legacy page  
     homeaboutessential guidepicture of the daythunderblogsnewsmultimediapredictionsproductsget involvedcontact

picture of the day

chronological archive               subject archive


Kilometer high dust devils with glowing tops are visible in this image at middle right and upper left. Credit: Mars Global Surveyor/Malin Space Science Systems.

Mars Lights and Lightning
Mar 11, 2010

More electrical activity has been detected on the Red Planet.

According to a previous Picture of the Day, Martian aurorae have been discovered that are centered on regions near the South Pole. Although Mars has no intrinsic magnetic field, it does possess concentrated bands of crustal magnetism in its lower latitudes. Electric Universe explanations notwithstanding, planetary scientists do not know what caused the peculiar magnetized stripes that seem to focus on a specific point in the south, or why the auroral events should be associated with them.

Recently, NASA investigators announced that they have detected "non-thermal radiation" from the Martian surface. Since the energy readings were independent of the surface temperature, and occurred during one of the giant dust storms that sometimes rage through the southern plains, the assumption is that they are evidence for lightning discharges.

The dust storms that occasionally engulf an entire hemisphere of Mars have been discussed several times in the past. They have been identified with dust devils—really tornado-like whirlwinds whose tops are higher than Mt. Everest—that appear to draw finely divided dust up through thousands of funnels and carry it for hundreds of kilometers. NASA scientists assume that the synchrotron radiation they detected was caused by electric charge build up in the sand grains that subsequently discharged as lightning, but that may not be the case.

What causes Martian dust storms and why are they electrified? The air is 100 times thinner on Mars and averages 75 degrees colder than Earth. The environment appears to be bone dry, with only some suggestive experiments by the Phoenix lander to indicate the possible presence of water ice. Yet Martian dust storms are larger than any seen on Earth. Occasionally, when Mars is closest to the sun, dust obscures the whole planet.

When NASA studied dust devils in the Arizona desert in order to understand more about the ones that have been seen on Mars, they found an electric field of up to 10,000 volts per meter associated with dust devils on Earth. The normal fair weather electric field at the Earth's surface measures 100 volts per meter. This suggests that dust devils on both Earth and Mars are atmospheric electric discharge phenomena similar to the electric breezes produced by "ionic wind" air purifiers

In the Electric Universe theory, no collisions from bouncing sand grains are necessary. Charge separation already exists in the atmosphere. Without clouds like those on Earth to send lightning down to ground level, the electric discharges on Mars form giant whirlwinds that are part of an interplanetary electrical circuit. It is that same circuit that drives weather systems on Earth. If this is true, then Martian “dust devils” and those on Earth are both illustrations of how electricity behaves in the solar system.

Electrons spiraling in a magnetic field will emit synchrotron radiation, the most common type of "non-thermal" radiation. Whirling, electrically charged dust storms, spinning at hundreds of kilometers per hour, create intense magnetic fields that tend to confine the charged particles and accelerate them around the vortex at high speed. Rapid acceleration, coupled with high voltages in the dust causes the electric glow seen recently on Mars.

Stephen Smith



"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.

  This free site search script provided by JavaScript Kit  
  FREE update -

Weekly digest of Picture of the Day, Thunderblog, Forum, Multimedia and more.
*** NEW DVD ***
  Symbols of an Alien Sky
Selections Playlist

An e-book series
for teachers, general readers and specialists alike.
(FREE viewing)
  Thunderbolts of the Gods

  Follow the stunning success of the Electric Universe in predicting the 'surprises' of the space age.  
  Our multimedia page explores many diverse topics, including a few not covered by the Thunderbolts Project.  

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

The opinions expressed in the Thunderbolts Picture Of the Day are those of the authors of
the material, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Thunderbolts Project.
The linking to material off-site in no way endorses such material and the Thunderbolts
Project has no control of nor takes any responsibility for any content on linked sites.

EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott,
Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman,
Tom Wilson
WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott
© Copyright 2010:
top ]

home   •   picture of the day   •   thunderblogs   •   multimedia   •   resources   •   forum   •   updates   •   contact us   •   support us