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Energy, electric field strength, and charge density as a function of radial distance
from the Sun's surface. Credit: Don Scott from The Electric Sky.


Impulse Control
May 11, 2010

Magnetic reconnection events in miniature are said to heat the Sun's corona. As usual, there is no mention of Kristian Birkeland's great discoveries.

Heliophysicists do not know why the temperature of the Sun's corona is millions of degrees hotter than the surface. Based on the thermonuclear fusion model, as distance from the surface increases the temperature should decrease. It is a matter of simple thermal emission mechanics: temperature decreases with the square of the distance.

According to a press release from the Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory, scientists have determined why: "nanoflares." According to astrophysicist James Klimchuk: "They [nanoflares] occur within tiny strands that are bundled together to form a magnetic tube called a coronal loop."

Within the magnetic filaments, as the theory suggests, small bursts of impulsive energy from the "reconnection" of "unresolved strands" inside the coronal loops are responsible for heating the corona.

It has long been thought that the corona's multimillion degree temperature resulted from continuous or "steady" heating, as previously mentioned. That hypothesis would see coronal loops of a certain temperature as having a specific density. Observations by the Hinode satellite indicate that coronal loops are of substantially greater density than earlier proposals assumed, however.

In an Electric Universe, the "anomalous" density found in coronal loops, along with the unexplainable 10 million degree Celsius temperature of the corona—compared to the 5000 degree Celsius temperature of the surface (the photosphere)—is easily explained when Birkeland currents are considered.

An electric current creates a magnetic field (the stronger the current, the stronger the magnetic field). In some regions of the photosphere, horseshoe-shaped magnetic loops of plasma extend for thousands of kilometers out through the chromosphere. It has been recently discovered that those coronal loops are made up from bundles of rotating tubes. Those "flux tubes" are Birkeland currents.

Within Birkeland currents, electrical activity creates charge separation, forming what Hannes Alfvén called "double layers" in the plasma. A principle aspect of Birkeland currents is that they follow magnetic fields.

Powerful currents create an electromagnetic torus that causes the coronal loops to grow. If the current flow in the loop increases beyond a certain limit, the double layer will be destroyed, causing the energy stored in it to explode with tremendous force. So, rather than a new idea, nanoflares are a misinterpretation of Birkeland current filaments.

There is a certain amount of confusion when it comes to any theory of solar behavior that does not include electrical activity. Failing to recognize the fundamental structure of coronal loops and how they correspond to the electromagnetic behavior of Birkeland currents (the "strands" described by Klimchuk, et al.) has led to another ad hoc mechanism designed to preserve the legitimacy of theories whose time has long since passed.

It is not the intention of Picture of the Day articles to engage in bitter opprobrium, or to unduly criticize those who make their living in conventional science. However, the institutionalized dismissal of important foundational work by Kristian Birkeland and Hannes Alfvén deserves criticism. Their experiments in the laboratory, as well as their field work, led to a consistent and more appropriate hypothesis: it is electricity that powers the Sun and not internal nuclear fusion reactions.

Written by Stephen Smith from an idea suggested by Jim Johnson



"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

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


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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.
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EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
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