Thursday, July 1, 2010

Electric Universe: Pulsars & "Planetary Magnetospheres"

One of the popular claims of the Electric Universe advocates is that the pulsar analysis and model described in Healy & Peratt (1995) concluded that a compact object, in particular, a neutron star, was not needed to explain many pulsar observations.  This statement can be found at: Supernova 1987A Decoded.  Near the bottom of the page, we find two paragraphs
The 1995 analysis he refers to is “Radiation Properties of Pulsar Magnetospheres: Observation, Theory, and Experiment” by Kevin Healy and Anthony Peratt. Healy and Peratt concluded, “Our results support the ‘planetary magnetosphere’ view, where the extent of the magnetosphere, not emission points on a rotating surface, determines the pulsar emission.”
In other words, we do not require a hypothetical super-condensed object to form a pulsar. A normal stellar remnant undergoing periodic discharges will suffice. Plasma cosmology has the virtue of not requiring neutron stars or black holes to explain compact sources of radiation.
While these two paragraphs are occasionally misleadingly presented as one quote in some discussion forums (link), the paragraph in bold is NOT in Healy & Peratt.  The 'planetary magnetosphere' concept Healy & Peratt reference is Michel (1982).  Some aspects of this are even described in Section 4 of Healy & Peratt, including a footnote noting the similarities between pulsar emission and the decametric radio emission of Jupiter.   

More details can be found in Wikipedia: Jupiter as a pulsar and in T.W. Hill and A.J. Dressler (1995) or Sections 1.4 and 7.2 of Michel(1991).

Three key points from these relevant to the planetary magnetosphere model for pulsars:

1) The primary mechanism is  rotating magnetic dipole, the magnetic axis, B, is offset from the rotational axis, omega, (as in the figure below), embedded in a plasma.




2) The pulse periods are still driven by the rotation period of the object.  Millisecond pulse periods still require a rapidly rotating, and therefore very compact, object.

3) The radiation mechanisms for pulsars still require strong magnetic fields.  The comparison to planetary magnetospheres is connected to the actual  radiation mechanism of the particles moving along the magnetic field lines (Birkeland currents).

The bottom line is that Healy & Peratt (1995) does not rule out the need for a compact object, such as a neutron star, to explain the timing characteristics of pulsars.  The primary point of their paper is that the source of emission is in the pulsar magnetosphere, making the analogy with emission from Jupiter's magnetosphere.

A large amount of Michel (1982) deals with electrodynamics of a plasma in a rotating magnetic dipole field, independent of the nature of the central object, the details of which provide a boundary condition for the system, and therefore may have applications to other “Electric Sun” claims.   Also examines some unconventional pulsar mechanisms examined.
  1. Michel, F. Curtis.  “Theory of Neutron Star Magnetospheres”  University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  2. Hill, T. W.; Dessler,  A. J. Space Physics and Astronomy Converge in Exploration of Jupiter's Magnetosphere. Earth in Space, Vol. 8, No. 2, Oct 1995, p.6. 1995
  3. Healy, K.R. & Peratt, A.L.  Radiation Properties of Pulsar Magnetospheres: Observation, Theory, and Experiment.  Astrophysics & Space Science, 227:229–253, May 1995.
  4. Michel, F.C. Theory of pulsar magnetospheres. Reviews of Modern Physics, 54:1–66, January 1982.

14 comments:

Dave Smith said...

Another typical yet foolish attempt at discrediting Electric Universe theory.

"One of the popular claims of the Electric Universe advocates is that the pulsar analysis and model described in Healy & Peratt (1995) concluded that a compact object, in particular, a neutron star, was not needed to explain many pulsar observations. This statement can be found at: Supernova 1987A Decoded."

Who is trying to deceive who here? Thornhill does NOT claim that Healy & Peratt came to that conclusion, but rather draws that conclusion himself. The giveaway is the phrase "In other words" which usually indicates something that the writer himself (in this case Thornhill) concludes from the discussion. Another obvious indication that Thornhill is not misrepresenting Healy & Peratt is the quotation marks around the H&P paragraph, and the lack of quotation marks around the subsequent paragraph which you have bolded.

"While these two paragraphs are occasionally misleadingly presented as one quote in some discussion forums (link),..."

Irrelevant. What individuals write on discUssion forums is what individuals write on discussion forums. Though you didn't supply a link, I found a misquote myself with a quick Google search. So what? This is no different than your attempts to discredit EU theory by directing folk to the often misguided chatter on the Thunderbolts forum.

I find it interesting that in the same paragraph as the one you quoted from in the Healy & Peratt paper, resides this sentance:

"If this effect is varified, then the source of the radiation energy may not be contained within the pulsar, but may instead derive from either the pulsar's interaction with its environment or by energy delivered by an external circuit (Alfven 1981)."

I wonder if I were to draw the conclusion from this statement that I think Alfven and Healy & Peratt support the notion of electrical circuits in space, you would somehow twist that around too...

Cheers, Dave Smith.

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...
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W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...
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W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

Dave

I have repeatedly documented in this blog how astronomers utilize electrical phenomena in the universe dating back to the 1920s (The Real Electric Universe, Electric Universe: Lunar electric fields, etc.). Why do you & EU continually try to discredit astronomers by ignoring this fact?

As for me trying to discredit EU, what can I say - I couldn't do it without the great help from EU:

* claiming expertise in electromagnetism while publishing claims that can be trivially demonstrated false, such as open field lines (Scott Rebuttal. IV. 'Open' magnetic field lines).

* Promoting models of non-nuclear solar energy which can be shown inconsistent with in situ spacecraft measurements by a high-school physics student (Solar Resistor, Solar Capacitor).

* Thornhill never bothered to apply Ampere's circuital law to his z-pinch solar model to compute the magnetic field it implies. Again, something a high-school physics student could do.

Sorry for the missing link. That was a reminder to me to fill it in before posting which I apparently missed. However, I can no longer find it on thunderbolts where I originally found it. No matter, an EU supporter did it in a JREF forum posting. If so many forum posters are making such erroneous statements, wouldn't it be helpful if the 'official' practitioners of EU doctrine publish a clarification to their supporters?
(continued)

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

(continued from above)
So you're saying that Thornhill took it upon himself to misinterpret Healy & Peratt? Because nothing in Healy & Peratt suggests that a compact object is not required. The time-scale is still regulated by the physical scale and particle speeds in the system which still has to be small. Unless EU wants to claim that pulsars are actually thousands of bases operated by aliens with larger versions of Peratt's experimental setup.

The problem with an 'external circuit' metaphor is that it has to be a very leaky external circuit. With no physical wires to confine the charged-particle flow, collisions with ambient neutral & charged particles, etc. will easily scatter them out of the flow. Only a very tiny faction of the particles flowing out from the Sun can make it back (IBEX detects the neutrals that can make it back). In those cases, the circuit metaphor is useless, so why use it.

Even funnier, since EU does like the circuit metaphor in their Electric Sun (ES) model, I applied Alfven's circuit analysis to it, with constraints from the conservation laws (see Solar Resistor, Solar Capacitor). No one in EU even noticed that ES fails under Alfven's analysis methods! ;^)

BTW, I found another fan of Mr. Thornhill at FixedEarth.com. I'm seeing a LOT of EU material referenced on creationist sites!

Dave Smith said...

DS:
Trigger finger getting itchy in your zeal to take the focus from your mistakes, Tom? Let's get back to the topic of the original post.

WTB:
     "So you're saying that Thornhill took it upon himself to misinterpret Healy & Peratt? Because nothing in Healy & Peratt suggests that a compact object is not required."

DS:
You're still trying to misrepresent what Thornhill actually wrote. The conclusion offered is that of Thornhill, not of Healy & Peratt. I don't know that it could be put more simply. You got it wrong.

Thornhill:
    "In other words, we do not require a hypothetical super-condensed object to form a pulsar. A normal stellar remnant undergoing periodic discharges will suffice. Plasma cosmology has the virtue of not requiring neutron stars or black holes to explain compact sources of radiation."

DS:
You'll notice "compact" is still in the equation. It is Thornhill's conclusion that a "stellar remnant" may explain the "compact sources of radiation". He does not say a compact object is not required, only that it need not be a neutron star. You got it wrong again! As a scientist, you should really be more careful not to misrepresent the writings of others, lest someone see it as malicious. How about retracting your misleading comments?

As to the rest of your four confused and muddled posts, perhaps you should heed your own words "Constructive suggestions and comments relevant to the topic are more likely to be posted." The topic is "Electric Universe: Pulsars & 'Planetary Magnetospheres'" which makes the rest of your comments look like those of a zealot attempting to obfuscate the point at hand rather than honestly addressing my response to your post.

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

[Blogspot kept telling me the comments were rejected for length and missing html tags. It apparently was letting them through, so I deleted the extras, keeping the final, segmented version.]

Dave,

You opened with a sentence whining about those trying to discredit EU. I just gave you examples of the behavior of the EU community that makes it so easy.

As for addressing the content of your post:

1) Thornhill's use of "we" in "In other words, we do not require a hypothetical super-condensed object to form a pulsar." right after quoting Healy and Peratt is ambiguous reference of the pronoun. It can easily be interpreted as paraphrasing the Healy & Peratt statement which was my interpretation.

2) Note that I DID mention these quotes as 'occasionally misleadingly presented as one quote'. If you want to disavow misrepresentations of EU science BY EU SUPPORTERS ON YOUR OWN FORUMS (and this is at least the second time you've used this excuse to me), then EU will need to be more proactive in addressing such misquotes. I've often observed when someone makes misstatements in support of evolution on talk.origins or cosmology in the UniverseToday forums there are enough professional scientists on the forum who will point out the error so that person can learn and not go spreading such misinformation to other forums. From what I've observed of the thunderbolts forum moderation, it is apparently moderated more for 'niceness' than 'accuracy'. If discussions on the forum cannot provide a reliable source of *accurate* supplemental info on EU, then what is the point? How is it different from a discussion list of Monday-morning quarterbacks or dueling quote-miners - a social club for those who want to pretend they know what they're talking about?

I regarded Peratt & Healy's suggestion of an 'external circuit' as ambiguous since they use a circuit analogy in the paper for describing the Birkeland currents in the magnetosphere - a part of the planetary magnetosphere model. If you try to interpret it as a current stream powered from some mysterious elsewhere, it would be the ONLY time such a configuration is mentioned in the entire paper. Any competent reviewer would immediately ask "What's the source of the EMF?" or "Have you done a stability analysis of this configuration?" and as with all such questions about EU, would be met with evasion & excuses, and the paper would never never be accepted in the journal. Birkeland currents traveling along magnetic field lines anchored to massive bodies are very different from random currents flowing over cosmological scales.

And I've yet to see a testable model of Thornhill's "A normal stellar remnant undergoing periodic discharges will suffice." Though if you have something worthwhile to add, I'll include it in my followup analysis of Scott's pulsar model from "The Electric Sky", in preparation.

DS: "You'll notice "compact" is still in the equation."
WTB: Probably a nitpick, but it looks like you are trying to connect the terms 'compact objects' and 'compact sources'. There is a distinction, and in that case, Thornhill appears to have used it more correctly than you. When astronomers talk about 'compact objects', it is in particular reference to objects such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes - lots of mass in a small size. 'Compact sources' is an observational description of the size on the sky, basically stating that it is at or below the resolution limit of the particular instrument in question. It is a generic description used when the detailed nature of the object does not matter for the discussion, or has not yet been determined. There is some overlap in these distinctions, but not all 'compact sources' are necessarily 'compact objects'. 'Compact sources' can also change with changing technology.

Dave Smith said...

"DS: "You'll notice "compact" is still in the equation.""

I'll thank you not to quote me from something which was posted, but which you've subsequently removed. It lacks proper context. Poor form, old boy!

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

Not sure what you mean Dave. Your post with that quote is still there as of the time of this posting.

The only comments I've removed from this thread were mine due to some confusing Blogger error messages. They were basically duplicates of what I eventually posted as two parts.

Dave Smith said...

At the time I posted that comment (Current UTC (or GMT/Zulu)-time used: Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 01:22:42), you had indeed quoted that passage without it having been posted to your site, though your software conveniently leaves on the original timestamps of the posts, regardless of when you "allow" them.

I have a copy of your site with the jumbled posts, and the corresponding UTC timestamps.

This post is sent at approx Current UTC (or GMT/Zulu)-time used: Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 05:00:29

Dave Smith said...

Whoooops! Now it's me posting erroneous information. The post I was referring to was posted at Current UTC (or GMT/Zulu)-time used: Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 10:41:18

Sorry for the confusion...

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

Dave,

No problem.

I don't get to check comments every day, but if there is one I really want to address, I may hold it so it acts as a reminder. Perhaps Blogger should implement a 'submitted' and 'accepted' time-stamp in the comments.

The main blog operates that way as well, using the time stamp of when you start composing the post unless you explicitly update it.

kathleen said...

Well, after reading a scribd article I started to wonder about this magnetic cloud we are experiencing. Geologic history is a clear as we can get without adding our interpretations. S W Carey saw expansion. Since we all know what expansion on a planet does by watching Avatar, how strong a magnetic field must be wrapped around a planet to allow molecular disassociation?
If gravity can't produce a neutron star, then can neutron stars be produced by magnetic wrapping? Can a star 2x Sol be reduced to a 5 m rock with a magnetic field of sufficient strength to wash over bodies in gravity orbits? Can the magnetic field be strong enough to force compression of Sol's heliosphere from all points inward to compress gases and realign crystal axes forcing pizeoelectric release of charge when the body compresses inward? Can the field be strong enough to flow over bodies in their gravity orbits and expose the body to a complete release from the compression front and create an electrical release by pyroelectricity through expansion outward?

I'm not arguing, just asking.

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To Kathleen,

I think you've confused some story ideas from science fiction with some other sources. For real info on pulsars, check out
NASA: Neutron Stars and Pulsars,
Wikipedia: Pulsars,
Wikipedia: Neutron Star