picture of the day
Chandra image of the Crab Nebula.
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al
Nov 21, 2008
The Consensus and the Crab
Gravity is a weak force, and it can
generate only a dribble of energy. Yet throughout the
universe we see floods of energy.
The consensus of
opinion among astronomers is that the energies of the
universe can only come from gravitational mechanisms.
Because the force of gravity, and therefore its energy, is
directly related to mass, the floods of energy require
enormities of mass.
consensus opinion holds that magnitude of mass is
equivalent to amount of matter, many of the floods of
energy require more matter than can fit into the observed
sizes of their sources. Consensus opinion takes recourse in
boosting densities: by ignoring all that is known
empirically and much that is known theoretically about the
compression of matter, the consensus opinion can believe
that however much matter is needed can be crammed into the
of such super-densities with the requirements for
gravitational production of observed energies is accepted as
prima facie proof that the consensus opinion is, in fact, a
fact, despite the circular reasoning.
This is the fact
that makes the central star in the Crab Nebula’s inner x-ray
structure (above image) a pulsar. The
press release for this new image states
matter-of-factly: “The nebula is powered by a rapidly
rotating, highly magnetized neutron star, or pulsar (white
dot near the center). The combination of rapid rotating
[sic] and strong magnetic field generates an intense
electromagnetic field that creates jets of matter and
antimatter moving away from the north and south poles of the
pulsar, and an intense wind flowing out in the equatorial
A neutron star
has so much matter squeezed into it that the electrons have
been squeezed into the nucleus to combine with the protons
there and form neutrons. The uncharged neutrons are then
packed together, as congested as commuters at rush hour. The
pulsations of the pulsar are attributed to a hot spot on its
surface that sends a flash of radiation with each rotation
of the star. Its operation is analogous to a lighthouse
light, back when such lights were mechanically rotating
devices, before they were converted to electrically pulsed
Nebula’s pulsar pulses 30 times a second. This would mean
that the star rotates 30 times a second. This would mean
that the centrifugal force is stronger than the star’s
gravity … which would mean that the star tore itself apart a
long time ago, except that consensus opinion crammed in
additional matter to bump up the mass sufficiently to
increase the gravitational force enough to hold it together.
another possibility, one not considered by consensus
opinion, is that, as with modern lighthouses,
electrical oscillations make the pulsar blink.
Super-dense matter and super-fast rotation aren’t needed.
The x-ray structure—the jets and rings and sharp boundaries
diocotron instability around the periphery—are common
characteristics of plasma discharges … as is the strong
magnetic field, the origin of which consensus opinion
neglects to explain. Externally driven electrical circuits
provide a unified and coherent explanation that is
consistent with electromagnetic theory and laboratory
investigations. It’s an explanation that doesn’t require
exceptions, circular reasoning, or a consensus of opinion.
By Mel Acheson
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