N132D’s Electric Arc
A bubble of x-rays generated by
high-energy oxygen ions is said to
be from a supernova explosion.
However, it appears more like an
electric discharge through dusty
recent announcement from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a bubble
of expanding gases from a stellar explosion is creating a spherical
shockwave that is traveling through the surrounding interstellar
dust at extremely high velocity. According to scientists, the
shockwave has formed a “shell” of compressed gas where temperatures
are so high that it is generating several frequencies of X-rays. In
the image at the top of the page, red indicates low-energy x-rays,
green is moderate-energy and blue is high-energy.
One unusual aspect to this
particular supernova remnant is that it is rich in oxygen
isotopes, something not normally present in interstellar
nebulae or “gas bubbles”. It is the explosion of such large
stars that is supposed to be responsible for the creation of
all the elements in the universe beyond the simplest
isotopes of hydrogen and helium. Indeed, the vast majority
of what makes up planets, moons and planetesimals
(presumably) orbiting other stars was forged through fusion
as they “burned-up” their hydrogen fuel and converted it
into heavier elements.
Once the process created enough iron “ash” in the core, the
star no longer supported its thermonuclear engine and it
exploded, throwing the atomic debris into the galaxy. It is
that hypothetical process that produces shockwaves in giant
dust clouds, initiating further star formation as a
chain-reaction in the galaxy.
As we have written in many prior Picture of the Day
articles, however, we do not live in a strictly mechanistic
universe where things happen only when there are explosions,
shockwaves, compressed gas, rebound, expansion or other
kinetic and gravity-based forces. Rather, the universe is
crackling with seething energies that exceed the powers of
gravity and inertia by many orders of magnitude.
It is electric currents in plasma that makes up what we
observe. It is responsible for the abundant oxygen that is
revealed in the green regions of N132D. Rather than an
expanding shockfront of gases, the features shown in the
Chandra image are lit by electricity passing through the
dusty plasma. The x-ray radiation is typical of that given
off by highly excited stars, indicating extremely strong
electrical stress. The electric current generates x-rays
when it passes through heavy ions in the plasma.
In an Electric Universe, all stars synthesize heavy elements
in the concentrated plasma discharges of their photospheres.
Supernovae are the result of a star effectively “throwing a
switch” in the galactic circuit. The result is the same as
an unintended circuit break in an earthly power grid where
the stored electromagnetic energy in the entire circuit is
suddenly focused at one point.
By Stephen Smith
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