I may have a more detailed response for a future post, but for now, we should note some aspects of this which Mr. Reeve doesn't tell you, particularly his limited understanding of HI regions and critical ionization velocity (CIV).
On the HI Hyperfine Transition...HI is the astronomers' designation for neutral atomic hydrogen gas. Ionized atomic hydrogen (a single proton) is often designated HII. There are similar notations for the ionization state of other elements. Wikipedia: Hydrogen Line
A couple of interesting notes about HI relevant to astronomy. The HI line with a 21 cm wavelength (frequency =1420 MHz) is due to a transition in the energy level of the neutral hydrogen atom that occurs when the spin of the electron and proton switch from parallel to anti-parallel, which corresponds to a lower energy state. Two particularly important things to note, relevant to Electric Universe (EU) claims:
- The existence of this transition was predicted theoretically from quantum mechanics, some years before it was actually observed. Again, this success was thanks to the power of mathematics with a reliable experimental and theoretical framework.
- With a transition rate on the order of 10^-15 per second, the state has a lifetime of about 10 million years. Any collisions with other atoms in that time frame can change the atomic state, so the 21 cm HI emission is limited to regions of extremely low temperature and/or density, so that there is a LONG time between collisions which can reset the atomic state so the photon will not be emitted. This long lifetime means this emission of 21 cm radiation has never been observed in the laboratory. Since EU advocates often like to claim only laboratory-verified phenomena should be valid science (which appears to include almost everything except neutrino oscillations), it's rather hypocritical when they resort to the 21cm radiation.
So all-in-all, it's rather funny when EU supporters are backed so far into a corner that they have to pull out claims related to HI observations, as dependence on them is evidence against many of their claimed underlying beliefs about how science actually works.
Critical Ionization Velocity or CIVNow for CIV, or Critical Ionization Velocity (not to be confused with +3 ionized carbon, occasionally also written as CIV using the notation described above). CIV is a plasma effect originally predicted by Hannes Alfven. It is the relative velocity between a plasma and neutral gas at which the neutral gas starts to ionize. To date, it has only been clearly identified under laboratory conditions, but not under conditions in space. (Wikipedia: Critical Ionization Velocity)
Over the past decade or so, Dr. Verschuur has hypothesized a correlation between HI 21 cm emission regions above the disk of the Milky Way galaxy and 'hot spots' in the WMAP ILC map (NASA: Wilkinson ILC map) may indicate some type of electromagnetically-driven structure.
Two aspects of this apparent correlation of particular interest to Electric Universe supporters are
- the speculation that this correlation is evidence for a cosmic-scale CIV effect and therefore cosmic-scale electric currents.
- that these correlations with the emission from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) is evidence against Big-Bang cosmology.
Problems for Electric Universe/Plasma Cosmology SupportersAs Verschuur notes in all his papers on this topic (References 8, 11, 12, 13,14,15 listed below), these 'anomalies' are LOCAL to our galaxy (with estimated distances between 200 and 4000 parsecs) and fairly small scale, but perhaps far above the galactic disk. Many of the neutral hydrogen regions have average velocities that are negative, implying the regions are moving towards the observer (blue-shifted). Therefore, they are not evidence for the Peratt galaxy model.
Other authors have speculated on the possibility of CIV in the Magellanic Stream (Reference 9). The Magellanic stream (Wikipedia) is a path of hydrogen gas that stretches from the Magellanic galaxies across a large part of the sky - apparently a trail left by a tidal interaction of the Magellanic galaxies in the distant past. In this case, H-alpha emission is found at boundary of high-velocity clouds. This is not surprising, as flow velocities sufficient to produce ionization provide more than enough energy to generate other atomic excitations - and we would expect them from more cosmologically abundant elements like hydrogen and helium. This paper makes two important points relevant to this particular discussion:
- CIV does not require an electric current - a neutral plasma at high relative velocity in magnetic field colliding with another neutral gas cloud can have same effect.
- Because the energy transfer to the atoms are enough to ionize them, it is also sufficient to activate additional atomic spectral lines. Therefore, additional emission, particularly atomic excitations, should be visible.
- Dr. Verschuur does not find a similar H-alpha correlation for his observations. There are poor correlations of this emission with X-rays (Reference 14, figure 4) and H-alpha (Reference 14, figure 6b) an issue which he notes in (Reference 15) and has not resolved.
- As noted by other researchers (References 6, 10), the observable 'signature' of CIV may be easy to confuse with other processes. In addition, the CIV effect itself is probably a combination of more fundamental processes which may dominate the physical system at any given time. CIV might be a useful term in laboratory cases, but it may be too poorly defined in a space environment, which might explain why it has yet to be clearly identified in a space environment (see A comparison between laboratory and space experiments on Alfven’s CIV effect.).
- I have yet to find a rigorous examination of CIV in theory or laboratory which has examined the SPECTRAL signature of the process (References 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 10). Closest to spectral signature is in Reference 7 (figure 7, 59). The research papers include lots of examinations of voltages, currents, plasma frequencies, which are readily measured in laboratories, but little as to what the astronomer can observe and measure with tools such as spectroscopes and broad frequency range imaging. Therefore, the interpretation based on the width of gaussian line profiles are not necessarily clear signatures of the process.
- That said, it is easy to understand how the 50 km/s profile might be imprinted on HI emission, as any hydrogen atoms at higher speeds would have a higher probability of being collisionally de-excited from the hyperfine state so only the atoms at the critical speed and lower will have a chance to emit 21cm radiation. But just how does the velocity profile for these other atoms: helium, carbon, etc. get 'imprinted' on the velocity profile of the HI? Any collisional or electromagnetic interaction which accelerates the hydrogen atom to these speeds risks moving the atom into a state where 21 cm photons would not be emitted. Without some clear answer to (3) above, this is essentially impossible to answer.
- Probably related to (4) above, generally, the relative amplitudes of the elements features identified by Dr. Verschuur should be roughly proportional to the abundances of the specific chemical element(s). While it's reasonable to identify hydrogen and helium, where helium is about 1/10 as abundant as hydrogen (in terms of fraction of atoms) and might have 1/10 the amplitude of the hydrogen signal, it's a little more difficult to identify the heavier elements whose abundance are lower by a factor of 100. To justify this, there must something enhancing the signal of the heavier elements out of proportion to their abundance (unless one wants to claim the atomic abundances are indeed significantly higher in these regions, which generates a whole additional set of problems).
- Invoking Marklund convection raises the same problems as noted before (Electric Universe: More Confusing Claims from the EU 'Worldview'). No one has yet demonstrated what we would actually observe and measure for this configuration, or even what could generate the current claimed. Again, Electric Universe advocates think electric currents just spring up anywhere they need them, as if by magic. Since some EU supporter will no doubt point to various planetary nebulae with cylindrical structure, it should be noted that all observed bi-polar flows have been measured OUTWARD from the central object, not through it (Wikipedia: Bipolar outflow) so Marklund convection can't apply in these flows.
Recognizing a number of the problems noted above, in Reference 15, Dr. Verschuur suggests the possibility of these regions being signs of magnetic reconnection (an option which I suspect Electric Universe supporters would also express disapproval: See (Non-) Electric Universe News for Summer 2013, On Magnetic Reconnection and "Discharges").
Two-Dimensional Thinking in a Three (or Four)-Dimensional Universe...In the papers discussed, Dr. Verschuur is still doing a 2-D analysis of a 3-D environment, a practice which is fraught with peril.
I contrast this with the analysis Dr. Verschuur presented in another 2013 paper (High-resolution Observations and the Physics of High-velocity Cloud A0) where he explicitly reports an examination of the hypothesized filament in (l,b,v) space - projecting a helix, and it's proposed velocity profile, on the sky. He describes how he derives hypothesized currents, and the magnetic fields they would generate. He even presents how higher-resolution measurements of magnetic fields from this region may test this hypothesis. Here, Dr. Verschuur clearly states his input assumptions and explores a number of the consequences, and even proposes observations to test it. Why wasn't this type of analysis done with the proposed Marklund convection configuration which Verschuur mentions in the CIV papers?
Other astronomers are doing a more complete analysis with this type of 2-D images combined with line-of-sight spectra and it is an important tool for extracting more complete information. See NASA: Astronomers Bring The Third Dimension To A Doomed Star's Outburst
Another example of how human perception can lead to flawed conclusions is illustrated by Halton Arp's 3-D intuition in regard to discordant redshifts. All of Dr. Arp's probability arguments had simple geometric explanations in 3-D (Discord for Discordant Redshifts. I., Discord for Discordant Redshifts. II.) and the chance alignments were far more probable than he realized.
Electric Universe Advocates Fail AgainThe CIV explanation for these correlations raise far more problems than it solves. Mr. Reeve's suggestion that this analysis represents a significant mathematical demonstration of the success of Electric Universe ideas in astronomy doesn't cut it. Again, the literature and the experiments are out there for anyone to find - but Mr. Reeve apparently did not bother himself to learn the facts about CIV.
Electric Universe continues its attempts to appropriate the work of legitimate researchers as 'theirs' while ignoring the long history of electric fields and currents in astronomy (365 Days of Astronomy: The Electric Universe).
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