May 5, 2020
Plasma is the fourth state of matter.
“Without electricity, the air would rot.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
By definition, “plasma” means that electrons are stripped from atomic nuclei, so they can move within a material. This happens because electron orbital dynamics are overcome by thermal or other energy sources. Due to gravity and other influences, electric discharges can take place when regions in plasma develop excess charge. Those discharges form magnetic sheaths along their discharge axes. If there is enough charge flow, sheaths will glow. Those regions of isolated charge, or “cells”, are known as double layers.
Double layers induce intense electric fields, which accelerate charged particles. When electric charge spirals in an electromagnetic field, X-rays, extreme ultraviolet, and sometimes gamma rays are generated. Electric fields that form along plasma strands can create an attractive force orders of magnitude greater than gravity. Although, instead of merging, those Birkeland current strands (sometimes thousands of light-years long and wide) twist into helices that rotate faster as they compresses tighter.
The cosmos is interlaced with electric circuits made up of those energized filaments composed of twisting Birkeland currents. At the largest scale, there are loads in the circuits converting electrical energy into rotational energy. They are known as galaxies.
Electric Universe advocates propose that galactic evolution can better be explained in terms of those large-scale plasma discharges. Why stars in galaxies (and galaxies, themselves) tend to coalesce in long arcs is one of a hundred mysteries confronting conventional cosmology. Gravity-only hypotheses cannot resolve the issue of star formation, so what is observed within the barred spirals and elliptical whirlpools that congregate in million-light-year clusters continues to elude explanation.
As written elsewhere, plasma is not a substance, it is a state of matter, so it cannot be analyzed in terms of its component parts, it arises in complicated interactions. It is an emergent phenomenon. “Emergent” means: “arising as an effect of complex causes and not analysable simply as the sum of their effects.” As previously written, properties like filamentation, long-range attraction and short-range repulsion, cell-like differentiation, and characteristic instabilities indicate a system of interaction.
Electric charge moving in closed circuits through plasma attracts matter over vast distances. Double layers might glow in visible or infrared light. However, plasma might also initiate dark discharges. Perhaps those are the filamentary “dark lanes” seen by astronomers. Radio lobes far above the poles of active galaxies are the signature of Birkeland currents, while the spiral arms of some galaxies exhibit dark, twisted strands of material extending from their cores.
The Thunderbolts Picture of the Day is generously supported by the Mainwaring Archive Foundation.