An Argument for the Consideration of Electrodynamics in Cosmology
The force of gravity rules supreme according to the cosmological model currently in vogue. But is gravity actually the strongest force in nature and is it truly the only prime mover and shaker in the cosmos? Magnetic fields have been strongly implicated in formation and sustenance of many astrophysical processes. Many astronomers who are unsure of magnetic fields’ genesis have also viewed them as mysterious entities. However, a reading of the definition of magnetic fields and electromagnetic field theory suggest that the answer is nigh and has been either unintentionally or actively overlooked by the queen of the sciences. Magnetic fields are rooted in electrodynamics (the collective net motions of like charged particles).
If you ask nearly any astronomer what force(s) dominate the universe, you will get much the same reply: gravity! If you ask the same astronomers about the function of electricity in space, you may get a different answer from each. The answers may range from "space is overall charge-neutral, no currents can flow" to "if the exist at all, they don't do much of anything" or other similar arguments waving off electricity's role in the cosmos. but are they correct in their assessment?
On the one hand, their argument appears to be plausible. The universe may well be made up of equal amount of positive and negative charges, and thus the charges are overall neutral. The question then becomes whether the charges are "separated" or homogeneously distributed. That appears to be a more difficult question to answer. But it's an important question to ask, since if charges are significantly separated, electrical effects may occur.
To begin an attempt to answer that question, we should attempt to discern whether any electric currents are currently known to exist in the space between ponderable bodies (galaxies, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, etc.) in space.
In this discussion, it is helpful to understand that the "vacuum of space" is not a perfect vacuum at all, as was once believed. It is in fact teeming with plasma. Some call plasma a "fourth state of matter" (beyond solids, liquids and gases) on account of the fact that it is composed of clouds of charged particles (protons, atomic nuclei and the electrons that have been knocked loose) and is prone to electrical effects not evidenced by the "normal," "neutral" matter (with approximately equal numbers of electrons orbiting a nucleus of the same number of protons) due to its high conductivity. Some, however, call plasma the "first state of matter" on account of the fact that, by percentage (99.999%), plasma makes up the lion's share of all visible matter in the universe.
Returning to the question at hand, whether there are any specific instances of known electric currents flowing in the plasma medium between ponderable bodies in space, several articles are of immense help.
It has been known since 1979 that a "flux tube" connects Io to Jupiter. It was recently found that the flux tube links up with a glowing spot in Jupiter's aurora. Europa and Ganymede have similar spots in Jupiter's aurora as well.
(Satellite Footprints Seen in Jupiter Aurora)
In this Hubble telescope picture, a curtain of glowing gas is wrapped around Jupiter's north pole like a lasso. This curtain of light, called an aurora, is produced when high-energy electrons race along the planet's magnetic field and into the upper atmosphere where they excite atmospheric gases, causing them to glow. The aurora resembles the same phenomenon that crowns Earth's polar regions. But this Hubble image, taken in ultraviolet light, also shows the glowing "footprints" of three of Jupiter's largest moons: Io, Ganymede, and Europa.
But, upon closer inspection of the data available, a new piece of information appears: the "flux tube" (despite the obscurantist naming convention) is actually an electric current!
The path of the space probe Voyager 1 was designed to check out this dynamo, by flying close to where its currents were expected to flow. It did so on March 5, 1979, and its magnetometer very clearly detected the signature of a current of about a million amperes.
It appears clear that Io is part of an electrical exchange with Jupiter. But wait, not only is Io connected to Jupiter's aurora in the northern hemisphere, but new results show that it appears to also be connected to spots in the southern hemisphere too!
The researchers propose that a beam of electrons is being transferred from one hemisphere to another, causing the fainter spots ... [In the associated image,] the large torus around Jupiter is the plume of sulfur created by Io. The blue line between Io and Jupiter is where it is connected by the ionized sulfur, drawn in and funneled by Jupiter's magnetosphere. The red lines illustrate the possible electron beams connecting the poles, which create the newly-discovered spots.
It appears that Io is involved in an electrical circuit (involving "electron beams") flowing from one pole of Jupiter to the other.
Since all circuits must close, one must wonder whether the circuit closes internally through Jupiter, from one pole to the other. In fact, the January 2008 issue of Astronomy magazine coincidentally and presciently raises just that question, asking whether Jupiter is powered by a z-pinch (a type of electrical discharge in plasma).
Another recent news release from NASA is similarly fruitful when considering magnetic and electric behaviors in the plasma filling the space between ponderable bodies.
In December 2007, it was revealed that NASA's THEMIS project had made a major find while collecting data relating to auroral "substorms" and space weather events.
(NASA Spacecraft Make New Discoveries About Northern Lights)
“The substorm behaved quite unexpectedly," says Vassilis Angelopoulos, the mission's principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles. "The auroras surged westward twice as fast as anyone thought possible, crossing 15 degrees of longitude in less than one minute. The storm traversed an entire polar time zone, or 400 miles, in 60 seconds flat.”
Angelopoulos was quite impressed with the substorm's power and he estimated the total energy of the two-hour event at five hundred thousand billion Joules. That's equivalent to the energy of one magnitude 5.5 earthquake . Where does all that energy come from? THEMIS may have found the answer.
"The satellites have found evidence of magnetic ropes connecting Earth's upper atmosphere directly to the sun," said David Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras."
A magnetic rope is a twisted bundle of magnetic fields organized much like the twisted hemp of a mariner's rope. Spacecraft have detected hints of these ropes before, but a single spacecraft was insufficient to map their 3D structure. THEMIS' five identical micro-satellites were able to perform the feat.
"THEMIS encountered its first magnetic rope on May 20," said Sibeck. "It was very large, about as wide as Earth, and located approximately 40,000 miles (70,000 km) above Earth's surface in a region called the magnetopause."
It seems that magnetic fields play an integral role in auroral substorms, channeling charged particles along magnetic field lines into the Earth's upper atmosphere. The "magnetic flux ropes," as the THEMIS team called them, were said to connect Earth's upper atmosphere directly to the sun!
But is that the whole and unadulterated story? Probing further, the answer is "no." What we were not told by the press release directly was only to be found in the accompanying multimedia, and was a bit more shocking.
(Multimedia for the Press Event for THEMIS)
10. Flux Ropes Power the Magnetosphere! THEMIS discovered a flux rope pumping a 650,000 Amp current into the Arctic.
The "magnetic flux ropes" actually carry a 650,000 Amp current across interplanetary space! Their source? The sun.
If one considers these "magnetic flux ropes" an electric current (as explicitly stated in the accompanying multimedia), their structure ("a twisted bundle of magnetic fields organized much like the twisted hemp of a mariner's rope") immediately becomes a predictable feature (science likes predictive power). Electric currents in plasma frequently take on a twisted, helical, filamentary structure (as can be seen in any novelty plasma lamp). The twist of the magnetic fields merely follows the twist of the filamentary, helical electric currents driving them.
This fact appears to have slipped NASA's mind when issuing their press release. While a failure to cite prior art is not a fatal flaw, it is unfortunate, insofar as it does not put the "discovery" (or rather the "rediscovery") in its proper historical context.
Birkeland led an expedition to study the northern lights from 1902-1903 and published his monograph The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition 1902-1903 chronicling the expedition, as well as his lab work and predictions in 1908.
His work was initially warmly received in many parts of the world, but was otherwise largely ignored for half a century, until his prediction of the solar-terrestrial electrical interaction was verified in 1973 by the Triad satellite.
So, it seems that in our local solar environment we have found Io embroiled in a "flux tube" carrying a 1,000,000 Amp current in a circuit between Jupiter's north and south poles and "magnetic flux ropes" carrying a 650,000 Amp current in a circuit between the sun and Earth.
These extant currents appear to violate the notions that electric currents cannot flow in space and/or that ponderable bodies cannot acquire a charge imbalance with nearby bodies, leading to an electrical exchange.
If that's so, it makes for an argument that such charge imbalances and electrical interactions may also occur on larger scales. After all, electrical and plasma processes do scale up and down according to specific plasma scaling laws. Features such as double layers and filaments might then be a possibility on macroscopic scales.
If it is the case that electric currents exist on the large scale, what should we expect to see? Magnetic fields and lots of them!
Magnetic fields are produced by electric currents, which can be macroscopic currents in wires, or microscopic currents associated with electrons in atomic orbits.
People not familiar with magnetism often view it as a somewhat mysterious property of specially treated iron or steel.
It is all related to electricity.
Close to 1800 it was found that when the ends of a chemical "battery" were connected by a metal wire, a steady stream of electric charges flowed in that wire and heated it. That flow became known as an electric current. In a simplified view, what happens is that electrons hop from atom to atom in the metal.
In 1821 Hans Christian Oersted in Denmark found, unexpectedly, that such an electric current caused a compass needle to move. An electric current produced a magnetic force!
Andre-Marie Ampere in France soon unraveled the meaning. The fundamental nature of magnetism was not associated with magnetic poles or iron magnets, but with electric currents. The magnetic force was basically a force between electric currents (figure below):
--Two parallel currents in the same direction attract each other.
--Two parallel currents in opposite directions repel each other.
--Two circular currents in the same direction attract each other.
--Two circular currents in opposite directions repel each other.
Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. An electric field will exist even when there is no current flowing. If current does flow, the strength of the magnetic field will vary with power consumption but the electric field strength will be constant. (Extract from Electromagnetic fields published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in 1999 (Local authorities, health and environment briefing pamphlet series; 32).
The electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field.
The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges (currents); these two are often described as the sources of the field. The way in which charges and currents interact with the electromagnetic field is described by Maxwell's equations and the Lorentz force law.
- All sources are quite explicit:
- Electric fields are produced by stationary charges (electrostatics).
- Magnetic fields are produced by charges in net, like motion (electrodynamics)
Logically, with these definitions in hand, we should be able to work from first principles either forward or backward. Where we see electric currents, we should understand that magnetic fields accompany them and, vice versa, where we see magnetic fields, we must consider the moving charges (electric currents) from which they derive their genesis.
That magnetic fields have been implicated in many astrophysical processes, and have in fact been found to thread the universe makes the implication of this understanding an important one. If the universe is threaded by magnetic fields, it is equivalently threaded by underlying electric currents.
In instances where astronomers have found magnetic fields but been perplexed about from whence they arise, perhaps the question should be asked: "what electrodynamic processes may underlie the magnetic fields that have been detected?"
Where do we see magnetic fields playing potentially key roles in the universe?
Some news releases have called magnetic fields crucial to star formation. Others have said that "some previously unrealized energetic process, ... likely related to magnetic fields, is superheating parts of a cloud, nudging it to become a star." Could electric currents be just the "previously unrealized energetic process" "related to magnetic fields" that astronomers are looking for, yet averse to considering?
The Double-Helix Nebula adopts a twisted helical shape that astronomers believe is due to twisted magnetic fields emanating from the center of the milky way.
Magnetic field lines at the galactic center are about 1,000 times stronger than on Earth ... Scientists think that twisting of these lines is what causes the double helix shape.
Is it possible that the "twisted magnetic field lines" observed in these filaments of plasma derive their genesis from electric currents flowing through the Milky Way's interstellar plasma? Keep in mind that filamentation is a predictable characteristic of electric currents flowing in plasma.
Magnetic fields in galaxy clusters may also be critical to formation.
Galaxies are not randomly distributed on the sky. They trace the prominent structures of the universe. Major collections of (up to several thousands of) galaxies are called galaxy clusters. They consist not only of the optically well observable galaxies. The space in between the galaxies contains a very dilute and hot gas, the so-called intergalactic medium.
This gas is mainly composed of hydrogen and helium. It is so hot that the electrons of its atoms have separated from the nuclei, and it is therefore called a plasma. This plasma emits X-rays.
Furthermore, the plasma is magnetised. This implies that some galaxy clusters also emit radio waves, so that they can be observed as radio haloes with radio telescopes.
Once a plasma contains magnetic fields, they move with the plasma as if the magnetic field lines were frozen in.
The galaxy cluster models so obtained are the first world-wide to contain realistic magnetic fields. They serve as the basis for further investigations into the role of magnetic fields in the process of cluster formation. Some of the processes going on in galaxy clusters can only be understood if magnetic fields are taken into account.
The above research notes that the plasma in and around galaxies in galaxy clusters is "magnetized." However, that may be an inaccurate assessment based upon the concept of "frozen-in field lines," popularized by Hannes Alfvén (a Nobel prize-winning plasma physicist and the "father of magnetohydrodynamics"). Alfvén has published several papers refuting his erroneous concept of "frozen-in field lines" as well as "magnetic reconnection" (which he specifically labels as pseudo-science), and imploring astronomers to ignore these incorrect processes. Don Scott (an electrical engineer) has also argued strongly against "magnetic reconnection" in a recent peer-reviewed paper. Both prefer an electrical explanation in line with Maxwell's equations and existing physics over inventing "new physics."
A preferred solution rests with plasma cosmology, which has been covered in the news since at least 1989, though not widely read nor funded for research. Plasma cosmology predicts, a priori, that the universe should display a filamentary, fractal matter distribution on the large scale on account of the behavior of electrical processes in the plasma pervading the universe.
Supercomputer simulations conducted at Los Alamos National Labs appear to support the concept of electric currents in cosmic plasma. moreover, the simulations appear to match galaxy rotation curves better than the Big Bang model, which cannot cope with the rotation curves without introducing the inelegant kludge "dark matter" placed wherever it's convenient, in order to balance out the equations. See Evolution of the Plasma Universe: I. Double Radio Galaxies, Quasars, and Extragalactic Jets and Evolution of the Plasma Universe: II. The Formation of Systems of Galaxies, by a Los Alamos plasma physicist and senior member of the IEEE, for the additional technical analysis.
Another place where magnetic fields appears to be of paramount importance is in and around "black holes." The magnetic fields may be the key to unlocking the secrets of what black holes actually are.
Objects identified by astronomers as black holes, in defiance of a priori predictions that black holes should eat everything in their vicinity and give nothing back, have been shown to eject jets along their rotational axis. Moreover, those jets now appear to display a distinct filamentary structure and "twisted magnetic fields." As previously noted, the twisted filamentary nature of the magnetic field structures may be traceable directly to underlying currents, according to the definitions previously forwarded.
Furthermore, black holes' "dynamos" have been implicated as the "ultimate electricity generator."
The energy in these huge magnetic fields is comparable to that released into space as light, X-rays and gamma rays. In other words, the black hole energy is being efficiently converted into magnetic fields. The mechanism is not yet fully understood, but Kronberg and his colleagues believe a black hole accretion disk could be acting similarly to an electric motor.
Colgate and Los Alamos colleagues Vladimir Pariev and John Finn have developed a model to perhaps explain what is happening. They believe that the naturally magnetized accretion disk rotating around a black hole is punctured by clouds of stars in the vicinity of the black hole, like bullet holes in a flywheel. This, in turn, leads nonlinearly to a system similar to an electric generator that gives rise to a rotating, but invisible magnetic helix.
However, as previously mentioned, the notion of magnetic field lines "frozen-in" to plasma has been argued against strongly by plasma physicist Hannes Alfvén. So, where does that leave us? We have strong magnetic fields, which must by definition be powered by electric currents. Can black holes generate these electric currents if "frozen-in field lines" do not work as an explanatory mechanism?
The question may be moot, according to mathematician Stephen J. Crothers, of Australia. Crothers claims that the mathematical equations upon which the notion of "black holes" is predicated are faulty derivations, based upon work which specifically excluded black holes as a possibility. He references the original works by Karl Schwarzchild, Johannes Droste and Marcel Brillouin whose solutions do not indicate a singularity as well as the work of David Hilbert whose work he claims is not mathematically rigorous and whose derivation showing a singularity he claims is faulty.
He claims that astronomers wave off the errors dismissively or do not properly understand the maths involved and that only fellow mathematicians have recognized / understood the errors that lead to solutions indicating the existence of black holes.
If black holes are the result of faulty math, then what have astronomers seen in the skies that they have identified with the concept of a black hole?
Australian plasma physicist Wal Thornhill says that black holes tear logic apart, and offers an alternative explanation based upon lab physics scaled up to cosmic dimensions.
One puzzle was how the jets can maintain their narrow trajectory over a million light years. The Chandra x-ray astronomy website offers this: “The best bet at this point is that a tightly coiled magnetic field is spun out with the particles. One team of scientists exploring this line of reasoning has concluded that black holes may be the primary source of magnetic energy in the universe. This could be highly significant because, as is known from observations of solar flares, magnetic energy can readily change into other forms of energy.” It is quite strange to witness this blind-spot that does not allow astrophysicists to see that magnetism is a secondary effect of electric current, and not a primary cause. The most simple method of creating a filamentary, glowing jet in plasma is to cause an electric discharge through it. Novelty store plasma balls show the effect clearly. Plasma physicists note that plasma filamentation is known to occur over at least 14 orders of magnitude of current, from microamperes to multi-megaamperes.
Although operating in “dark current” mode in deep space, the presence of cosmic (Birkeland) currents is demonstrated by their magnetic fields. A galaxy like ours is effectively a giant homopolar motor, with current flowing along the spiral arms toward the galactic center and then out along the polar axis.
There is a simple device known as a dense plasma focus, or “plasma gun,” that mimics what is going on in active galactic nuclei, or AGN’s. It shows what happens when converging current streams along the galactic arms are focussed into a very small volume at the galactic center.
The dense plasma focus, first invented in 1954, consists of two coaxial cylindrical electrodes usually less than 30 cm in all dimensions in a gas-filled vacuum chamber connected to a capacitor bank. It is capable of producing high-energy X-ray and gamma-ray radiation and intense beams of electrons and ions, as well as abundant fusion reactions. In operation, the capacitors discharge in a several-microsecond pulse, the gas is ionized and a current sheath, consisting of pinched current filaments, forms and runs down the electrodes.
When the sheath reaches the end of the inner electrode (the anode), the filaments pinch together, forming a dense, magnetically-confined, hot spot or plasmoid. The plasmoid emits soft X-rays with energy in the range of several kiloelectron volts.
No peculiar physics, strange matter or singularities (infinities) are involved in the plasma focus model of galactic centers. Black holes are not required. Matter in the vicinity of the galactic center is under the control of powerful electromagnetic forces ... Jets are only produced when the plasmoid becomes unstable. The periodic outbursts from a galactic plasmoid can briefly release more energy than all of the stars in the galaxy. Precisely the same effect is achieved in the high-energy plasma lab, like that at Los Alamos, where more instantaneous power than is available from all of the power stations on Earth can be released in a volume the size of a baked bean can.
In considering the implications of electrical phenomena in the cosmos, it may be that a radically different picture of the cosmos emerges. However, considering the latest developments threating the primacy of the Big Bang model, perhaps a radically new vision of the cosmos is called for. At the very least, it becomes readily apparent that where we see magnetic fields "doing things" in the cosmos it is absolutely necessary to consider the electric currents underlying them by definition.
Perhaps, rather than starting with an assumption that the cosmos began as a homogeneous mix of more or less "neutral charges" that can never "become separated," and thus can never engaged in electrical interactions, we should try starting with the assumption that charges may have started separate and be in process of neutralizing and electrical condensation (Marklund convection, an electrical process in plasma, is capable of sorting materials by how ionized or neutralized they are).
Could it be that, as Hannes Alfvén put it, "gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems?" In other words, electrical interactions take precedent over gravitational interactions until such time as charges have been neutralized, at which point gravity becomes the dominant force to consider (as it is on Earth, which is in the vast minority of matter in the non-plasma states of solids, liquids and non-ionized gases).
Perhaps we really are living in a more or less "neutral" corner of an otherwise electric universe?