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A phase to phase electric arc on a 138 kilovolt line in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Photographer unknown.


Electrodynamic Duo Part Two
Sep 01, 2010

Pioneering discoveries about electricity flowing through dusty plasma provide the foundation for Electric Universe theory.

Irving Langmuir's scientific contributions were originally electromechanical when he invented a pump capable of drawing a high vacuum, eventually leading to an efficient vacuum tube (or "valve"). Later, along with Lewi Tonks, he realized that tungsten filaments inside lightbulbs would last much longer if he filled the glass with an inert gas, a crucial step in lightbulb development.

The thermal emissions from hot filaments led Langmuir to the consideration of charged particles moving through various gases. He was the first to coin the term "plasma" when referring to such ionized gas. Since charged regions in the gas tended to isolate themselves from the environment, as well as act in ways not governed by mechanical theories of gas behavior, he thought they appeared similar to the organic plasma component of cells.

Langmuir's most important contribution to plasma physics might be the Langmuir probe, a device that measures temperature and density within a plasma by using an electrostatic tip with a voltage bias. In 1999, the ill-fated Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spacecraft NOZOMI (PLANET-B) was fitted with a Langmuir probe in order to obtain the first set of measurements between Mars and the solar wind. There were several mission problems, however, and NOZOMI never made it into Mars orbit.

Although his contributions to many scientific fields, including plasma physics, were extensive, Langmuir's Nobel Prize was awarded in 1932 "for his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry."

Despite the insights demonstrated by Irving Langmuir, Kristian Birkeland was probably the first investigator to predict that space was filled with plasma: "It seems to be a natural consequence of our points of view to assume that the whole of space is filled with electrons and flying electric ions of all kinds. We have assumed that each stellar system in evolutions throws off electric corpuscles into space. It does not seem unreasonable therefore to think that the greater part of the material masses in the universe is found, not in the solar systems or nebulae, but in 'empty' space."

And: "From a physical point of view it is most probable that solar rays are neither exclusively negative nor positive rays, but of both kinds." Meaning that the solar wind is composed of both negatively and positively charged ions.

Electromagnetic disturbances (geomagnetic storms) are observed when bright aurorae are seen. In 1903, Birkeland's Arctic expedition found electric currents from the Aurora Borealis flowing parallel to the auroral formation. Because those electric currents must flow in a circuit, and the auroral glow appeared to result from events in space, he proposed that they flowed down from space at one end of the auroral arc and back out to space at the other.

In 1973, when the magnetometer onboard the U.S. Navy satellite Triad found two gigantic electric current sheets carrying a million amperes or more, one descending from the aurora's morning side and the other ascending from the evening side, they were named "Birkeland currents," since it was his research that predicted them.

Birkeland's polar electric currents are known today as "auroral electrojets" and are connected to electric currents that follow Earth's geomagnetic field into and away from the Arctic region. They have been called a "new" discovery by NASA scientists who continue to ignore Birkeland's work. The words "plasma" and "currents" are often used in NASA press releases, but they are usually paired with "impacts," "collisions," and "streams."

Birkeland created an experiment to test his ideas at the University of Oslo. He evacuated the air from a large chamber in which he placed a magnetized metal ball he called a "terrella." The terrella was meant to represent Earth ("terrella" meaning "little Earth"). Birkeland charged up both the terrella and the vacuum chamber at different voltages and polarities, observing how they behaved.

Birkeland revealed that electric currents travel along filaments that are constrained by magnetic fields. His experiment confirmed that parallel linear currents experience a long-range attractive force that is orders of magnitude greater than gravity. As plasma filaments get closer together, however, they do not coalesce, they rotate around each other in a helix. A short-range magnetic repulsion occurs, preventing them from "shorting out." Instead, they remain isolated from each other.

The closer that electric filaments (Birkeland currents) get to one another, the faster they spin. The pairs of "transmission lines" become a twisted electrical tornado, or plasma vortex, that scales by several orders of magnitude. The twisted pairs that exist in space create a field-aligned current flow that follows the magnetic field, permitting electric power to travel vast distances.

Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén affirmed an interest in the acceleration of charged particles, especially those at cosmic ray energies, while at the Nobel Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. His concepts of field-aligned electric fields, combined with the field-aligned currents described by Birkeland, are now seen as necessary for the acceleration of charged particles in the polar aurorae.

Alfvén's proposed idea of "exploding double layers" is one of the foundational principles relied upon by Electric Universe advocates because they generate cosmic rays at extreme energies. Cosmic rays are ionized particles. The majority of cosmic rays are single protons, but nuclei as heavy as uranium have been detected. As consensus theories state, heavy particles are accelerated to relativistic velocities by unknown forces and then whipped out into the galaxy like a shotgun blast, scattering in every direction.

Hannes Alfvén described a double layer as, "...a plasma formation by which a plasma, in the physical meaning of this word, protects itself from the environment. It is analogous to a cell wall by which a plasma, in the biological meaning of this word, protects itself from the environment."

Double layers might cutoff the current flow in a galactic circuit causing a catastrophic rise in voltage. The powerful energy release, or "exploding double layer" is what astronomers sometimes call a "supernova," or a "gamma ray burst."

Alfvén, said in 1986 (NASA CP 2469): "Double layers in space should be classified as a new type of celestial object (one example is the double radio sources). It is tentatively suggested that x-ray and gamma ray bursts may be due to exploding double layers. In solar flares, DLs with voltages of 10^9 Volts or even more may occur, and in galactic phenomena, we may have voltages that are several orders of magnitude larger."

Plasma, not hot gas, is flowing through space. The physics of electric currents apply, not the physics of winds. Inside planetary nebulae are one or more plasma sheaths, or "double layers," that act like capacitors, alternately storing and releasing electrical energy. The current flow alternately increases and decreases within the sheaths inside and outside the shell. Because plasma in laboratory experiments forms cellular structures separated by thin walls of opposite charge (double layers), it is probable that the same thing happens in nebulae.

There are many more men and women of science who have contributed to understanding the "electrodynamic duo" of electricity and magnetism. In future articles, more insights into their contributions will be offered.

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.

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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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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.
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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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