I have few serious concerns regarding SAFIRE.
One of the biggest ones probably is Monty's claim (that he made at least in Bath, I don't quite remember if that was made anywhere earlier) that their findings "prove the predictions of the electric Sun model" (not an exact quote, but very close). That raises eyebrows immediately.
First of all, it's not clear, what exact
"electric Sun model" is he talking about. Because from their documents it's just an extremely vague (and here's an exact quote)
M. Childs wrote:fundamental process of charged plasma affecting matter of a different electrical potential
I'd imagine that in order to prove a model, the model should give at least some exact predictions in the first place, right? So naturally we should ask - what exact model are they using and what predictions does it give
? If there is no such model in reality, and no predictions have been made (I highly suspect that to be the case - see below why), then the initial claim about "proving" it is simply false. At the very least it's ill-founded.
All that aside, it's still not obvious at all
that the conditions in the SAFIRE chamber might be directly translated to what is observed at the Sun - in any respect whatsoever.
As it has been correctly indicated in this thread, SAFIRE anode is different from the Sun in many respects:
1) SAFIRE anode is at an externally driven higher electric potential with respect to its surroundings (the cathode and chamber walls).
No obvious driver of such potential difference is known for the Sun (you might just invent ad hoc
ideas like Juergens' magically generated negative potential).
2) SAFIRE anode does not put any significant gravitational (or any other charge-neutral) influence on the surrounding plasma.
While the main plasma domain of the heliosphere - the solar wind - is highly influenced by gravity. The gravitational escape velocity at the surface of the Sun is of the same order of magnitude (~ 600 km/s) as the speed of fast solar wind far away from the Sun. I.e. the solar plasma spends roughly half of its total energy to just counteract the gravitational forces; and I'm not even talking about the natural formation of ambipolar electric field due to plasma expansion in the gravitational field (electrons are lighter, so escape faster, which naturally forms a double layer with electric field directed outwards), so even the properties of plasma per se
are altered by gravity. So you cannot just ignore it and pretend it's not there. You might claim that gravitation-less system is only some vague approximation
3) Perhaps the worst of all: SAFIRE chamber is not magnetized (I've asked Michael Clarage about this directly, and he didn't respond anything), whereas the solar plasma is. And it's very significant
. The behaviour of plasma is heavily influenced by the magnetic fields and all the dynamics associated with them - it's not a big revelation.
So as a product of this, SAFIRE chamber doesn't have anything even remotely approximating:
- "solar" cycle;
- active regions;
- "solar" flares;
- "solar" energetic particle emissions;
- prominences or CMEs;
- "heliospheric" current sheet;
- coronal holes;
- Alfven (and other plasma) waves,
And, mind you, all of these are exactly electromagnetic phenomena
, so if your "electric Sun" can exist without these, you're just not quite sane, I would claim. This is exactly what we should see - first and foremost. E.g. prominences are
the discharge phenomena. And if SAFIRE doesn't have them, it's not very "electric" and it certainly isn't about the "Sun".
4) The non-trivial character of plasma scalability is completely ignored (as far as I can see) by the SAFIRE team. Here I refer to Alfven's "Cosmical Electrodynamics"
(e.g. see p. 31, similarity transformations
a) SAFIRE setup seems to have (again, I've asked Clarage directly about the parameters, and he said it's "proprietary information", so I have to use other sources) about 600-700 V of potential difference and a current of about 3 A
(see also here
, p. 25).
According to Alfven, both the total current and total voltage should be the same
in both the scaled-down and the original system - otherwise the plasma behaviour would simply be different.
This means that if we are to translate SAFIRE with their 1.8 kW of power to the solar scales (say, a chamber of 1 m in size vs. 10^9 m - the size of the corona), their "Sun" would be near absolute zero in temperature (10^(-13) W of thermal emission power per m^2; so less than 0.1 K temperature). Very far from 6 kK, I think. To get 10^26 W of luminous power (the one which is observed), - assuming it's driven by the thermal action of the current - you need to put exactly that amount in your laboratory system. Otherwise you'll get a very different plasma that would behave very differently.
b) The density of the medium should scale as L^(-1) (L being the linear dimension of length) to preserve mean free path and the associated collisional dynamics in plasma.
SAFIRE has pressure of ~ 1 Torr, while the corona has densities of ~ 10^9 cm^(-3). Taking the same 10^9 scale factor, you get the needed
(for proper scaling) density in SAFIRE chamber of 10^18 cm^(-3) to model the corona, i.e. about 100 of Torr (by order of magnitude), not 1. I.e. it should be much closer to the atmospheric pressure than 1 Torr vacuum.
c) To properly scale the magnetic field (which SAFIRE lacks completely) e.g. in the corona, you'd need - again, assuming a 1 m scale of chamber and 10^9 m scale of the corona (plus about 2 uT of magnetic field in the corona
) - about 10^3 T of magnetic field in the SAFIRE chamber.
Should I specifically indicate that no magnetic field and a thousand tesla magnetic field (only achieved at the strongest pulse facilities today) makes a big difference in plasma dynamics or is it obvious right away?
So, to sum this all up
, we see that SAFIRE chamber doesn't scale the solar plasma dynamics down properly; it doesn't include important gravitational interaction (it actually does - but of the wrong kind: of the gravitational field of the Earth; e.g. you can see the effects of plasma buoyancy - which distorts the otherwise spherical layers - e.g. at the p. 51 here
- this explanation actually comes from Michael Clarage, though it contradicts Childs' statement at the next page about "no sign of being affected by gravity"); it doesn't include the even more important magnetic field and thus completely ignores all the proper e/m phenomena in the stellar atmospheres (including solar wind, for example). So it seems like this experiment has very little to do with the Sun in the first place. It might catch some isolated
phenomena the analogues of which are observed in the solar plasma - but just because, more or less, any
plasma would demonstrate similar phenomena.
If Monty Childs did acknowledge straight away that he was using e.g. Juergens' model, then some other questions might have been asked (e.g. why is there a net positive current from the cosmic rays inflowing into the Sun; or where do the suprathermal electrons from the Sun come from; or why are the ENA emissions from the edge of the heliosphere stronger during the solar minimum etc.), but since he doesn't and prefers to be vague instead, we'll just leave it at that.
I think it should be clear by now that SAFIRE chamber has nothing to do with the Sun. It might be vaguely similar
to the Sun at the very best - because the electrode is spherical, heated up and surrounded by Hydrogen plasma. But that's pretty much it.
P. S. OK, now I took some time to review the video from Bath (only some parts of it rather), and Monty literally just says - twice, actually
M. Childs wrote:in our tests and experiments we have found no disparities with the electric Sun model
(maybe there was a stronger quote that I didn't catch; I don't know, since I didn't review the whole video).
Well, I can only say with regards to that that if one formulates the model as given in the first quote of this post, then surely you wouldn't see any disparities; because the formulation itself it prediction-less and doesn't even contain any statements about the Sun in the first place. So in this regard Monty's claim is totally consistent with what I've said: SAFIRE is a great and fascinating experiment that deals with "fundamental process of charged plasma affecting matter of a different electrical potential", but it has nothing to do with the Sun at all (aside for maybe the presence of Hydrogen plasma in both).
P. P. S. It is quite unfortunate that Lowell Morgan's posts (if that was indeed him) got removed. Perhaps I'd have seen some answers that I'm looking for there (I wasn't quick enough to read them). In the forum topic specifically devoted to discussing SAFIRE results I'd imagine a person who worked there for few years would have something useful to say.