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Is the Universe Electric?

04/22/08

[EDITOR'S NOTE:

The following is an excerpt from a new e-Book written by Michael Goodspeed (in collaboration with David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill), Is the Universe Electric? -- a 23-page, full-color introduction to and overview of the Electric Universe theory. The e-book is an expanded version of an essay that was recently published in the largest graphic magazine in Japan, "Kaze no Tabibito." The excerpt below deals primarily with the fundamental differences between plasma cosmology and Big Bang theory. Other sections address the electric sun; electrically charged planets; electrical scarring of planets; plasma formations in the lab and in rock art; and the electric comet.

At just 23 pages, the e-Book is intended as a compressed and highly readable presentation for both the initiated and uninitiated alike. If you choose to purchase this product, you will be helping support the continuing efforts of the Thunderbolts Project to promote the electric universe theory -- a theory that is gathering extraordinary momentum, and promises to revolutionize science's understanding of the Universe, and our place in it.]

IS THE UNIVERSE ELECTRIC?

The Ant nebula, Mz3 (rotated)

The Ant nebula, Mz3 (rotated). Image Credit: NASA, Space Telescope Science Institute

Mankind's greatest feat of the 20th century was arguably his journey(s) into the vast domain of space. When the first man walked on the moon in 1969, it signified an extraordinary leap in technological evolution, and was a unifying achievement for the entire human race. Astronauts became the heroes of boys and girls everywhere, and space travel, the "final frontier" of human endeavor, emerged as an underlying theme of most science fiction. Authors and filmmakers looked to space to answer the largest philosophical and spiritual quandaries. And space adventures became mythic allegories, illuminating the human condition.

Prior to the Space Age, in the first half of the 20th century, Albert Einstein redefined Sir Isaac Newton's gravitational model of physics. He combined the three measurable physical dimensions of space with the additional dimension of time, in something that is now popularly termed a "continuum" of space and time. This was the foundation of relativity theory, and Einstein's apparent successes encouraged armies of mathematicians to follow his lead continually extending his work into untested territory. One unfortunate result was that astronomy rapidly became a field dominated by abstract mathematics. In fact, many critics suggest that it is now almost impossible to distinguish astronomical theory from science fiction, as mathematicians describe a universe that, to a dismaying degree cannot be seen, measured, or tested in any practical way.

For the better part of two centuries, astronomers have believed that gravity dominates the heavens. The scientific consensus is that approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe began with a primordial explosion called the Big Bang. Debris from this theoretical event created a vast cloud of particles, from which galaxies, stars, planets, and all other celestial bodies eventually formed, under gravitational influences. In our own cosmic neighborhood, we are told that the Sun is powered by an internal nuclear furnace, and that all the planets and moons are isolated bodies that have moved with predictable precision for billions of years. It is also claimed that far removed from the Sun, a cloud of debris produced the icy bodies that we call comets. Periodically, astronomers say, a few of these bodies are dislodged from the cloud, falling toward the Sun, to produce the familiar cometary displays. And all of space is an inert "vacuum" in which electricity plays no significant role.

ELECTRIC PIONEERS

Kristian Birkeland's portrait from a 200 Kroner bank note

Kristian Birkeland's portrait from a 200 Kroner bank note. Source: Jacob Lewis Bourjaily, Department of Physics, Princeton University

But space discovery has a habit of contradicting astronomical theory. As early as the late 19th century, a number of scientific pioneers began recording their observations of electrical phenomena in space, and documenting experimental analogs in the laboratory. One such pioneer, the Norwegian physicist Kristian Birkeland, theorized that the earth's auroras are powered electrically by charged particles from the Sun. For many decades, the scientific mainstream dismissed Birkeland's hypothesis, but in the early 1970's Birkeland was irrefutably validated when satellites detected in the auroras the magnetic signatures of electric currents (called Birkeland currents) tracing to solar activity. More recently, NASA's THEMIS spacecraft stunned scientists when it imaged giant, "magnetic ropes" that reached all the way from the earth to the Sun--a pathway for the charged particles from the Sun, now known to light the auroras.

Dense Plasma Focus

The Nobel Prize-winning Swedish physicist Hannes Alfvén further developed Birkeland's work, and developed a revolutionary model for the role of plasma in the cosmos. Through extensive laboratory experimentation, Alfvén and other plasma pioneers discovered that many space phenomena could be replicated in the laboratory in plasma experiments. These include the dense plasma focus (pictured above), a plasma machine that produces, by electromagnetic acceleration and compression, short-lived plasma that is so hot and dense that it becomes a copious multi-radiation source. Whereas mainstream cosmologists rely on exotic, invisible, and internally inconsistent theoretical inventions to explain the "surprising" X-ray and radio emissions we observe in space, plasma cosmologists are able to reproduce these phenomena in a manner that exemplifies the scientific method. This should come as no surprise, because it is now known that all of space is permeated by plasma, which makes up over 99.9% of the visible Universe.

Plasma is often mischaracterized as a "gas," but its conductivity and dynamic response to electricity and magnetism distinguishes it from a gas. The "quasi-neutrality" of plasmas means they tend overall to be electrically neutral. But plasmas can also violate quasi-neutrality, producing charged regions in electrical double layers (DLs) and particle beams. Plasma is a better conductor of electricity even than copper, and it is this characteristic that allows for electrical circuitry throughout the cosmos.

Hannes Alfvén

Hannes Alfvén Photo credit: Welinder Jaeger Bergne

Alfvén and his colleagues also established that the behavior of electrified plasma can be scaled up an incredible 14 orders of magntiude -- what is observed in the laboratory can occur at galactic dimensions as well. Furthermore, the electric force is incomparably more powerful than gravity. Electric currents across cosmic distances have the power to shape cosmic structure, and at the local scale, to light the sun, to energize planetary auroras, and periodically, to create spectacular comets.

Alfvén is now recognized as the father of "plasma cosmology. " In this model of cosmic evolution, it was primarily electromagnetic forces that organized matter throughout the Universe. It is now indisputable that magnetic fields pervade the Universe, and Alfvén noted that these fields cannot exist without the contribution of ELECTRIC currents. In 1970, in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Physics, Alfvén admonished his colleagues that their models must ultimately fail if they ignored experimental plasma science and the role of electric currents in space. His warning went unheeded.

FAILURES OF BIG BANG COSMOLOGY

Mainstream cosmology's foundation was built on one of the most popular scientific theories of the 20th century, the Big Bang. This theory envisions all of the Universe continually expanding as the result of the primordial, explosive birth event. But according to an increasing number of critics, the Big Bang theory has already lost its theoretical underpinning. Astronomers believe that the Universe is expanding based on their interpretation of a phenomenon observed in space called "redshift." This describes a shift toward longer wavelengths of the spectral lines emitted by a celestial object. Mainstream theorists believe that the object moving from the Earth causes this. But on many occasions, this belief has been definitively refuted.

Galaxy NGC 7319 and a quasar <em>in front of</em> the Galactic Core

Left Galaxy NGC 7319. Right: A recently discovered quasar in front of the galactic core. Credit: Jane C. Charlton (Penn State) et al., HST, ESA, NASA

In the 1960's, the astronomer Halton Arp began documenting instances where two or more galaxies and highly redshifted quasars were associated, or even physically connected. Arp's findings contradicted the assumption that their different galactic redshifts meant that the quasar should be millions or even billions of light-years farther away than the galaxy. A dramatic demonstration of this is seen in the galaxy NGC 7319 (picture above). This galaxy is shrouded with such heavy dust clouds that they obscure most of the bright, active nucleus that defines a galaxy of this type. The galaxy has a redshift of 0.0225. In front of its opaque gas clouds, or embedded in the topmost layers of the dust, is a quasar with a redshift of 2.114. What does this tell us? By the Big Bang principles, the quasar must be billions of light years farther from us than the galaxy, because its redshift is so much larger. And yet the galaxy is opaque, so the quasar must be near the surface of the dust clouds or even in front of them.

PLASMA COSMOLOGY VS. BIG BANG

In the eyes of plasma cosmology, celestial objects' redshift is proportional to current density and electrical stress. In other words, if an object has a very high redshift, it is not because it is very far away, but rather because it is in the early stage of a formation in a cosmic plasma discharge. Faintness and high redshift signify youthfulness not distance. If astronomers could simply recognize the undeniable existence of electric currents in space (as Alfvén implored them to), then the picture of space would be forever altered.

Another problem for Big Bang cosmology has been the appearance of "clumps " and "voids" in the Cosmos. Critics argued that raw subatomic -- or preatomic -- material expanding outward at nearly the speed of light would produce an evenly distributed cloud with no force present to generate cosmic structure. But in fact, we observe cosmic structure everywhere we look, and the distribution of matter is profoundly uneven. Both the concentrations of matter, and the "voids" between these concentrations, falsify the inherent, logical "predictions" of the original theory.

The force of gravity is weak and takes time to move things around. The elapsed time since the conjectured Big Bang sets a limit on how big any structure can be. Structures exceeding that limit are, by the cosmologists' own admission, impossible. But astronomers have observed "huge voids" when mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - areas of space where the " temperature" of the CMB is interpreted as lower than that of the surrounding region. But in a plasma universe, the appearance of a vast and remote "void" may be entirely illusory. It is now evident that astronomers imagine they are seeing things at the far edges of the visible Universe that are actually occurring in our own cosmic neighborhood, the Milky Way galaxy. The research of radio astronomer Gerrit Verschuur has demonstrated that the "cosmic microwave background" shown by WMAP is foreground microwave fog. So the "vision" of observers using WMAP is clouded by the local activity of electric current filaments in the Milky Way.

And just as "huge voids" constitute a problem, BB theorists must wrestle at the other end of the spectrum, with massive galactic structure which, by their own measuring stick (redshift = distance interpretation), must have formed in the first phases of cosmic evolution.

Radio Galaxy 3C31 (NGC 383)

We see the signs of electrical influences everywhere in the Cosmos, but astronomers remain impervious to these telltale clues. Consider the image above of the Radio Galaxy 3C31 (also called NGC 383). This galaxy is a MINUSCULE object, little more than a dust mote, when seen against an immense display of highly energetic charged particles. Electrons in twin polar jets, accelerated to near the speed of light are the witnesses to the most intense electrical discharge activity known to science. Our instruments detect this activity through its synchrotron radiation and through the twin lobes of high-energy radio signals. So how is this huge region of electrical activity to be interpreted? In standard models, an electrically-neutral galaxy is asked to generate electrical activity across volumes of space THOUSANDS of times greater than the volume of the galaxy. But simple electrodynamics says this is impossible! How does a galactic-size, neutral object produce a vast domain of electrical activity around it? A plasma cosmologist looking at this image will see electric currents incomparably larger than the galaxy, being focused down by a plasma "pinch," at energy levels capable of lighting and organizing stars into the ubiquitous galactic spiral structure.

But mainstream astronomers who see this picture can only imagine that a "supermassive black hole" - a nearly infinite compression of matter which they assure us exists in the heart of every galaxy - is devouring material and "spitting it out" to produce X-ray energies. But it's imperative that we understand what astronomers actually mean when they claim to "see" a black hole. Long before scientists began speculating about "dark matter" and "dark energy" (invisible and undetectable entities which we are told make up 96% of the Universe) astrophysicists observed that galactic cores exhibit vastly more concentrated energetic activity than could be achieved by gravity alone, unless something hugely massive (yet incredibly small) were present. So they effectively "divided by zero." They employed the near zero force of gravity to explain a nearly "infinite" compression of matter -- the only thing they could imagine under their theoretical assumptions. It's no longer physics; it is a bizarre mathematical conjecture. They called these speculative, monstrous concentrations of matter "black holes," imagining that they "consume everything around them."

As technology improved, the original black hole theoretical model was quickly contradicted by the observed ejection of vast quantities of matter in thin jets. Suddenly, the theorists imagined that an " accretion disk" and magnetic field (which they claim can somehow exist with no contribution from electric currents) could produce a narrowly-confined jet across millions of light years.

So let's understand this, very clearly -- scientists have never "seen" black holes. They've seen (unanticipated) energetic effects that they imagine can only be caused by the in-fall of matter, i.e. a theoretical black hole "sucking" and "consuming " everything around it due to its supposed (but impossible) near -infinite gravity. Popular discussion of black holes can only be described as disingenuous in the extreme. The contradictory, unexpected observations are routinely presented as evidence confirming black holes' existence! The improbable jets have never had a reasonable place within gravitational dogma, a fact rarely, if ever, acknowledged in scientific media.

But the abstract and purely mathematical reasoning that led to black holes is wholly unnecessary, according to proponents of the Plasma Universe and Electric Universe. Far from the spotlight of media attention, plasma cosmologists did anticipate many of the "surprising" discoveries of the space age, with no requirement of invisible, non-testable material and objects and mathematical models involving imaginary infinities....

[To continue reading, you may purchase the e-Book (USA $4.00) through our online store.]

 

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Michael Goodspeed
Michael Goodspeed is a freelance journalist who lives in Beaverton, Oregon

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