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Left: Tvashtar “volcanic plume” on Io. Credit: NASA/New Horizons mission.
Right: Solar prominence. Credit: NASA/Marshall Spaceflight Center.

Jan 25, 2008

Filamentary My Dear Watson

Phenomena throughout the visible universe exhibit features that are twisted and “stringy”. From plume to prominence it is plasma interactions that we see.

In previous Thunderbolts Picture of the Day articles, there have been many instances where we have identified formations cut in stone or puffed-out in clouds of ionized gas that are not easily explained by conventional theories. Two such figures are shown at the top of the page. One is said to be a volcano erupting on the surface of Jupiter’s active moon Io. The other is a massive flaring eruption from the sun. How do both events relate to one another when they occur in such disparate environments?

Every world in the solar system is a charged body orbiting in a plasma. There are many ways in which plasma interacts with dust or atmospheric gasses no matter how hot or cold they are. Spacecraft sent to other planets, as well as satellites orbiting our own planet, have detected auroras, lightning, tornadoes and dust devils. Volcanoes on Earth have been found to “spit lightning” from their vents. Global dust storms on Mars are shown to be fed by thousands of sky-high funnels. Further into the solar system remote instruments are finding radio noise, electrified comets, spokes in Saturn’s rings and many other modes of electrical activity.

When plasma moves through a dust or gas, it tends to ionize the material and cause electric current to flow. As was demonstrated by Faraday more than a century ago, when electricity pushes through any substance a magnetic field is created. One aspect of magnetism in electrified plasma is that it creates what are sometimes called “plasma ropes”. The magnetic field surrounds the plasma, confining it into a coherent system known as a Birkeland current.

Birkeland currents are ionic filaments that transport charge great distances through space along their tubular interiors. The tubes are really double-walled, folded layers of charge separation that isolate the positive and negative potential, keeping them from interacting and neutralizing each other.

The sun’s energy moves through the solar system in Birkeland currents for billions of miles as the solar wind – a name that is, unfortunately, inadequate in its strictly mechanical definition. In reality, there is a storm of ions blasting out of the sun along gigantic filaments that prevent the discharge from dissipating as it goes.

Electric Universe theorists insist that galactic evolution can also be explained in terms of large-scale plasma discharges that form wheels of coherent filaments. Why stars in galaxies tend to coalesce in long arcs like bright beads on a line is one of a hundred mysteries that conventional cosmology must confront. No gravity-only hypothesis can resolve the issue of star formation, in general, but the structure that has been seen within the barred spirals and the tremendous elliptical whirlpools that congregate in million-light-year clusters continues to elude definition. 

As Don Scott, author of The Electric Sky and from whom the title of this paper was stolen, wrote about the way plasma acts in the universe:

“Plasma phenomena are scalable. Their electrical and physical properties remain the same, independent of the size of the plasma. In a laboratory plasma, of course, things happen much more quickly than on, say, galaxy scales, but the phenomena are identical -- they obey the same laws of physics.

In other words we can make accurate models of cosmic scale plasma behavior in the lab, and generate effects that mimic those observed in space. It has been demonstrated that plasma phenomena can be scaled to fourteen orders of magnitude. (Alfven hypothesized that they can be scaled to 28 orders or more!) Electric currents flowing in plasmas produce most of the observed astronomical phenomena that remain inexplicable if we assume gravity and magnetism to be the only forces at work.”

By Stephen Smith

Please visit our new "Thunderblog" page

Through the initiative of managing editor Dave Smith, we’ve begun the launch of a new
page called Thunderblog. Timely presentations of fact and opinion, with emphasis on
new discoveries and the explanatory power of the Electric Universe."

new: online video page

The Electric Sky and The Electric Universe available now!


Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.

More info

Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.

More info


In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.

More info

  EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Steve Smith, Mel Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott

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