More Details Emerge

The SRG/eROSITA all-sky map of the Milky Way as a false color image, with energies from 6 million Kelvin (red) to 15 million Kelvin (blue). Credit: Predehl, P., Sunyaev, R.A., Becker, W. et al. Detection of large-scale X-ray bubbles in the Milky Way halo. Nature 588, 227–231 (2020). Click to enlarge.

December 11, 2020

Hourglass-shaped lobes of X-rays extend about 65,000 light-years out from each side of the Milky Way’s central bulge.

Rather than “bubbles” of radiation, the lobes are the signature of Birkeland currents moving through plasma and electrically charged dust. The intense electromagnetic fields associated with Birkeland currents cause electrons to move with velocities close to light speed.

When charged particles, like electrons, accelerate through an electric field, they emit synchrotron radiation that detectors often interpret to be X-rays and gamma-rays. Therefore, those high energies are not created by gravity. No super-duper central black hole is necessary when far more ordinary factors are taken into consideration.

First, gamma-rays are not emitted by the galactic nucleus, they come from the lobes, themselves. The lobes extend 50 degrees north and south from the plane of the Milky Way, and, since they are radiation emitters, they are exhibiting the signature of field-aligned electric currents. The charged particles in the lobes are in motion, so are generating electricity.

Electric charge surges out along galactic spin axes, forming double layers that can be seen as dumbbell like “lobes.” Electric charge spreads out around the galactic circumference, flowing back to the core along the spiral arms. Since the elements in a galactic circuit radiate energy, that energetic radiance shows that they are powered by larger circuits. The extent of the larger circuits might be traced through the polarized emissions coming from them.

A recent press release announces the discovery of something similar, although at lower energies:

“These ‘eROSITA bubbles’ show a striking similarity to the Fermi bubbles, detected a decade ago at even higher energies. The most likely explanation for these features is a massive energy injection from the Galactic center in the past, leading to shocks in the hot gas envelope of our galaxy.”

In the minds of consensus astrophysicists, the two phenomena can only be due to temperature. High temperature means high particle velocity, since heat rides along on the coattails of kinetic energy, so high speed particle collisions heat them up. Since that is their mindset, the only conclusion is they are “… caused either by a burst of star formation or by an outburst from the supermassive black hole at the Galactic center.”

Moving charges generating electromagnetic fields has been known since the days of Michael Faraday. Those moving charged particles constitute an electric current, and that current is wrapped in a magnetic field. When more charged particles accelerate in the same direction, the field gets stronger.

Double layers can expand and explode, throwing off plasma jets that erupt from opposite poles of a galaxy, ending in energetic clouds Those phenomena are based in plasma science and not gas kinetics, gravity, or particle physics. Astrophysicists see magnetic fields but not the underlying electric circuits, so they are at a loss to explain them.

Plasma’s behavior is governed by those circuits. Double layers with large voltages between them often exist. The electric forces in double layers are incomparably stronger than gravity, broadcasting over a wide range of frequencies.

Stephen Smith

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