Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus

Dusty aggregate composed of nanoparticles. Credit: NASA.


Dec 4, 2017

Stardust factories.

“Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Clouds of dust in space are said to form because stars condense out of dusty protoplanetary nebulae. Nebulae are said to be “star forming” when points of X-ray radiation are observed by space telescopes. X-ray emissions are believed by astronomers to indicate that new fusion reactions are beginning within a nebular cloud.

Conventional viewpoints see supernovae sending shockwaves into star-forming regions, compressing the wispy dust and gas along a shock front. That process is what astronomers say “jump-starts” star formation. How shock waves travel through the incredibly rarified medium of interstellar space until they encounter a nebular cloud is not known, however.

Unlike the meteoric dust grain shown at the top of the page, free-floating nebular dust is just 0.1 microns in size, or smaller than the wavelength of blue light at 0.45 microns. According to the “cosmic dust cycle”, some stars blow off incredible quantities of dust when they explode.

On February 23, 1987 a violent supernova was seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The supernova, known as 1987A, illuminated a ring of gas and dust many times larger than the Solar System. The explosion was so powerful that it glowed in visible, extreme ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths.

The Herschel Space Observatory observed the supernova remnant in 2010 with its infrared detectors, finding dust in the ring at -100 Celsius and -250 Celsius, only a few degrees above absolute zero. There is so much cold dust that scientists estimate its mass as more than 6 × 10^30 kilograms—more than 200,000 Earths. This “dust repository” seems to conform to the theory that supernovae release most of the dust that is seen in space.

Scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center in San Jose, California created particles of space dust using a device known as the Cosmic Simulation Chamber (COSmIC). Researchers inject a cold spray of hydrocarbon molecules into a vacuum chamber, where they are “processed” in an electric discharge. Particles about 10 nanometers in size were formed, with some as large as 1.5 micrometers in diameter, about a tenth the width of a human hair.

So, astrophysicists think dust is created in supernovae, and scientists using a cold vacuum chamber with a powerful electric discharge are “recreating” those events. What does that mean for the Electric Universe theory?

The Picture of the Day makes a point that stars are not gravitationally compressed cold gas and dust. Rather, they are composed of plasmas, the “fourth state” of matter. Plasma is ionized: one or more electrons are stripped from the atoms in its substance, making it electrically charged. Plasma does not behave like pressurized gas, it behaves according to the tenets of plasma physics.

Laboratory experiments confirm that electricity flowing through plasma forms double layers. This is the “charge separation” so often mentioned in these pages. Could charge separation be the foundation for the electrical explosions known as supernovae?

In an electrically charged plasma star, explosions occur because of double layer breakdowns. A star’s power comes from external currents of electric charge flowing through vast circuits in space. Instead of “core rebound” or “white dwarf accretion”, supernovae are the result of a stellar “circuit breaker”, where the stored electromagnetic energy in the circuit is suddenly focused at one point.

When a star’s double layer explodes, the electromagnetic energy stored in its galactic circuit surges into the explosion. The resulting supernova radiation is emitted across the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma rays. So, it is electricity that causes the stars to shine, and it is electricity that causes them to explode. If dust is formed in supernovae, it is ironic that consensus science needs an electric discharge to create it in the laboratory.

Stephen Smith

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