“Measurement of the Electric Current in a Kpc-Scale Jet”
Kronberg, Philipp P.; Lovelace, Richard V. E.; Lapenta, Giovanni; Colgate, Stirling A.
I'm sure the EUers will be all over this, claiming that it means mainstream science is finally coming around to their ideas. But if they actually read the original paper, and not just the press-releases, they would discover that they were wrong (again)...
The introduction of the paper reveals that this work is actually based on a model for galactic jets that dates back to 1976 with work by Roger Blandford (Accretion disc electrodynamics - A model for double radio sources) and independently by Lovelace (Dynamo model of double radio sources), one of the co-authors of the current paper.
The model relies on the jets of plasma being collimated by a magnetic field and particle flows driven by an electric field created by an accreting black hole. The model has been studied heavily since first proposed by Lovelace and Blandford. The electromagnetic properties of the jet are determined through the rotation measure (RM) of the Faraday Effect (wikipedia). Through this method, they obtained an electron density of 1.4e-5 electrons/cc and a current of 3.8e17 amps directed away from the galactic nucleus.
I suspect EUers will want to compare this result with the Alfven galaxy model, but there may be a problem with that. The earliest reference I can find where Alfven suggested something similar is in a few paragraphs in a paper from 1977:
Electric currents in cosmic plasmas by Hannes Alfven.
Alfven describes a galaxy central radio source as a unipolar inductor, but the description is very qualitative. There is not even a single numerical estimate of currents expected or the visible flux.
Alfven went into a little more detail in 1978 with
Double Radio Sources and the New Approach to Cosmical Plasma Physics by Hannes Alfven
providing at least a graphic, but still no way to estimate the luminosity and other characteristics one could expect to measure from Alfven's proposed galaxy configuration. An examination of the citation lists for both of Alfven's papers reveals no citations for either Blandford or Lovelace. Two years after the fact, Alfven was not acknowledging others who not only preceded his effort, but developed the model in far more detail.
When you look at the contributions made by others prior to Alfven, one begins to realize that Alfven's work described little that wasn't already known. The only aspect of the model that could be considered as a contribution by Alfven could be recognizing the need for a return circuit in the 1977 paper. However, I regard the rigor of the 'return circuit' questionable. MHD simulation volumes are generally modeled as closed systems so the same flows have to return full circle, but the intergalactic medium (IGM) is not a closed system. Charge imbalances can be remedied by charges flowing back towards the galactic center from the IGM, but nothing requires them to be the same particles emitted in original the jets of the galaxy, just that the quantities are sufficient to balance the charge.
Probably the greatest deficiency of Alfven's papers is that while Alfven describes the central engine as a unipolar inductor, there is NO information on how such a structure could be built in Nature. Alfven's central source is a black box with no way to even estimate its power capabilities. For all intents and purposes, Alfven's unipolar inductor could've been a machine built by alien civilizations in all these radio galaxies.
Meanwhile, mainstream astronomy had an object that fit the bill for creating a unipolar inductor (AKA a homopolar generator, Wikipedia): an accreting black hole. The theory had sufficient mathematical development that one could develop testable predictions with it. Accreting plasma around a black hole forms a highly conducting layer just outside the event horizon, making a near perfect conductor that couples to magnetic field generated by the differentially rotating accretion disk. This idea is also related to work by Blandford and Znajek (Electromagnetic extraction of energy from Kerr black holes). Black holes have also been treated as resistors and rotors in circuit elements in a number of configurations (see Black Holes: The Membrane Paradigm, 1986, and related papers by Kip Thorne).
It is ironic that objects EU supporters most deny exist (black holes & neutron stars) are the best known producers of large electric fields in the cosmos.
Problems for Electric Universe
- Alfven was NOT the first to propose this configuration for radio galaxies. He made, at best, only very minor contributions to the model, and nothing that contributed to testing the model against actual observations.
- The Blandford & Lovelace model, like Alfven's model, is inconsistent with Peratt model because the current seen is strictly a product of the galaxy's central engine, and not due an external source. See (Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background, Still no electric currents powering the galaxies...).
- Perhaps the greatest problem it makes for EU is that it demonstrates that we can measure extragalactic currents. This means the EU whines about undetectable 'dark currents' are moot.
- In Blandford (1976), the author even notes that his proposed configuration “therefore acts as a unipolar inductor, generating an electric field, E, in the inertial frame.” It demonstrates that astronomers have long considered the effects of electric fields and currents in the cosmos, in spite of EU denials.
While I was researching & assembling this post, Nereid pointed me to this on the Thunderbolts site:
Universe's Highest Electric Current Found
Funny, it appears some thunderbolt forum members actually read the paper, but I have yet to see any acknowledgement of how long ago this model was actually proposed.