Drought To Deluge

Sunspot predictions for Cycle 24. Credit: NASA/Dr. David Hathaway, Ames Research Center.


Jan 18, 2017

The quiet Sun.

Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In an Electric Universe, the Sun is an anode, or positively charged terminal, with an invisible virtual cathode, called the heliopause, at the farthest limit of its corona. The heliospheric boundary, millions of kilometers away, is an electric double layer region centered on the Sun that isolates it from galactic plasma. A voltage difference occurs inside the heliosphere, across the heliopause boundary sheath, between the Sun and the galaxy. Inside the heliopause the constant electric field centered on the Sun is enough to power what is known as the solar discharge.

The discovery of a “solar wind” escaping the Sun at around 700 kilometers per second, came as a surprise for advocates of a gravity-driven Universe. Heat and radiation, alone, are not enough to explain how solar wind particles accelerate past Venus and Earth. No one expected such acceleration in the standard models, but an electric field focused on the Sun would cause radial movement of charged particles: the greater their observed acceleration, the stronger the field.

A positive space-charge sheath nearest the Sun accelerates positive ions, principally protons, to form the solar wind. But as noted, the interplanetary electric field is extremely weak. No spacecraft has been designed to measure the voltage differential across 100 meters, let alone 10,000. However, the fact that there is a solar wind confirms existence of an electric field around the Sun that can sustain an electron drift current across the Solar System. Within the heliospheric volume, the implied current is sufficient to power the Sun.

During periods of high activity, the Sun ejects charged particles in the billions of tons known as coronal mass ejections (CME). They are normally slow moving, requiring about 24 hours to reach Earth. An indication of their arrival is an intensification of the aurorae at both poles. Those flare events are labeled C, M, or X: light, medium, or powerful. On September 7, 2005 an X17 CME impacted Earth’s magnetosphere, knocking out radio transmissions and overloading power station transformers. As reported at the time, was it a coincidence that hurricanes Katrina and Rita occurred on either side of the second largest X-flare ever recorded?

The Sun is entering a quiet phase, so more charged particles are able to reach Earth. The Sun’s electromagnetic field is not strong enough to deflect them around the Solar System, so they cause clouds to form when they encounter our watery atmosphere. The effect is the same as an old-fashioned cloud chamber: when fast moving ions fly through a region of high humidity a track of condensation appears. Those tiny droplets were once used to monitor subatomic particles produced by “atom-smashers”.

In 1997, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Fris-Christensen published “Variation of Cosmic Ray Flux and Global Cloud Coverage – a Missing Link in Solar–Climate Relationships”. Their theory is that the greater the number of high-energy ions entering Earth’s magnetic field, the greater will be the cloud cover. In an Electric Universe, the relationship between incoming high-speed protons from CMEs, as well as cosmic rays, and an increase in storm activity is not coincidental.

The smoothed sunspot number peaked in April of 2014, above the first peak in March of 2012 and has been declining ever since. The current predicted size means this is the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14, in February of 1906. It is safe to assume that there is wet weather ahead for the next few years.

Stephen Smith

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