Voyager 1 Updates Solar Electron Flux

Seems Voyager 1 has been able to supply us with more accurate data to enable new calculations of the Solar Electron Flux[1].

In the late 1970’s Ralph Juergens investigated how (or whether) the Sun could be obtaining its energy via an externally supplied flow of electrical power[2]. Now, in late 2011, we find that, because of data just recovered by the Voyager I space probe, Juergens’ estimate of the number of available incoming electrons was far too conservative. Either that, or his initial estimate of the Sun’s required cathode drop (voltage) was far too high.

A recent NASA release entitled NASA’s Voyager Hits New Region at Solar System Edge[3] provides the following important updates to the information Juergens used in making his estimates:

  1. Voyager 1 is now approaching the heliopause (the outer surface of the Sun’s plasmasphere). It is approximately 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the Sun. The probe has not yet crossed the boundary into interstellar space so this is a minimum estimate of the radius of the heliosphere.
  2. Voyager has detected a 100-fold increase in the intensity of high-energy electrons entering our solar system from elsewhere in the galaxy.
  3. The probe has been measuring the speed of the solar wind and for the first time in its journey, the wind now “blows back at us”.

The “solar constant,” defined as the total radiant energy at all wavelengths reaching an area of one square centimeter at the Earth’s distance from the Sun, is about 0.137 watts per square centimeter[4]. It works out, then, that the Sun must be emitting about 6.5×107 watts per square meter of solar “surface,” and the total power output of the Sun is approximately 4×1026 watts.

The hypothetical electric input must then provide a power of 4×1026 watts. Juergens posited that the Sun’s cathode drop is of the order of 1010 volts. In that event the total power input divided by that voltage is 4×1016 amperes. The velocity of the interstellar winds is estimated[5] at 200 – 1000 km/s. This is in the range 2×105 and 106 m/s. So let us suppose that the effective velocity of a typical interstellar electron is at least 105 m/s.

At the time Juergens made his calculation (1979), current estimates of the state of ionization of the interstellar gas were that there should be at least 100,000 free electrons per cubic m. But in light of the new updates (see #2 above), this is now increased 100 fold to 107. The random electric current of these electrons would be Ir = Nev where N is the electron density per cubic meter, e is the electron charge in coulombs, and v is the average velocity of the electrons (in m/s). Using these values, we find that the random electric current density is about 1.6×10-7 Amp per square meter through a surface oriented at any angle.

The total electron current that can be drawn by the solar discharge is the product of this random current density and the surface area of the sphere occupied by the cathode drop. We now have a fairly good measurement of how large this sphere is (see update #1 above). Its radius is approximately 1.8×1013 m, so its spherical boundary must have a collecting surface area of something greater than 4×1027 square meters.

Such a surface would then collect a current of interstellar electrons amounting to approximately 1.6×10-7 Amp per square meter x 4×1027 square meters = 6.4×1020 A. (Some 16,000 times the number needed!). Of course this calculation involves many estimated quantities, but the point is that it is not reasonable to conclude that there are not enough electrons entering the Sun’s environment to power it. In fact, in light of the new NASA data, it is now possible to reduce our estimate of the Sun’s voltage to 1010/16,000 = 6.25 million volts.

NASA’s observation (#3 above) that the direction of the solar wind actually reverses (begins to flow sunward) out near the heliopause is further confirmation that the analogy between the behavior of the Sun’s surrounding plasma and what is observed in laboratory “gas” (plasma) discharge tubes is a valid one. Near the cathode of such a tube, a layer of electrons is often observed. Such a layer creates a reversal in the direction of the electric field (force per unit charge) applied to the positive charge carriers (+ions in the solar wind). The heliopause is a virtual cathode for the Sun’s plasma discharge.

A standard (hackneyed) criticism from skeptics of Juergens’ Electric Star hypothesis has always been, “where are all the necessary incoming electrons?” It appears NASA is in the process of finding them. Perhaps we could issue a press release of our own entitled “Dark Electrons Found by NASA.”

The Electric Sun is increasingly vindicated with each new piece of data NASA releases.

Donald E. Scott


1.  From Appendix C of The Electric Sky, Scott, D.E., Mikamar 2006.
2.  Available:
3.  Available:
4.  R.C. Wilson, Journal of Geophysical Research, 83,4003-4007 1978.
5.  Peratt, A. Physics of the Plasma Universe, Springer-Verlag, 1992.

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