Homunculus in 3D

NGC 3372, the Carina nebula. Credit: NASA/JPL and the Hubble Space Telescope team.

NGC 3372, the Carina nebula. Credit: NASA/JPL and the Hubble Space Telescope team.


Sep 24, 2015

A double-lobed nebula stirs the imagination.

Inside the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way, is a structure known to astrophysicists as a “supernova remnant”. Theories of stellar evolution state that extremely massive stars are short-lived, converting their mass into radiant energy at a furious rate. Once their nuclear fuel is exhausted, a process begins that ends with the star imploding and blowing off its outer shell of gas and dust.

Astronomers note that Eta Carinae, otherwise known as N 63a is blowing off “intense winds” of material at such a high velocity that wave front collisions are generating X-rays where the shells intersect, because “shockwaves” are propagating through the nebula, though it is also stated that the winds are highly ionized. It is thought that, as electrons bounce back and forth in the magnetic fields, they collide with low-frequency photons, thus emitting X-rays.

Previous Picture of the Day articles argue that many different structures are active energy sources. Some of them eject charged matter out from their poles, or leave long braided tails extending for light-years, or have hourglass shapes composed of tightly bunched filaments.

Eta Carinae exhibits a distinctive hourglass shape resulting from intense plasma discharges. It appears to be radiating at four-million-times the brilliance of the Sun, indicating a high current density stellar z-pinch. Arc light from Eta Carinae is so bright that it is generating X-rays powerful enough to be detected on Earth, 7500 light-years away. It also erupted with a flash of visible light, brighter than the Moon, in the 1800s. It faded from visibility until 1941, when it began to brighten to a naked-eye object, and it remains so today. As Electric Universe advocates think, that variability is due to changes in an electric circuit caused by the motions of two giant stars at the heart of the system.

A recent press release states that astronomers have created a three-dimensional model of the material ejected from Eta Carinae in the nineteenth century. As Thomas Madura from the Goddard Space Flight Center wrote: “Our model indicates that this vast shell of gas and dust has a more complex origin than is generally assumed. For the first time, we see evidence suggesting that intense interactions between the stars in the central binary played a significant role in sculpting the nebula we see today.”

Their 3D model of the Homunculus nebula shows “protrusions, trenches, holes and irregularities in its molecular hydrogen emission”. Naturally, their model is based on the shift of light wavelengths as the ionized cloud moves through space. Rather than Doppler shifting of light, Electric Universe theory suggests that they are observing synchrotron radiation coming from the electrically active binary system.

When electrons move, they are called an electric current. Charged particles moving through a magnetic field are a “field-aligned current”, also known as a Birkeland current. Synchrotron radiation is an electromagnetic emission caused by high speed electrons influenced by a magnetic field at an angle to their direction of travel. That field forces them into a circular or helical motion around the magnetic field.

Eta Carinae’s hourglass shape indicates plasma, not gas. Stars, galaxies, nebulae, and planets are all moving through plasma in space, so they are affected by electric charges. Theories based on compressed gas, shockwaves, and winds demonstrate that a serious lack of understanding exists within the astronomical community. Nebulae often exhibit long tendrils and bubbles within their symmetrical hourglass shapes. It is those instabilities that are seen in the Homunculus nebula.

Stephen Smith

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