma Science instrument may be possible and could be an important source of information about the composition of Triton's surface and atmosphere.
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1989/89GL00135.shtml
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 4:13 am

Image
Further evidence that the outer solar system has two types of planets comes from magnetic fields. Jupiter and Saturn have well-aligned fields generated by convection and rotation in metallic hydrogen deep within their interiors. Uranus and Neptune, in contrast, have off-center fields, suggesting more localized sources in the mantles of these planets.
http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~barnes/ast110_06/gphah.html
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby nick c » Wed May 28, 2008 7:39 am

StefanR
Thanks for the chart and the link. Wonderful photos!
I was taught, way back when, that the outer planets and moons were all frozen and inactive bodies. How wrong the Astronomical textbooks were! Why should we think they are correct today when the same underlying theory (nebular hypothesis) rules?
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby davesmith_au » Wed May 28, 2008 7:51 am

Oh yeah, ditto on the great work Stephan. The wonderful selection you're adding to the Planetary Science thread is both stunning and informative. A picture can be worth 1,000 words easy!

Just take a gander at the one above, and tell me how they all originated from the one accretion disk around the Sun yet have such very different spin axes... :? Hmmmmm.

It ain't rocket science after all...

Cheers, Dave Smith.
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 8:49 am

davesmith_au wrote:Further evidence that the outer solar system has two types of planets comes from magnetic fields. Jupiter and Saturn have well-aligned fields generated by convection and rotation in metallic hydrogen deep within their interiors. Uranus and Neptune, in contrast, have off-center fields, suggesting more localized sources in the mantles of these planets.



Further evidence that the outer solar system has two types of planets comes from magnetic fields. Jupiter and Saturn have well-aligned fields generated by convection and rotation in metallic hydrogen deep within their interiors. Uranus and Neptune, in contrast, have off-center fields, suggesting more localized sources in the mantles of these planets.


What I also found strange is the fact of the observed blue rings of Saturn and Uranus have. If the supposition of the difference in origin of the magnetic field is valid as stated above, what is the relationship of rings, magnetosphere, plasmasphere? And how can a magnetic field be 55% off set of the axis, when the field is generated at the
outer shell/mantles?
I got so much questions, I do not know how to pronounce yet! :shock: I have to delve deeper. Mmmmm, indeed. ;)
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:01 pm

Exploring the Trans-Neptunian Solar System

Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration

Space Studies Board

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1998

Foreword

At the distance of Neptune, the Sun is 900 times fainter than at Earth and only 400 times brighter than our full Moon. Beyond Neptune lies Pluto with its moon, Charon, and a vast frozen region that recent observations show is teeming with icy remnants of the nebula that formed the solar system, the Kuiper Belt. Although the intrepid Voyager 2 spacecraft zoomed past Neptune in 1989 and continues to send signals from several times that distance, its orbital dynamics did not allow a detailed inspection of Pluto or the Kuiper Belt.

This report considers the scientific imperatives and priorities for further study of the trans-neptunian system, including Neptune's own moon Triton. It considers both ground-based observations and space missions. The report recognizes that technology is the key to cost-effective, in situ exploration of Pluto, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt. Studying these remote objects requires small spacecraft, lightweight enough to be boosted to the outer solar system with modest-sized rockets yet suitably instrumented to perform meaningful science when they arrive.

The trans-neptunian system contains the most primitive and undisturbed remnant of the material from which our planet formed. A major reward for studying and exploring these distant regions is the understanding it can give about the origin and evolution of our home in the solar system.

CLAUDE R. CANIZARES, CHAIR

SPACE STUDIES BOARD

This project was formally initiated in October 1995, and the bulk of the material was written in the latter part of 1996. This material was extensively revised, updated, and reviewed in the summer of 1997. Although many COMPLEX members past and present worked on this report, the bulk of the task of assembling and editing their many individual contributions was performed by Fran Bagenal with the assistance of Heidi Hammel, Ted Roush, Gerald Schubert, Darrell Strobel, and Roger Yelle. The work of this writing team was made easier thanks to the invaluable assistance rendered by Dale Cruikshank (NASA Ames Research Center), Harold Levison (Southwest Research Institute), William McKinnon (Washington University), Robert Staehle (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Paul Weissman (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory). COMPLEX also wishes to acknowledge additional assistance given by Donald Brownlee (University of Washington), Karen Meech (University of Hawaii), Robert Pepin (University of Minnesota), Marcia Rieke (University of Arizona), and Peter Stockman (Space Telescope Science Institute).

This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process

Executive Summary

A profound question for scientists, philosophers and, indeed, all humans concerns how the solar system originated and subsequently evolved. To understand the solar system's formation, it is necessary to document fully the chemical and physical makeup of its components today, particularly those parts thought to retain clues about primordial conditions and processes.1

In the past decade, our knowledge of the outermost, or trans-neptunian, region of the solar system has been transformed as a result of Earth-based observations of the Pluto-Charon system, Voyager 2's encounter with Neptune and its satellite Triton, and recent discoveries of dozens of bodies near to or beyond the orbit of Neptune. As a class, these newly detected objects, along with Pluto, Charon, and Triton, occupy the inner region of a hitherto unexplored component of the solar system, the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is believed to be a reservoir of primordial objects of the type that formed in the solar nebula and eventually accreted to form the major planets. The Kuiper Belt is also thought to be the source of short-period comets and a population of icy bodies, the Centaurs, with orbits among the giant planets. Additional components of the distant outer solar system, such as dust and the Oort comet cloud, as well as the planet Neptune itself, are not discussed in this report.

Our increasing knowledge of the trans-neptunian solar system has been matched by a corresponding increase in our capabilities for remote and in situ observation of these distant regions. Over the next 10 to 15 years, a new generation of ground-and space-based instruments, including the Keck and Gemini telescopes and the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, will greatly expand our ability to search for and conduct physical and chemical studies on these distant bodies. Over the same time span, a new generation of lightweight spacecraft should become available and enable the first missions designed specifically to explore the icy bodies that orbit 30 astronomical units (AU) or more from the Sun. The combination of new knowledge, plus the technological capability to greatly expand this knowledge over the next decade or so, makes this a particularly opportune time to review current understanding of the trans-neptunian solar system and to begin planning for the future exploration of this distant realm.


http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6080&page=R1
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Re: Glowing Neptune

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:22 pm

We got our only really good look at Neptune during the Voyager 2 fly-by in 1989. And we discovered a number of surprizing things about the Neptune atmosphere during that fly-by. First of all, the belt-zone circulation structure is much more obvious on Neptune than on Uranus (the image is a montage of images, showing one of the Neptunian poles) even though Neptune is further from the Sun.

Also, large (and, it turns out, transient) storms are common on Neptune. We see these storms as dark cyclonic spots, and often see associated clouds. The clouds are methane ice crystals, rather than the water aerosols that make Earth's clouds.

Neptune's interior is essentially like that of Uranus. There is a roughly Earth-sized solid core of heavy elements. This is surrounded by a mantle of a mixture of icy and rocky material. Above that, there is an envelope of liquid hydrogen. And, like Uranus, Voyager 2 discovered that Neptune has a magnetic field that is both tilted by a large angle to the rotation axis, and off-set from the planetary center. In both planets, we believe the B-field arises due to liquid, conducting H2O and NH3 in the mantle. Thus, the field is off-set from the planetary center because it arises in the mantle, not the core.

Ring System

Like the other Jovian planets, Neptune has a ring system. The rings were suspected before the Voyager encounter due to earlier stellar occultation measurements. But there was a perplexing issue: Ring occultations were not always observed. It was as if the rings were just ring segments, rather than complete rings.

It turns out the rings are complete, but they are not smooth. They have strong "azimuthal" variation (that is, variation as one goes around the ring). The rings are much denser in some places than others. This is a pretty weird result. If nothing were maintaining the rings in such a state, the variations would smooth out on something like an orbital timescale. That's days to weeks.

Voyager gave us enough information to work out the probably solution: Shepherd moons. We detect these moons in some cases, and suspect them in the rest. The moons act to pull the material into orbits that are defined by the moons, and thus can be stable for long periods.

The rings of Neptune are dark, much like those of Uranus. And we expect the same reason: The rings are composed of bits of icy material on which the methane has been photoreduced to amorphous carbon. The source material is supposed to be from collisions between Neptune's satellites and small, outer Solar system bodies.

Neptune Satellites

Neptune has 13 known moons. Eleven of these are small objects, six discovered by Voyager and five by HST. The other two were previously known. One of these, Nereid, is also quite small, and on a highly elliptical orbit. Other than that, we know little about it.

The one large moon is Triton. Triton is on a nearly cirular orbit, much closer to Neptune than Nereid. But it is in a retrograde orbit. This strongly suggests that some sort of collision/capture process was responsible for Neptune's moon system.

Although Triton is not a very large moon (its radius is less than that of Earth's Moon, and its mass is *much* less), it is so cold (T ~ 100 K) that it is able to retain a thin atmosphere. The atmosphere is mostly N2 and CH4, and the pressure is only about 0.00001 that of Earth's atmosphere.

Spectroscopy reveals that the surface composition of Triton is mainly N2 ice, with various other ices mixed in. The surface has relatively few craters. From this we estimate that the average age of the surface is only a perhaps 100 Myr. There is evidence for surface buckling and cracking as well. And there are dark patches that are believed to be due to N2 geysers. Solar heating brings the surface N2 to vaporization temperature, and the geyser erupts, with other material forming the resulting dark ejecta.
http://odin.physastro.mnsu.edu/~eskridge/astr102/week13.html



:? Dark ejecta caused by geysers, sounds very Martian to me ;)
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Re: The Triton-Neptune interaction

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:26 pm

Image
blobs of material that rise from depth and penetrate through a surface layer. This suggests that Triton's crust is layered. Some of the smooth deposits at right may be volcanic in origin. 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.

This stereo image should be viewed using red-blue stereo glasses. The plumes can be seen to shift between the exposures used to make the view. The plumes are the reddish features toward the left.

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/outerp/trit.html

Image
Volcanic Terrains
Large parts of Triton have been volcanically resurfaced. This area, centered on Leviathan Patera (the 80-kilometer-wide circular structure at center left), is characterized by smooth plains, volcanic calderas, and irregularly shaped pits. These features resemble those found in basaltic volcanic plains on Earth. On Triton, these features are formed by volcanic eruption of molten ices, probably ammonia-rich in composition. Also visible at upper left is a walled plain of uncertain origin.

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/outerp/trit.html
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Re: The Triton-Neptune interaction

Unread postby StefanR » Wed May 28, 2008 3:35 pm

A let me just add a last picture for the road ;)

(My apologies for dial-uppers if it's getting to much, but one got to admit they are 8-) )

Image

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/cyberspace/planets/neptune/images/PIA00317_modest.jpg
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