Monday, May 28, 2018

Divining the meaning of the aurora

Few natural phenomena have elicited such deep emotions from human observers as the polar lights.
Across the centuries, people have been profoundly moved and inspired when exposed to the spectacular dance of plasma filaments across the night sky. Indeed, witnesses of the aurorae have not infrequently confessed to a sense of the numinous.
Following an unforgettable manifestation of the lights on Tuesday, 28th. November 1893, the Norwegian Arctic explorer, Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), remarked: “There is the supernatural for you – the northern lights flashing in matchless power and beauty over the sky … If one wants to read mystic meanings into the phenomena of nature, here, surely, is the opportunity.”

Later, during the winter of 1911, the British explorer, Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912), repeatedly enjoyed the celestial pageant of the aurora australis while sailing south towards Antarctica on the Terra Nova. Reflecting on an outpouring of auroral activity seen on Sunday, 21st. May of that year, Scott resorted to the metaphor of life in his struggle to adequately depict the event in words. It almost seemed to him that the aurora was imbued with a vital force: “There is infinite suggestion in this phenomenon, and in that lies its charm; the suggestion of life, form, colour, and movement never less than evanescent, mysterious – no reality.”

For Scott, seeing the agility, the versatility and the rapidity that characterised the majestic appearance of the southern lights bordered on a religious experience: “It is the language of mystic signs and portents – the inspiration of the gods – wholly spiritual – divine signalling. Remindful of superstition, provocative of imagination.” Playfully, the pioneer wondered whether aliens might be involved: “Might not the inhabitants of some other world (Mars) controlling mighty forces thus surround our globe with fiery symbols, a golden writing which we have not the key to decipher?”

Joking aside, the distinct impression of the aurorae as a marvellous, almost supernatural force entrenched itself in the captain’s mind. Less than a year before his tragic death, on Thursday, 22nd. June, the adventurer was celebrating midwinter with his party, when he was treated to “the most vivid and beautiful display that I had ever seen – fold on fold the arches and curtains of vibrating luminosity rose and spread across the sky, to slowly fade and yet again spring to glowing life.”

His notes, which were discovered afterwards in the ice and published posthumously, offer a glimpse into a mind that, far from jocular, had grown ever more stupefied with the spiritual effect the lights could exercise on a human being:

“It is impossible to witness such a beautiful phenomenon without a sense of awe … the appeal is to the imagination by the suggestion of something wholly spiritual, something instinct with a fluttering ethereal life, serenely confident yet restlessly mobile. One wonders why history does not tell us of ‘aurora’ worshippers, so easily could the phenomenon be considered the manifestation of ‘god’ or ‘demon’.”

Why not indeed? Could it be that the worldwide repository of mythical and other religious traditions is actually replete with descriptions of auroral events that have so far escaped attention? That universal beliefs about the nature of the gods and goddesses, legendary ancestors, and dragons are really brimful of references to the lights? That folklore, traditional dance and iconography are all heavily charged with memories of the aurorae so hoary with age as to go well-nigh unnoticed? This is, in effect, precisely what is found.

The growing scientific understanding of the earth’s electromagnetic environment has made it possible to recognise an important substratum of auroral observations in the mythological system of virtually every known culture. Much in the descriptions of the gods, their fabulous habitats, their ‘creation’ of this world and their temporary sojourn on ‘earth’ can be meaningfully analysed as concealed reports of near-earth plasmas developing in glow and arc modes as the earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere experienced unimaginable disturbances.

The mountain of the gods, the tree of life, the pillars that supported the sky, the ladder or arrow-string to the sky, dragons, thunderbirds, the turtle that supported the earth, the tail-biting snake that surrounded the earth, layered heavens and underworlds, the sentinels of the cardinal directions, the primordial race of animal-like beings, the stationary sun or morning star – these and many others are global motifs belonging to the so-called ‘age of creation’ or ‘age of the gods’ that can be explained as symbolic descriptions of discrete plasma forms seen above the horizon during episodes of this prolonged high-energy-density auroral storm.

If the relatively mundane aurorae witnessed today can provoke such distinct visions of spirituality in the soberminded likes of Fridtjof Nansen and Robert Scott, how much more stirring must have been the highly energetic aurorae hypothesised to have occurred at the dawn of civilisation, which is estimated to have been at least an order of magnitude more intense? Scott concluded his diary entry for that day with the words: “To the little silent group which stood at gaze before such enchantment it seemed profane to return to the mental and physical atmosphere of our house.”

It would seem that the Stone Age ancestors of mankind could not return to their homes as if nothing had happened. Instead, they were induced to institute enduring cults and rituals, compose lasting sacred narratives, and design perpetually hallowed images in commemoration of the erstwhile presence of the divine in their midst.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Inside the aurorae

There has been a long history of resistance to the electrical Birkeland current explanation for polar aurorae. Now there should be no doubt.
For those who have never experienced them, auroras consist of fluctuating light manifestations seen against or below the sky in the extreme north--and southern latitudes. These scintillating lights can take the form of diffuse patches or dancing streamers, bouncing arcs, shifting rays and, quite often, ephemeral hanging draperies which seem to sway in an unfelt wind. One of the most magnificent, if somewhat eerie, of natural phenomena, these lights can, and do, appear in varying shades of red, yellow, green, blue and purple. The rapidity of their ever changing glittering behavior makes them a difficult subject to capture in still photography. Their life-like nature, however, could not but capture man's imagination.
Eventually it became quite evident that the aurora borealis, or northern lights, had a tendency to disrupt compass readings, a situation which had become something of a threat to navigation. In 1740, Anders Celsius, the inventor of the centigrade scale named after him, had already interpreted the aurora as an electromagnetic phenomenon when he, too, repeatedly noticed that a big compass needle on his desk changed its orientation every time an aurora appeared in the sky above Uppsala, Sweden. So did his brother-in-law, Olaf Peter Hiorter, who spent the entire year between 1741 and 1742 observing compass needles going awry at each appearance of the lights.

In 1861, Benjamin Marsh also "endeavored to show that an auroral streamer is a current of electricity which, originating in the upper portions of [the] atmosphere and following upward the magnetic curve which passes through its base" reaches "far beyond the supposed limits. of the atmosphere."

And again in 1883, Selim Lemstron, a professor from Finland, reported the relationships he had presumed to exist between auroras and electrical activity. He accomplished this by artificially producing a "low-level aurora" that stretched to 400 feet above ground through a vast electrical apparatus he installed on top of a hill near Kultala, Finland. At the time, this was considered "the only known experiment that successfully reproduced the properties of the aurora on a large scale."

Yet even so, electrical or otherwise, no one had yet managed to discover what it was that actually caused these scintillating lights.

This new contender was the Norwegian Kristian Olaf Birkeland (1867-1917), whom we have had occasion to mention earlier in passing. From his base in Christiania, later renamed Oslo, Birkeland devoted a great portion of his life to an intensive investigation of the baffling aurora borealis. During this period of his life he mounted expeditions to remote icy regions, carting instruments and survival equipment up steep crags, setting up camps in the most dismal of weathers, in order to be able to study the phenomenon at first hand.

Having been instructed in electromagnetism early in his career, it is not surprising that he, too, sought an electromagnetic solution to the creation of the auroras. In this he was additionally motivated by the work of William Crookes in England who had established that cathode rays in gas-discharge tubes can be deflected by a magnet. Birkeland therefore wondered whether electrons—which is what cathode rays really amount to—could be ejected by the Sun toward Earth. If such electrons could be captured by Earth's magnetic field, he reasoned, chances were they would be directed toward the poles. As these electrons flowed through the upper atmosphere might they not even glow just as could be seen in laboratory discharge-tubes?

That was the kernel of Birkeland's theory, which was laughed out of court by just about every one of his scientific colleagues. One saving grace, which in the long run saved just about nothing was the acceptance of his theory by the English physicist Sydney Chapman.  But even this did not last long. Having been warned by others that an electric current flowing from Sun was an impossibility, Chapman ended up declaring Birkeland wrong in his assumptions. Even later, when Hannes Alfven went out of his way in replicating Birkeland's terella experiments for him, Chapman refused to change his mind.

Having spent the final days of his life in a study of the zodiacal light, some say Birkeland died of mercury poisoning inhaled during his long hours in laboratory experimentation. Most agree that he died, at the age of fifty, "broken in spirit and in intellect, disheartened by the harsh reaction to his theory."

Forty-four years had to pass before Birkeland could be vindicated. It all started in 1961 when, on its way to the Moon, the Soviet Lunik 2 spacecraft encountered a stream of electric particles flowing from the Sun. But so reluctant were western scientists in accepting such evidence that they branded the Soviet data unreliable out of hand. The following year, however, the same stream of "electrified gas," traveling "at speeds ranging from 300 to 700 kilometers a second," was recorded by the instruments aboard NASA's Mariner II spacecraft while on its way to Venus. It was the first indication of what was later termed the "solar wind."

Further evidence was collected in 1966 by a U.S. Navy navigation satellite which consistently recorded magnetic disturbances on almost every pass it made over Earth's polar regions.

"Since 1967 scientists have been looking at the satellite data in relation to phenomena such as the Northern Lights, rediscovering Birkeland's extraordinarily prophetic theories and completely reassessing his work. Today, he is credited as the first scientist to propose an essentially correct explanation of the aurora borealis, supported by theoretical, observational, and experimental evidence."

The vertical currents that reach earth through the interaction of the so-called solar wind were, in 1967, designated as, "Birkeland currents" by Alex Dessler. As they have now become understood Birkeland currents constitute helical plasmas that can be produced in laboratory experiments, but that can also stretch over vast distances in the immensity of space. Such a galactic Birkeland current recently discovered has been dubbed the Double Helix Nebula, which has unfortunately been described as a twisted magnetic flux tube. As Donald Scott has however indicated, it can "clearly be seen as a pair of helical current filaments in a plasma."

Nevertheless, as Lucy Jago noted, "rejection of his theories probably slowed the advance of geomagnetic and auroral physics for nearly half a century."

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The interconnected sun

The Sun/Earth Connection

Plasma is often described as the fourth state of matter. Since it makes up more than 99% of the Universe, it should be reckoned the first state. As has been proposed in previous articles, the Sun is an example of plasma and its normal behavior.
Although the general premise is probably thousands of years old—that Earth is somehow an electrical entity—it has only been in the last 100 years that scientists have given serious credence to the possibility that we could be living in a dynamic Solar System where electricity plays an important role. The Sun's electric field extends for billions of kilometers, influencing the planets in their motions, as well as how they interact with each other.
In September of 2002, a major premise of Electric Universe theory was confirmed: weather systems on Earth are electrically connected to the field of charged particles called the ionosphere. Dual bands of plasma shining in ultraviolet light were detected by the IMAGE satellite. The plasma streams are circling the Earth in opposite directions along the equator, carrying positive and negative electric charges.

Since plasma is a charged substance, if it is in motion it will generate an electric current. An electric current flowing through plasma creates a tube-like magnetic sheath that "squeezes" the current to form one or more filaments . If enough current passes through the circuit, the plasma current filaments will glow, sometimes creating one or more "double layers" of charge separation along the current axis.

Double layers form when a current flows in plasma and positive and negative charges build up in adjacent regions along the current flow. A powerful electric field appears between the two regions, which accelerates charged particles. Hannes Alfvén considered double layers an important cosmic circuit element.

Plasma bands in the ionosphere emitting ultraviolet light. Credit: NASA/University of California, Berkeley.

Another example of the Sun's intimate association with Earth are the polar aurorae. The curtains of blue, green, and red that hang down from the sky like wind-wavering veils of color have both puzzled and entranced observers for countless millennia. In 1621, Pierre Gassendi called the shimmering lights seen in the Arctic the Aurora Borealis after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, and Boreas, the Greek name for the north wind. In the south polar region the same phenomenon appears and is known as Aurora Australis, literally "Southern Dawn" in Latin, or more conventionally, "Southern Lights".
Solar ions follow Earth's magnetic field down into the poles, causing atmospheric molecules to emit light: red from oxygen at high altitudes, then green from oxygen lower down, along with blue from nitrogen. The electric charges travel down magnetic flux tubes that have recently been discovered. These "electromagnetic funnels" are several kilometers wide and allow electric currents to flow directly from the Sun into the polar regions, generating colorful visible light, radio waves, and X-rays.
The power generated by electric currents in auroral storms is far greater than anything that human beings can create with every coal-burning, oil-fired, or water-driven means combined. These currents are composed of widely separated, low density charged particles and are called Birkeland currents. Despite the low current density, the volume of charge is so great that the current flow can exceed one million Amperes.
Recently, the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) satellites detected "space tornadoes", vortices of electrified plasma rotating faster than 1,600,000 kilometers per hour. These helical storms of electromagnetic energy were found approximately 64,000 kilometers from Earth. The five THEMIS satellites, together with Earth-based stations, verified their connection with the ionosphere.

Aurora Australis over the Bellingshausen Sea.

Electromagnetic vortices flowing into Earth's poles. Credit: Andreas Keiling/UC Berkeley.

Laboratory simulation of solar plasma flux tubes. Time index 0 - 1.4 microseconds.

To view a movie of the electrically active solar wind particles interacting with Earth's plasmasphere click here.

Electric Weather.

One of the more spectacular examples of the Sun/Earth connection are the so-called "red sprites" and "blue jets" that have been seen shooting into space from the tops of thunderstorms. Sprites and jets carry charge distribution from lower atmospheric layers into the ionosphere. They are usually seen at altitudes of between 45 and 90 kilometers.

Space shuttle flights have recorded the glow from sprites and jets as they launched upward toward space. They are essentially reverse lightning bolts—beginning as powerful upward strokes that rapidly diminish into small filaments—and seem to be closing the circuit between the cloud tops and the ionosphere.

Red sprites and blue jets. Credit: University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

On August 25, 1997, NASA launched the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite on a mission to monitor energetic ions coming from the Sun, as well as higher energy particles (cosmic rays) thought to be arriving from intergalactic space.

ACE is in orbit around the L1 LaGrange point approximately 1,500,000 kilometers from Earth and will remain there until 2024. Data from the spacecraft's onboard sensors will provide important information that should help to understand how the solar magnetic field moderates incoming high-speed ions.

During periods of high activity, energetic pulses on the Sun eject charged particles in the billions of tons. They are normally slow moving, requiring about 24 hours to reach Earth. Known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CME), an indication of their arrival is an intensification of the aurorae.

Sunlight reaches Earth in approximately eight minutes. A solar ejection arriving in 30 minutes must be moving at more than a quarter of the speed of light. In the consensus view, such velocities are a profound mystery, yet a gigantic CME was observed on January 17, 2005, that reached our planet in less than half an hour. How do CMEs accelerate to 75,000 kilometers per second or more?

An electric field emanates from the Sun in all directions. The easiest way for charged particles to accelerate is within such a field. The Sun's e-field extends for billions of kilometers, ending at the heliospheric boundary, which the twin Voyager spacecraft are just now beginning to penetrate. Electric fields freely accelerate charged particles, which move outward in opposite directions, activating an electric current that follows the Sun's magnetic field.

Ultraviolet light image of the Bastille Day 2000 solar flare AR9077. Credit: NASA/TRACE satellite.

As mentioned above, the ionosphere is connected to the Sun by twisting filaments of electric current, so the lower levels of the atmosphere must also experience the Sun's influence because of the additional circuit node that connects them with the ionosphere. Could these electric circuits linking the atmosphere with the Sun have anything to do with Earth's climate in either the short or long term?
On July 14, 2000, the Sun erupted with a massive X-flare, or CME. Solar flares are labeled C, M, or X: light, medium, or powerful. AR9077 was classified as an X5 flare. Until the September 7, 2005, X17 flare impacted Earth's magnetosphere, knocking out radio transmissions and overloading power station transformers, the Bastille Day CME was considered one of the most powerful ever recorded. A veritable cosmic tornado of positive ions poured into the electrically charged environment of our planet.
The Sun is in a relatively quiet stage during this phase of sunspot cycle 24. The Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite launched by NASA on December 7, 2001, has revealed that the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun has significantly decreased since the beginning of this "solar minimum". Infrared radiation emitted by nitric oxide molecules in the upper atmosphere has also declined, implying that the upper atmosphere is cooling down.
It has long been known that temperatures in the thermosphere are dependent on solar radiation. Extreme ultraviolet light is absorbed by the residual oxygen and becomes electrically charged, with increasing molecular motion. Fast molecular motion is known as heat, so even though a household thermometer would register temperatures below zero in the thermosphere, it is considered hot, sometimes reaching over 1500º Celsius during solar maximum.
Since there are fewer molecules in the thermosphere, the amount of thermal energy per cubic centimeter is lower than it is at the surface—there is not enough contact between molecules to transfer heat.
The Sun's 22 year cycle has now been shown to be linked with Earth's climate. Although solar energy does vary over the course of a sunspot cycle, that variance amounts to less than one-tenth of one percent, so how are the increases and decreases in cloud cover, temperature, and thunderstorm activity explained?

Solar flares erupt from active sunspot regions. Credit: Kitt Peak Vacuum Solar Telescope.

The average annual wind speed on Earth is approximately 56 kilometers per hour, with a maximum gust of 372 kilometer per hour recorded on Mount Washington, New Hampshire in 1934. Some isolated wind phenomena, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, can sustain average velocities of 480 and 320 kilometers per hour for short periods.

Meteorologists are not sure how tornadoes form, but they are often associated with lightning storms. It seems that the key to understanding tornadoes is to think of them as rapidly rotating electric discharges. Just as copper wires carry electrons for power transmission, so do tornadoes. The difference is that electrons are moving at several centimeters per hour in a wire, while flying around at many meters per second in a tornado. The result is that the tornado forms an enormously powerful electromagnetic force field called a "charged sheath vortex."It is commonly believed that weather is driven on Earth primarily by the Sun's thermal influence on the atmosphere, otherwise known as "convection." According to the consensus theory, as Earth rotates gases and dust absorb solar radiation at varying rates and in varying degrees.

When any particular region heats up, the air expands and loses density, creating a relative low pressure area. Cooler air, being denser, will naturally flow into the bottom of the warm, low pressure region, causing an upwardly rotating convection cell to form.

Waterspout with lightning bolt in the Adriatic Sea. Credit: Mladen Duka.

Most weather systems on Earth are thought to be based on that simple kinetic explanation: winds blow when the cooler, denser air flows into the warmer, buoyant air.

The kinetic model of weather does not take into account the fact that planets much farther out in the Solar System have sustained winds that make those on our planet seem like gentle breezes. The average wind speeds on the gas giant planets are fantastic.

Jupiter's winds roar at 635 kilometers per hour around the Great Red Spot; Saturn's average wind speed is 1800 kilometers per hour; Uranus 900 kilometers per hour; and Neptune comes in at 1138 kilometers per hour. On Neptune the winds are blowing through an atmosphere that measures - 220 Celsius. Why is it that the most remote planets, receiving small fractions of the solar energy bathing Earth, are able to convert that small fraction into much larger effects?

As mentioned above, Earth is a charged body moving in a large cell of plasma, so physical phenomena on our planet must take the electrical nature of plasma into account. Perhaps lightning powers the wind? Neptune has some of the strongest winds of any planet in the Solar System, yet it is farthest from the Sun—its frigid atmosphere contradict the thermal model of air movement. Perhaps hurricanes, tornadoes, and even prevailing winds are electrical in nature?

The Electric Universe hypothesis agrees with conventional theory that wind is movement of air molecules, but that there is more to the explanation.

Electromagnetic forces in plasma move and accelerate charged particles, so collisions between charged and neutral particles drag the neutral air molecules along with them. Close observation of laboratory arc discharges reveals that an electric "wind" surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.

A plasma discharge sweeps up the surrounding air along with the charge carriers, or ions. The wind appears as inflows and updrafts as well as outflows and downdrafts. It can lift dust particles and erode surfaces. By analogy, we must then question the accepted explanation of thunderstorms as being caused solely by convection of hot air and the climatological movement of winds by the Sun's heat alone.

Neptune's winds blow at 1138 kilometers per hour. Credit: NASA/Voyager 2.

Earth is an electrically charged body that interacts with ions permeating space. Electricity from space is also injected into the thermosphere from charged particles emitted by the Sun, speeding along massive Birkeland currents through a closed circuit. When solar winds are at a minimum, the electric currents decline in amperage, thereby decreasing the strength of our planet's magnetosphere.

As the magnetosphere declines in strength, it is less able to deflect energetic ions arriving from deep space known as cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are charge carriers, and those ions are able to reach the troposphere. Collisions between charged and neutral particles drag air molecules along with them, influencing low level cloud cover.

More clouds reflect more radiation from the Sun back to space—clouds are white because they are acting like mirrors to all forms of visible light. More reflection means less solar energy, more cloud cover, and so on.

This leads to the more general idea that all weather may be influenced by the electrical connection between Earth and solar plasma. The larger view has only recently been considered. Experiments designed to verify the effect that charged particles have on Earth's weather are now being conducted by scientists such as Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen of the National Space Institute in the Technical University of Denmark. However, many experiments have already falsified the mechanical theory of atmospheric convection.

When a weather forecast is wrong it could be considered a falsification of the convection theory. The many erroneous weather forecasts indicate that some other factor (or factors) is missing in the proposal. Electric Universe advocates suggest that a consideration of plasma's electrical properties is the most important missing factor.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The iron sun

The image of the sun above was recorded in the light given off by iron atoms that have lost 11 of their 26 electrons. The energy required to remove that many electrons is far greater than the energy available at the surface of the sun. These iron ions occur high in the sun's atmosphere--in the corona--where the effective temperature is 2 million degrees or more, 400 times that of the photosphere.

The conventional explanation is that the high temperature causes the iron atoms to collide with enough force to knock off those 11 electrons. But then the question arises about how the atmosphere can be hotter than the surface. The corona is farther away from the putative source of energy inside the sun, and it is less dense. It should be cooler than the photosphere.

The Electric Universe reverses the accepted ideas of which phenomenon is cause and which phenomenon is effect. The sun's atmosphere contains a complex of electrical fields that are strong enough to pull off those 11 electrons. A field that strong will also accelerate the ions to speeds interpreted as high temperatures. This activity is only one element in a circuit that connects the sun with electrical currents in the Galaxy. These galactic power lines are the source of energy that "lights" the stars, including the sun. The energy from those power lines is liberated at the photosphere rather than being transported from the core to the surface.

The voltage between the sun and its galactic environment is not distributed uniformly and gradually. As is typical with plasma behavior, most of the voltage difference occurs in "double layers" (DLs). These are thin layers with an excess of positive ions on one side and an excess of negative electrons on the other. They resemble, and act like, capacitors: They store electrical energy in the strong electrical field between the positive and negative layers.

Each DL is separated from the next by a low voltage gradient, across which ions and electrons "drift." This drift current is often called a wind. A familiar example is the "solar wind" that drifts from the DLs near the sun to the DLs that make up the heliopause at the other end of the sun's connection with the galactic currents.

When the low-energy iron ions from the photosphere drift into the DL above, the stronger electrical field strips off more electrons and accelerates the ions to high speeds. The strength of the field keeps the ions moving in alignment so it is not apparent that their energy is increasing. But when they emerge into the low-voltage gradient of the corona their motion becomes turbulent, like that of water in a waterfall when it hits the river below. Because temperature is a measure of randomness of motion, the corona appears to "heat up" suddenly, and the 11-times-ionized iron atoms begin to radiate their newly acquired energy.

What the Electric Universe sees in "the iron sun" is the iron-ion component of the electric current driving the sun's radiation output as part of a galactic electrical circuit.

The "Iron Sun" Debate (1)
Nuclear Reactions at the Solar Surface

Proponents of the "Iron Sun", a theory widely represented on the Internet in recent months, challenge the popular idea that the Sun is powered by thermonuclear reactions at its core. And they point to nuclear reactions on the Sun's surface, something considered impossible under the standard model.
Scientists now supporting a new approach to solar physics—the “Iron Sun” — mention neither the Electric Universe nor the “Electric Sun”. But their findings add powerful support to the electric model of the Sun posited by Wallace Thornhill, Donald Scott, and earlier pioneers beginning with engineer Ralph Juergens in the late 60's. It was the electrical theorists who first suggested that surface events, not a hidden nuclear furnace at the Sun’s center, appear to be the source of neutrino production (the subatomic signature of nuclear fusion).
In recent years nuclear chemist Oliver Manuel and several of his collaborators have attracted scientific attention for proposing a radical alternative to the standard model of the Sun. Manuel suggests that the Sun is the remnant of a supernova, now holding in its core a “neutron star” encased within an iron shell. In this model, most of the radiant energy of the Sun comes from the neutron star’s slow decay over long spans of time.
Manuel draws attention to recent discoveries by solar scientists. He finds compelling evidence that nuclear reactions occur at the foot points of solar flares—hot spots associated with prominent magnetic loops and intense electric fields. This observation places the nuclear reactions far from where conventional theorists locate them--at the Sun’s core.
To confirm these surface events Iron Sun proponents point to the telltale signatures of the “CNO cycle” first set forth in the work of Hans Bethe. In 1939 Bethe proposed that the stable mass-12 isotope of Carbon catalyzes a series of atomic reactions in the core of the Sun, resulting in the fusion of hydrogen into helium. This nucleosynthesis, according to Bethe, occurs through a “Carbon-Nitrogen-Oxygen (CNO) cycle,” as helium is constructed from the nuclei of hydrogen atoms—protons—at temperatures ranging from 14 million K to 20 million K.
For some time now, solar scientists have observed the products expected from the CNO cycle, but now they see a relationship of these products’ abundances to sunspot activity. This finding is crucial because the nuclear events that standard theory envisions are separated from surface events by hundreds of thousands of years as the heat from the core slowly percolates through the Sun’s hypothetical “radiative zone”. From this vantage point, a connection between the hidden nuclear furnace and sunspot activity is inconceivable.
Proponents of the Iron Sun, therefore, have posed an issue that could be fatal to the standard model. But as we shall attempt to show, there is a good deal more room to add objections within this question.
The Iron Sun proponents are to be congratulated for their research showing that the Sun does not shine because of nuclear fusion in its core. It takes great courage to stake your work and reputation against established dogma. If science operated in the way it advertises, the search for the truth in this essential matter would involve a concentration of resources to confirm or deny the evidence amassed by the Iron Sun proponents. The questions raised are crucial whether or not the proposed model of the Sun is correct. Yet there seems to be pressure on researchers to have a model at hand to explain "anomalous" results. In the case of the “Iron Sun”, the result is less than perfect because there is a flaw at the very heart of popular cosmology:
All matter in the universe is composed of electric charge. The electric force between charges mediates all physical interactions, irrespective of scale. It is the electric force that energizes matter. By ignoring electricity, cosmologists have committed an error so fundamental that the mistake invariably propagates through any and all of their theoretical excursions. The electrical theorists see this as the overriding cause of the oft-noted “crisis in cosmology”, and the effects on related disciplines—bound as they are by the assumptions of cosmologists—have been nothing less than catastrophic.

The "Iron Sun" Debate (2)
The Myth of the Neutron Star

In his argument for the “Iron Sun”, Oliver Manuel relies on a popular theoretical concept—the “neutron star”. Electrical theorists, on the other hand, say there is no reason to believe that such exotic stars exist.
At the core of the Crab Nebula pictured above is a remarkable churning “wheel-and-axle” structure (inset) whose discovery shocked astronomers. No conventional model of supernova remnants ever anticipated exotic structures comparable to what is seen here.
Some things are known about the Crab Nebula, however. It is close to certain that it is the result of a supernova observed from Earth in 1054 A.D. The inner ring of the central “motor” has a diameter of about one light year. Intensely energetic jets stream outward from the central light source in two directions along the axis of an intense magnetic field. Additionally, observations over time have shown that rings and strands of material are moving outward on the equatorial plane at great speeds, some up to half the speed of light. The point of light at the center of the image is a pulsar, so called because it generates pulses at radio frequencies roughly 60 times a second. (Pulses can also be observed optically and in X-rays.)
But what cause these rapid pulses? Most astronomers today attempt to interpret pulsars using a strange idea based entirely on mathematical conjectures. They say that the pulsar is a tiny spinning “neutron star”—the collapsed remains of the historic supernova.
Neutron stars were predicted theoretically in the 1930's to be the end result of a supernova explosion. For many years astronomers doubted their existence. But then, with the discovery of the first pulsar in 1967, astronomers imagined that the pulses were due to a rapidly rotating beam of radiation sweeping past the Earth. Having ignored all of the things that electricity can do quite routinely, the theorists were required to conceive a star so dense that it could rotate at the rate of a dentists drill without flying apart. So the neutron star received a second life. The energy of the star’s radiation, it was supposed, came from in-falling matter from a companion star.
The imaginative construct received no support from later observations. In the Crab Nebula, what we now see is not gravitational accretion, but material accelerated away from the central star. In fact, all of the weird and wonderful things said about neutron stars, such as the super-condensed "neutronium" or "quark" soup from which they are claimed to have formed, lie outside the realm of verifiable science. They are abstractions disconnected from nature, but required to save a paradigm that has no other force than gravity to provide compact sources of radiation.
Oliver Manuel and the Iron Sun advocates have taken a daring step in questioning conventional fictions about the Sun. But unfortunately, they have relied upon another popular fiction. They suggest that the Sun was formed by accretion of heavy elements, chiefly iron, onto a “neutron star” following a supernova explosion. They further claim that energy from neutrons, supposedly repelled from its neutron star core, accounts for the Sun's radiant energy and the source of protons in the solar wind. The model does not explain the acceleration of the solar wind out past the planets (a crucial requirement according to electrical experts).
Such speculations, resting upon the earlier flights of cosmological fancy, beg the question as to the origin of all other stars. Supernovae are exceedingly rare events, and there is no sound reason to believe that neutron stars are even physically possible.
However appealing the original logic may have been to some, the neutron star model should have been discarded when pulsars were found with supposed “spin” and cooling rates that required the mathematicians to conjure ever more dense and exotic particles–like quarks–that have never been observed.
Critics of the “neutron star” hypothesis say that it is a violation of common sense to speak of matter being gravitationally compressed to the point that the orbiting electrons in an atom are forced to join with the protons in the nucleus to form neutrons. The nearly 2000-fold difference in weight between the electron and the proton will ensure charge separation in an intense gravitational field. Each atom will become a tiny radial electric dipole that assists charge separation. And the electric force of repulsion is 39 orders of magnitude stronger than gravity, so extremely weak charge separation is sufficient to resist gravitational compression. The force of gravity is effectively zero in the presence of the electric force.
All of today’s popular ideas about supernovae, the supposed progenitors of neutron stars, were formulated under a gravity-only ideology that has, in recent decades, been challenged (and electric theorists would say overturned) by the discovery of plasma and powerful electric and magnetic fields in space. Supernovae have recently been identified as catastrophic stellar electrical discharges. The remnant of such a discharge cannot be the imagined rapidly spinning super-dense object: powerful electrical forces will always prevent gravitational "super-collapse."
Plasma physicists have shown (in the words of K. Healy and A. Peratt) that the pulsed radiation detected from some supernova remnants may "…derive either from the pulsar’s interaction with its environment or by energy delivered by an external circuit. …[O]ur results support the ‘planetary magnetosphere’ view, where the extent of the magnetosphere, not emission points on a rotating surface, determines the pulsar emission.” These concrete results do not rest on events merely imagined. And they dovetail with facts that are now inescapable: electric discharges in plasma are fully capable of generating the exotic structures of supernova remnants seen in deep space. The "wheel and axle" form of the supernova remnant in the Crab nebula is that of a simple Faraday electric motor. Its structure also conforms to the stellar circuit diagram espoused by the father of plasma cosmology, Hannes Alfvén.
It is a pity that the “Iron Sun” researchers are not conversant with plasma cosmology and the Electric Sun model. They make a compelling case against the standard solar model, and their recent findings of electrically induced nuclear reactions on the solar surface could open a pathway to discoveries reaching well beyond solar science.

The "Iron Sun" Debate (3)
Exploding the Myth of the Imploding Supernova

When a star called “SK -69 202” exploded on February 24, 1987, becoming “Supernova 1987A”, the shock to conventional theory was as great as the visual wonder in the heavens. The event did not “emulate the theory”, but rather appears to have involved catastrophic electrical discharge.
Prior to Supernova 1987A, astronomers assumed that a supernova signaled the death throes of a red supergiant star. But the star that exploded— SK -69 202 —was a blue supergiant, perhaps 20 times smaller than a red supergiant and a much different breed of star.
Astronomers had long supposed that supernovae occur when a star “exhausts its nuclear fuel”, causing a collapse or implosion followed by a violent “rebound” effect when the outer layers of the star hit the core. The resulting blast, they said, ejects a spherical shell of material into interstellar space where it collides with its own slower moving stellar wind generated during its earlier, more stable phases.
But Supernova 1987A tells a different story.
Pictured above is the changing appearance of Supernova 1987A over a 27-month period as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. The photograph shows three axially aligned rings. The bright inner ring is about 1.3 light-years in diameter. The conventional theory of supernovae had not predicted, or in any way anticipated, the distinctive bi-polar structure of Supernova 1987A, similar to that of many nebulas now documented. Nor did the theory have anything to say about the bright "beads".
Since there is an entrenched habit today of reinterpreting the surprises of the space age as if they were not really surprises, readers would do well to remember the original statement by Dr. Chris Burrows of the European Space Agency and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, when Supernova 1987A was first discovered. "This is an unprecedented and bizarre object. We have never seen anything behave like this before”. Thus, the “Astronomy Picture of the Day” for July 5, 1996, states without equivocation that “the origins of these rings still remains a mystery”.
Nevertheless, the inertia of prior theory is strong enough that astronomers continue to identify the rings as “shells” of gas struck by the supernova’s high-energy “shock front”—though it is only necessary to look at the pictures to see that the rings are not shells. They are tori (rings) around a dynamic center occupying a common axis—a characteristic structure observed in high-energy plasma discharge experiments. But the crucial feature of SN 1987A is the bright beads.
Both the number and position of the beads conforms to Birkeland current filaments in a powerful plasma discharge known as a "z-pinch." Electrical theorist Wallace Thornhill has predicted, "…the ring will not grow as a shock-wave-produced ring would be expected to. Some bright spots may be seen to rotate about each other and to merge. It is an opportunity …to be able to verify the electric discharge nature of a supernova."
More than fifty years ago a British scientist, Dr. Charles E. R. Bruce (1902-1979), argued that the bipolar shape, temperatures and magnetic fields of “planetary nebulae” could be explained as an electrical discharge. Bruce was ideally situated to make the discovery, being both an electrical engineer versed in high-energy lightning behavior and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was ignored.
Since that time, the structure and dynamics of high-energy electrical discharge in plasma has been well researched—most importantly, in the work of Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfvén, and over the past two decades or more by Alfvén’s close colleague, Anthony Peratt.
The work of the cosmic electricians bears directly on the “Iron Sun” debate. When Oliver Manuel began to formulate his model of the Sun, ideas about supernovae lay at the heart of his thinking. From a study of the unusual isotopic composition of meteorites, Manuel had concluded that the objects had formed from the remains of a supernova. In this, he was following a tenet of conventional astronomy, which argues that elements heavier than iron and nickel in the solar system were created by distant supernovae over billions of years. Except that Manuel concluded that the supernova creating iron and other heavy element abundances in meteorites was the precursor to our own Sun.
Though the Iron Sun model brings with it an insightful critique of the standard nuclear fusion model of the Sun, Manuel did not break free from the old gravitational concepts on the nature of supernovae; but he did add a new twist, suggesting that the Sun hides a neutron star around which accreted an iron shell after the Sun’s supernova explosion.
As the electrical theorists see it, the mistake of following a conventional myth invariably set Manuel on a dead-end course. The Electric Sun model, these theorists claim, can account for all of the strange phenomena exhibited by the Sun and its environment. And the explanations do not require them to guess what is inside the Sun or to posit unlikely events leading to the birth of the Sun.
Concerning the birth of stars, the Electric Sun model embraces the new science of plasma cosmology. Plasma cosmologists can demonstrate the principles of star birth in the plasma "z-pinch"; and they achieve their results both in the laboratory and in supercomputer simulations. In contrast, the earlier notion of gravitationally collapsing molecular clouds began as a theoretical guess and never found the required observational support. Nor has it been shown how planets can form from a ring of dust about a star, a crucial requirement.
Stellar explosions have always been a problem for conventional gravitational theory. What could trigger the sudden release of such prodigious energy? The sudden gravitational implosion of the entire star is an ingenious idea for a trigger but highly implausible because it requires spherical symmetry on the vast scale of a giant star. The ejections observed from supernova remnants show that the process is axially symmetric. However, if a star is the focus of a galactic electric discharge together with internal charge stratification, it may naturally undergo an expulsive stellar "lightning-flash" to relieve the electrical stress. An electric star has electromagnetic energy stored in an equatorial current ring such as the torus (imaged in UV light) around our Sun. As stated by electrical theorist Wallace Thornhill, "Matter is ejected at low latitudes by discharges between the current ring and the star. The Sun does this regularly on a small scale. However, if the stored energy reaches some critical value it may be released in the form of a bipolar axial discharge, or ejection of matter along the rotational axis."
Creation of heavy metals, according to Thornhill, does not require a supernova. In the electric model of stars, electrical energy produces heavy elements near the surface of all stars—a claim now given additional support by Manuel’s own findings.
But the Iron Sun model makes the curious claim that energy from neutrons, supposedly repelled from its neutron star core, provides most of the Sun's radiant energy and the protons for the solar wind. The Electric Sun model, on the other hand, says that external electrical energy, supplied from the galaxy, is responsible for producing the radiant output of the Sun, the solar wind and most of the heavy elements seen in the solar spectrum. The production of iron atoms requires energy input. So all stars participate in the synthesis of heavy elements. (This is a far more satisfying theory than relying upon rare supernovae, which then disperse their heavy elements into deep space). The solar wind is merely an equatorial current sheet forming part of the circuit that "drives" the Sun. The magnetic field of the Sun is generated by a varying direct-current power input to the Sun. It is only to be expected, therefore, that the observed power variations would be reflected in the sunspot cycle and in changes in both x-ray brightness and the magnetic field of the Sun. No mysterious "dynamo" inside the Sun could explain these synchronous patterns.
The Electric Sun model anticipates the building of heavier atomic nuclei from the protons and neutrons at the foot points of solar flares. But it also expects most nuclear reactions to occur in the tornadic discharges that form solar granulations (where the nuclear kitchen is in full view). In particular, the latter prediction fits the observed anti-correlation between neutrino count and sunspot number. The more sunspots there are, the fewer solar granulations and neutrinos. This unique correlation does not fit any model that proposes an energy source inside the Sun, unrelated to sunspots.
For an Electric Sun, what happens in the Sun’s core is of little consequence. We should expect an incompressible solid or liquid core composed of heavy elements gathered in the primordial z-pinch and later synthesized in the continual stellar discharge. But since the glowing sphere we call the Sun is an electric discharge high in its atmosphere, we should naturally expect the lightest element, hydrogen, to predominate as the plasma medium for the discharge. There is no need to postulate an internal source of energy to support the photosphere since (as direct observation confirms) the photosphere and phenomena above the photosphere, such as flares and prominences, are not governed by gravity.
The energy which fuels the Sun may be transferred over cosmic distances via Birkeland current transmission lines. This energy may be released gradually or stored in a stellar circuit and unleashed catastrophically. The cosmic circuits now revealed threading themselves along the arms of the Milky are the energy source for the supernova explosion– not the star. Only an external power source can explain why the continuing energy output of some nebulae such as Eta Carina exceeds that available from the central star.
A supernova does not signal the death throes of a star. There is nothing inside the star to "die." Nor does it herald the birth of a neutron star.

The "Iron Sun" Debate (4)
Meteorites and the Modern Myth of Solar System Genesis

In his “Iron Sun” theory, Oliver Manuel has developed an unorthodox answer to puzzles concerning the birth of the solar system, recorded in meteorites and lunar samples. But in interpreting these samples, he has fallen prey to a conventional myth as to their origins.
The popular theoretical picture of our solar system today is strongly wedded to the “nebular hypothesis”. The theory traces the origin of the Sun and planets to a primordial cloud of gas and dust, in which the gravitational force led to the cloud’s progressive collapse into a spinning disk. Within this disk, the Sun formed at the center and all of the secondary bodies from planets and moons down to asteroids, comets, and meteorites accreted from leftover debris.
But how did gases in a diffuse “cloud” collapse against the inherent tendency of gases in a vacuum to expand and rotating systems to fly apart? Why is the Sun tilted 7 degrees to the ecliptic? Why should giant planets, recently discovered in distant planetary systems, favor a close orbit about their star, while Jupiter and Saturn orbit far from the Sun? And if the different bodies in our solar system arose from a homogenous cloud, why does their composition vary so?
Plasma cosmology provides the simple answer to the question of how stars are formed. They are formed by the powerful and long-reaching electromagnetic force of a “plasma pinch”, a principle well researched in the laboratory and now observed in detail in high resolution images of planetary nebulae.
According to Hannes Alfvén and other pioneers of plasma cosmology, a stellar system gives way to gravity only after the star is formed and as the plasma pinch subsides. In this view it is not correct to look to gravity as the cause of star formation. It is also normal for a number of stars to be formed along the axis of the plasma pinch and subsequently scatter "like buckshot" following the collapse of the pinch. Planets are generally not formed at this stage. We should expect that stars formed in this manner would, as a group, tend to have their rotational axes aligned along the direction of the galactic magnetic field.
The “Electric Universe” model of stars takes the role of the electric force further, suggesting that evolving star systems move through phases of electrical instability before achieving the equilibrium that marks our own solar system today. Stellar companions and gas giant planets are "born"—ejected—fully formed from a star before it achieves electrical balance with its new environment. That explains both the preponderance of multiple star systems and the close-orbiting gas giants. Rocky planets and moons are similarly born at intervals by means of electrical expulsion from gas giants. Rings about gas giants and stars are principally a result of electrical expulsion, not gravitational accretion.
In this view, the electrical birth pangs associated with newly-born planets and moons can immerse celestial bodies in violent plasma discharge, sculpting the surfaces of the newcomers. Planets and moons are charged objects, and subsequent encounters in an unstable system can leave surfaces dominated by electrical craters, vast trenches, and other scars. Much of the excavated material can then be lofted by the discharge into space as comet nuclei, asteroids, and meteorites, while portions of the material may fall back to form strata of shattered rock and loose soil. Electrical interactions between planets also have the beneficial effect of quickly restoring order out of chaos.
Like any biological family, the planets of our solar system were born at different times and from different parents. They have a complex history that includes electrical exchanges capable of upsetting atomic clocks and producing numerous isotopic anomalies. As rocky surfaces are excavated electrically, for example, the resulting short-lived radioactive isotopes may wind up in the grains of meteorites.
Proponents of the Electric Universe suggest that most conventional claims about the birth of the solar system, though stated with great confidence, are highly conjectural. And if one discerns something fundamentally wrong in a common teaching in the sciences, a skeptical posture toward other conventional assumptions is also appropriate. We have already suggested that Oliver Manuel, in developing his argument for the “Iron Sun”, was too willing to accept orthodox assumptions.
Manuel writes, for example: "The Apollo mission returned from the Moon in 1969 with soil samples whose surfaces were loaded with elements implanted by the solar wind," we can see that it is an assumption based on an undisturbed, clockwork planetary system. But in this case the more telling facts may relate to lunar soil isotopes that do not appear in the solar wind.
Based on the isotopic composition of meteorites, Manuel has suggested that the nascent solar system must have experienced a very close supernova explosion before meteorites were formed. But the idea that either the Sun or any other body in the solar system is the remnant of a supernova is unnecessary. There is no necessary connection between supernovae and meteorite isotopes. In fact, it was suggested long ago that the many strange features of meteorites could have been formed in gargantuan lightning flashes within a solar nebula. And Manuel has noted that grains in the Murchison meteorite have isotope abundances related to grain size that "mimic the properties of 'fall-out' grains produced after the explosion of a nuclear weapon…" The Electric Universe model satisfies both ideas.
As we have already suggested, supernovae are emphatically an electric discharge phenomenon. So the many puzzling features of meteorites may be explained by their formation in the debris of any high-energy plasma discharge. In these pages, we have documented the recent electrical sculpting of planets by cosmic scale discharges in the solar system. We have suggested that meteorites are the debris of planetary encounters, a conclusion now supported by direct observation of planetary surfaces and by the study of meteorites, the latter revealing the effects of flash heating, ion implantation, and the isotopic anomalies that would be expected from an interplanetary thunderbolt.
Of course, the close encounters required for electrical exchanges mean that the planets were not formed in their present orbits, as astronomers commonly assume. And there is good reason why virtually every rocky body in the solar system shows evidence of catastrophic encounters. The history of the solar system is one of "punctuated equilibrium" – long periods of stability punctuated by brief episodes of chaos as new members are accommodated. The fact that no simple gradation of planetary characteristics occurs within the solar family needs no other explanation.