Alfvén Triumphs Again (and Again)
May 09, 2011
The lack of news reports in recent months has been due to a very heavy workload in
preparing papers, a course and presentations. This work continues with the upcoming
Natural Philosophy Alliance's
18th annual conference at the University of Maryland,
July 6-9, where I will give two papers including the invited John Chappell Memorial Lecture.
[Click to enlarge]
Meanwhile I attend scientific meetings and accumulate reports supporting
the Electric Universe paradigm. A science journalist dubbed me “the
boundary rider of science.” And it is from that broad perspective that
I see our sciences like juggernauts speeding down their blind tunnels of
specialization and one can only wait for the inevitable crash. Modern
science attempts to describe our reality using meaningless language
(e.g. "the fabric of space-time") and invalid metaphors with the
result that ever more forces, unreal dimensions and invisible or virtual matter
are invoked. It seems to me that our salvation lies with engineers who must deal
with the real world. For it was an outstanding and outspoken electrical engineer
and physicist, Hannes Alfvén, who gave us an electrical engineer's practical
explanation of many of the mysteries of the universe - known as plasma cosmology.
But in a classic academic 'Catch-22,' because it's not mainstream students are
not given the opportunity to consider it at any university.
Alfvén emphasized the influence upon him of Kristian Birkeland's
earlier research into the electrical nature of the aurora and other phenomena
in the solar system. Birkeland seemed to intuitively sense the real electrical
nature of space but was too far ahead of his time. The theory of electric discharges
was still in a very primitive state. He wrote,
“It seems to be a natural consequence
of our point of view to assume that the whole of space is filled with electrons
and flying ions of all kinds. We assume each stellar system in evolution throws
off electric corpuscles into space. It is not unreasonable therefore, to think
that the greater part of the material masses in the universe is found not in the
solar systems or nebulae, but in 'empty' space.”
Birkeland met overwhelming resistance, particularly from Sydney Chapman who was
perhaps the most influential scientist in the field of geophysics in the period
1920-1960. But in 1973 satellites confirmed the existence of electric currents
aligned with the magnetic field. These field-aligned currents are now called
"Birkeland currents." In 1987, reflecting his own struggle with orthodoxy,
Alfvén wrote tartly, “Since Chapman
considered his theory of magnetic storms and aurora to be one of his most important
achievements, he was anxious to suppress any knowledge of Birkeland's theory. Being
a respected member of the proud English tradition in science, and attending - if not
organizing - all important conferences in this field, it was easy for Chapman to do so.
The conferences soon became ritualized. They were opened by Chapman presenting his
theory of magnetic storms, followed by long lectures by his close associates who
confirmed what he had said. If finally there happened to be some time left for discussion,
objections were either not answered or dismissed by a reference to an article by Chapman.
To mention Birkeland was like swearing in the church.” Many dissident
scholars have echoed the comparison of modern institutionalized science with a religious order.
Alfvén's plasma cosmology is an excellent theory when measured by its
successful predictions. Despite this, “..the
continuing resistance to Alfvén's work is based on a widely held opinion
that his predictions are not derived from a plausible physical theory (i.e., a
theory that conforms to the dominant paradigm). If a theory is not acceptable, it
does not gain credit by making successful predictions. This would imply that the
role of prediction as a means of evaluating scientific theories has been
exaggerated.” - Stephen G. Brush,
Alfvén's Programme in Solar System Physics, IEEE
Transactions On Plasma Science, Vol. 20, No. 6, December 1992, p. 577.
Now two new reports stand out in relation to Alfvén's predictions so that
ultimately he cannot be ignored. The first concerns the birth of stars and the
second the electric circuit of the Sun.
Electric Star Birth
>> The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory (formerly
called Far Infrared and Sub-millimetre Telescope or FIRST) has the largest
single mirror, at 3.5-metres in diameter, ever built for a space telescope.
It is an infrared telescope, named after Sir William Herschel, the discoverer
of the infrared spectrum. The telescope has been giving astronomers an
unprecedented look inside the cosmic womb of stars, known as molecular clouds,
to find (surprise, surprise) that stars are formed in
“an incredible network of filamentary
structures, and features indicating a chain of near-simultaneous star-formation
events, glittering like strings of pearls deep in our Galaxy.”
Although described as "incredible" by astronomers, this description
precisely matches the decades-old expectations of plasma cosmologists!
[Click to enlarge]
>> “An incredible network of filamentary
structures” seen in a cloud of cold gas in the constellation of the
Southern Cross. The ESA report dated 2 October 2009.
“That a dark, cool area such as this would be
bustling with activity, was unexpected. But the images reveal a surprising amount of
turmoil: the interstellar material is condensing into continuous and interconnected
filaments glowing from the light emitted by new-born stars at various stages of
[Click to enlarge]
In an ESA report last month the high-resolution of the Herschel space observatory
produced another surprise, “The filaments
are huge, stretching for tens of light years through space and Herschel has shown
that newly-born stars are often found in the densest parts of them... Such filaments
in interstellar clouds have been glimpsed before by other infrared satellites, but
they have never been seen clearly enough to have their widths measured. Now, Herschel
has shown that, regardless of the length or density of a filament, the width
is always roughly the same. “This is a very big surprise,” says
Doris Arzoumanian, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU, the lead author on the
paper describing this work. Together with Philippe André from the same
institute and other colleagues, she analysed 90 filaments and found they were all
about 0.3 light years across, or about 20,000 times the distance of Earth from the
Sun. This consistency of the widths demands an explanation.”
>> This diagram shows a network of 27 star forming filaments derived from
Herschel observations of the IC 5146 molecular cloud. Credit: Adapted from
Characterizing interstellar filaments with Herschel in IC 5146,
D. Arzoumanian et al., A&A 529, L6 (2011).
[Click to enlarge]
So what is the favored conventional explanation? What else but "sonic
booms" generated by "exploding stars!" But where are these
exploding stars? And explosions should impose some degree of radial curvature
on these filaments. But what we see is more like the tortuous paths of
cloud-to-cloud lightning bolts. For that is what they are, in fact, on a
The 'father' of plasma cosmology, Hannes Alfvén, wrote in 1986,
“That parallel currents attract each
other was known already at the times of Ampere. It is easy to understand
that in a plasma, currents should have a tendency to collect to filaments.
In 1934, it was explicitly stated by Bennett that this should lead to the
formation of a pinch. The problem which led him to the discovery was that
the magnetic storm producing medium (solar wind with present terminology)
was not flowing out uniformly from the Sun. Hence, it was a problem in
cosmic physics which led to the introduction of the pinch effect...
However, to most astrophysicists it is an unknown phenomenon. Indeed,
important fields of research, e.g., the treatment of the state in
interstellar regions, including the formation of stars, are still based on
a neglect of Bennett's discovery more than half a century ago... present-day
students in astrophysics hear nothing about it.”
The constant width over vast distances is due to the current flowing along
the Birkeland filaments, each filament constituting a part of a larger electric
circuit. And in a circuit the current must be the same in the whole filament
although the current density can vary in the filament due to the electromagnetic
pinch effect. Therefore the electromagnetic scavenging effect on matter from the
molecular cloud, called Marklund convection, is constant along each current
filament, which simply explains the consistency of widths of the filaments.
The stars form as plasmoids in the Bennett-pinches, also known in plasma labs
on Earth as Z-pinches.
>> This diagram shows the true nature of the filaments inside the molecular cloud.
The electric field vector (E) and helical magnetic field configuration (B) are shown.
Inward Marklund convection of ions at velocity, V, across a temperature gradient, ∇T,
is a mechanism for rapid filament formation and chemical separation in cosmic plasma so the
heavy elements ("metals" in astrophysics-speak) are found on-axis and must
therefore constitute the core matter of stars, not hydrogen!
[Click to enlarge]
In May last year in a similar star-forming cloud, Herschel uncovered an
“impossible star in the act of
formation... This is because the fierce light emitted by such large stars
should blast away their birth clouds before any more mass can accumulate.
But somehow they do form. Many of these 'impossible' stars are already known,
some containing up to 150 solar masses, but now that Herschel has seen one
near the beginning of its life, astronomers can use the data to investigate
how it is defying their theories.”
The answer is simple. Astrophysicists' theories bear no relation to
reality. The luminosity of a star is not related to its massiveness
because no nuclear fusion is taking place in its heavy element core.
And the massiveness of a star is not related to its size because the
photosphere is not a surface in the usual sense but rather an electric
discharge phenomenon some distance above the surface of the star.
There are no "impossible stars." The light of a star comes
from the available electrical energy coursing along the enveloping Birkeland
filaments. As for "sonic booms" caused by the pressure of light from the star,
that force is negligible compared to the electromagnetic forces in the
enveloping plasma. And any such collision would serve to further ionise
the dust and gas and make it more susceptible to the electromagnetic force.
However, if any reservation remains about the electrical environment of the
Sun (and therefore all stars) then the following report should dispel that doubt.
Alfvén's Solar Circuit Confirmed
On May 3, the New Scientist published an important article by Anil Ananthaswamy,
"Strange cosmic ray hotspots stalk southern skies."
Cosmic rays crashing into the Earth over the South Pole appear to be coming from
particular locations, rather than being distributed uniformly across the sky.
Similar cosmic ray "hotspots" have been seen in the northern skies too, yet we
know of no source close enough to produce this pattern.
“We don't know where they are coming from,” says
Stefan Westerhoff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Westerhoff and colleagues used the
IceCube neutrino observatory
at the South Pole to create the most comprehensive map to date of the arrival
direction of cosmic rays in the southern skies.
>> IceCube uses neutrino detectors buried at the South Pole.
IceCube detects muons produced by neutrinos striking ice, but it also
detects muons created by cosmic rays hitting Earth's atmosphere.
These cosmic ray muons can be used to figure out the direction
of the original cosmic ray particle.
(Image: NSF/B Gudbjartsson).
[Click to enlarge]
Between May 2009 and May 2010, IceCube detected 32 billion cosmic-ray muons,
with a median energy of about 20 teraelectronvolts (TeV). These muons revealed,
with extremely high statistical significance, a southern sky with some regions
of excess cosmic rays ("hotspots") and others with a deficit of cosmic
rays ("cold" spots).
In the 1920s Irving Langmuir and Harold Mott-Smith showed that in a discharge
tube the plasma sets up a thin boundary sheath which separates it from a
wall or from a probe and shields it from the electric field. The electric
field in this sheath, or 'double layer' of separated charge, accelerates
charged particles. In 1958 Alfvén suggested that this phenomenon
might be important in space plasmas. Sources of cosmic rays situated along
the Sun's axes were predicted by Alfvén in 1986 in an IEEE publication
and NASA Conference Publication 2469,
"Double Layers in Astrophysics." [Warning:
13 Mb pdf file]. He explains, “Since the time of Langmuir, we know that
a double layer is a plasma formation by which a plasma — in the physical
meaning of this word — protects itself from the environment. It is analogous
to a cell wall by which a plasma - in the biological meaning of this word -
protects itself from the environment. If an electric discharge is produced
between a cathode and an anode there is a double layer, called a cathode sheath,
produced near the cathode that accelerates electrons which carry a current
through the plasma. A positive space charge separates the cathode sheath
from the plasma. Similarly, a double layer is set up near the anode, protecting
the plasma from this electrode. Again, a space charge constitutes the border
between the double layer and the plasma. All these double layers carry electric
Over the past two years, a similar pattern has been seen over the northern
skies by the Milagro observatory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Tibet
Air Shower array in Yangbajain. “It is interesting that the pattern
can be matched between [these experiments], at least qualitatively. They have
very different techniques and systematic effects,” says cosmic-ray
physicist Paul Sommers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
“I regard those hotspots as a good mystery.”
It's a mystery because the hotspots must be produced within about 0.03 light
years of Earth. Further out, galactic magnetic fields should deflect the
particles so much that the hotspots would be smeared out across the sky.
But no such sources are known to exist.
>> Alfvén's Heliospheric Circuit. The Sun acts as a unipolar
inductor (A) producing a current which goes outward along both the axes
(B2) and inward in the equatorial plane along the magnetic field
lines (B1). The current must close at large distances (B3),
either as a homogeneous current layer, or — more likely — as a pinched current.
Analogous to the auroral circuit, there may be double layers (DLs) which
should be located symmetrically on the Sun's axes. Such double layers
have not yet been discovered. Credit: Original diagram by H.
Alfvén, NASA Conference Publication 2469, 1986, p. 27.
[Click to enlarge]
In the circuit model, it was noted that every circuit that contains an
inductance is intrinsically explosive. This is true because a conductive
circuit will tend to supply all of the inductive energy to any point of
interruption of the circuit. Double layers are known to tend to interrupt
current in a plasma. Hence, the entire energy of a circuit can be released
at the point where a double layer forms regardless of the source of the
energy of the circuit.
Because of their property of generating cosmic rays, synchrotron radiation,
radio noise, and occasionally exploding, Alfvén proposed,
“DL's may be considered as a new
class of celestial objects... For example, the heliospheric current system
must close at large distances, and it is possible - perhaps likely - that
this is done by a network of filamentary currents. Many such filaments may
produce DL's, and some of these may explode.” To give an
idea of their omnipresence in space, DLs are implicated in the earth's auroral
regions, extragalactic jets, stellar jets, novae and supernovae, X-ray and
gamma-ray bursts, X-ray pulsars, double radio sources, solar flares, and the
source of cosmic ray acceleration.
It seems that Alfvén's DLs have been detected in the form of
“cosmic ray hotspots”
generated in Birkeland current filaments “less
than 0.03 light years” from the Sun. The hotspots should be
found to align with the local interstellar magnetic field. The median energy
of the cosmic rays reported at 20 TeV is within the range expected from a cosmic DL.
POSTSCRIPT: Alfvén didn't go so far as to consider a star as an
electrical discharge phenomenon. But if stars are electrically powered
from a galactic circuit then the consequences of this fact alone for
science and society are profound. We have been following a mirage of
knowledge that leads into a desert of ignorance. Our story of the Sun
is a myth. The holy grail of nuclear fusion energy "like the Sun"
is a false trail. In fact our entire cosmology of the big bang, galaxy
formation, the formation of the Sun and its family of planets, and the
history of the Earth is fiction. It ignores the most powerful organizing
electric force in favour of the feeblest force— gravity. Most of our 'big'
science, like the costly fusion experiments and space missions, has been
misdirected and wasteful. All sciences must be re-examined from a fresh
interdisciplinary perspective based on an interconnected Electric Universe.
[Click to enlarge]
And a final word from Alfvén, who took the unprecedented step of
predicting in his December 11, 1970 Nobel prize acceptance speech the
eventual crash of astrophysics at the end of its long dark tunnel:
“In conclusion, it seems that
astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of theoretical
astrophysicists who have gotten their education from the listed textbooks.
The multibillion dollar space data from astronomical telescopes should be
treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric
physics, circuit theory, and, of course, modern plasma physics. More than
99 percent of the Universe consists of plasma, and the ratio between electromagnetic
and gravitational forces is 1039.”
- H. Alfvén, NASA Conference Publication 2469, 1986, p. 16.
Permalink to this article.
Email this article to a friend
Public comment may be made on this article on the
Thunderbolts Forum/Thunderblogs (free membership required).
Please visit Wal's holoscience website.
YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky"
Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are
now available. Consistently
praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.