Electromagnetic Star Birth

W51, a star-forming region in the Milky Way. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Click to enlarge.

August 31, 2020

Stars are not strictly gravitational entities.

On August 25, 2003 NASA launched the Spitzer Space Telescope, designed to study the cosmos in infrared light. Spitzer retired on January 30, 2020 because its maneuvering fuel was exhausted.

W51 is a cloud of gas and dust capable of bearing stars far more massive than the Sun, according to astrophysicists, because of the mass of neutral hydrogen within the cloud. Infrared observations from Spitzer indicated that massive young stars already exist in the center of the nebula.

According to standard theories of stellar evolution, redshifts in the nebula’s spectrum indicate a rapid infall of material in the cloud. As usual, all analysis is based on kinetic models of gas behavior and not on the mathematics of electrified plasma.

The nebular theory of star formation was initially proposed in the eighteenth century by Kant and Laplace, with modifications in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to accommodate objections. Since gravity is a relatively weak force (one can overcome the gravitational pull of an entire planet by simply lifting one’s arm), for a gas cloud to collapse under its own weight it must be cool and possess no magnetic fields.

However, in the so-called “stellar nurseries”, new stars are always embedded in what appear to be chaotic regions of hot dust, energized plasma, and magnetic fields!

The consensus solution to those problems is to conjure shock waves from stellar winds and supernovae “ramming through” the star-forming regions, pushing the thin wisps of dusty gases into gravitational compression, thereby jump-starting the star forming process. The origin of stellar “winds” continues to defy explanation, though, and shock-heated gases should rapidly dissipate, not collapse.

The Electric Star theory resolves many of the distorted opinions that arise from misunderstanding the role of plasma and electric fields in space. Rather than kinetic activity, W51 is powered by electric currents.

Electric sheaths that are normally invisible are “pumped” with energy from galactic Birkeland currents in which they are immersed. The excess input power pushes them into “glow mode,” while increased flux density draws matter from the surrounding space into filaments that ignite the nebular plasma, electrically.

Electric discharges in plasma clouds create double layers, or sheaths, along their current axes. Positive charge builds up on one side and negative charge on the other. An electric field develops between the sides, and if enough current is applied the sheath glows, otherwise it is invisible. Electric currents flow along the sheaths. In plasma, the currents spiral into filaments, or double layers, that attract each other. Rather than merging, however, they spiral around, gradually pinching down into arc mode discharges.

It is in this way that stars are born. Gravity, although it plays a small role in stellar evolution, is far too weak a force when compared to the force of an electric field on ionized particles. More massive stars are not necessarily “heavier” than the Sun, they are stronger electric discharges, which are naturally accommodated by the expansion and increasing luminosity of their photospheric discharges. The size limit of stars is not determined by gravity, but by electromagnetic forces without and within the growing star.

Stephen Smith

The Thunderbolts Picture of the Day is generously supported by the Mainwaring Archive Foundation.

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