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The Boomerang Nebula. Credit: Hubble Heritage Team, J. Biretta (STScI) et al.

Back to Plasma
Aug 02, 2010

Astronomers believe this nebula to be one degree above absolute zero. Temperature has little to do with electrical interactions, however.

"Bipolar outflow" is a term used to describe the nebular structure seen above, although the cause of the effect remains baffling to scientists who study such phenomena. One theory is that its shape is due to slow-moving stellar material interfering with dust and gas that was ejected from a red giant star at higher velocities. Magnetic fields are sometimes invoked to describe lobate celestial objects, but the electric current flow needed for their generation is neglected.

Astronomical theories do not provide for a mechanism that can form nebular clouds and their energetic emissions. They do not know how stars “eject” their outer layers or how lobes of matter speed from their polar axes. The reason for that lack of understanding is that nebulae are not composed of inert gas, cold or hot, but of plasma.

According to Electric Universe theory, bipolar formations are not puzzling or surprising. Rather, they are readily explicable and expected. From nebula to galaxy, hourglass configurations are one signature of electric currents flowing through the aforementioned plasma.

Gases obey Newtonian laws of kinetic motion with molecules bumping into each other or accelerated by "shock waves" imparted by other particles. Plasma, on the other hand, behaves according to the laws of electricity. Stars are born within twisting Birkeland currents that flow around a circuit through the galaxy. The z-pinch effect squeezes plasma inside those filaments, igniting stars and forming toroids of electricity around stellar equators. It is actually the electrical current density that causes plasma in nebulae to glow, not reflections or thermal emissions.

Nebulae often exhibit long tendrils and bubbles within their symmetrical hourglass shapes. According to conventional theories, those features are the result of stellar winds blowing off the parent star, crashing into the slower material ahead of them. In the case of the Boomerang Nebula (and others) the unmistakeable appearance of Birkeland current filaments is clearly visible. The overall configuration corresponds to the helices and pillars that electrical discharges in plasma can create.

In the laboratory, plasma forms cells separated by thin walls of opposite charge called double layers. Could separation of charges also take place in nebulae? That question might take a long time to resolve because the only way to detect a double layer in space is to insert a Langmuir probe into one.

Although no definitive answers are yet forthcoming, Electric Universe advocates assume that plasma will behave in space in the same way as it does in the laboratory. Electric double layers resulting from charge separation impelled Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén to suggest that they have their own classification alongside stars and galaxies.

Stephen Smith



"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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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.
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