Challenges for Electric Universe 'Theorists'...

...which they repeatedly evade...

Here I am collecting a list the problems with Electric Universe (EU) claims that EU supporters persistently ignore.  Currently, it will expand as I use it to index much of my existing material. I hope to maintain this as a 'master list' of EU problems and it should be regarded as the first place to check for a EU topics on this site.

This summarizes a number of Electric Universe claims impacting:

General Science
Mainstream astronomy and astrophysics has guided science into pioneering discoveries in gravity, with the application of space flight, and atomic and nuclear physics, with the applications of semiconductors and materials science (see The Cosmos In Your Pocket).  Humans have moved into space without one single model that yields testable measurements from the Electric Universe supporters.   

What does EU provide that is not already provided by mainstream astronomy and geophysics?

General Physics
Every book on how to write applications & interpret the signals from GPS satellites emphasizes the importance of relativity in converting these signals into a high-precision receiver position (see Scott Rebuttal. I.  GPS & Relativity).   Yet EU supporters deny the importance of relativity in this application.   

Has any EU supporter designed and built a working high-precision (< 1 meter accuracy) GPS receiver that can be certified as free of relativistic corrections?

General Plasma Physics
If EU claims that we should only rely on laboratory observations of plasmas and that our mathematical models are worthless, then where does that leave magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) (wikipedia)?

Is MHD valid in its domain of applicability? If MHD is invalid and it is not possible to use it for building mathematical models of plasmas, aren't EU supporters saying that Alfven didn't deserve a Nobel prize for MHD? 
Astronomers have studied the effects of free charges and electric fields in space as far back as 1922 (1922BAN.....1..107P) and 1924 (1924MNRAS..84..720R).  Note that this work predates Langmuir coining the term 'plasma' for an ionized gas (1928, 1928PNAS...14..627L).  Rosseland and Pannekoek's work is still cited today since gravitational stratification is one of the easiest ways to generate and sustain an electric field in space.  George Ellery Hale was looking for electric fields on the Sun back in 1915 (1915PNAS....1..123H).  Electric fields are long acknowledged as important in the solar atmosphere (see Electric fields in the solar atmosphere - A review, The REAL Electric Universe, Charge Separation in Space, 365 Days of Astronomy: The Electric Universe).  Some EU supporters go so far as to claim that cosmic electric fields were only considered after Immanuel Velikovsky invoked them, contrary to the historical record (The Real Electric Universe: Inspired by Velikovsky?).

Why do EU supporters continue to claim that astronomers ignore electric fields and free charges in space in spite of all the evidence to the contrary?
Hannes Alfven received his Nobel prize ( for the accomplishment of making certain types of plasmas mathematically tractable.  Langmuir (1913PhRv....2..450L, 1924PhRv...24...49L) and others developed other mathematical models of discharge plasmas, predating Alfven.  REAL plasma physicists continue to revise the mathematical models and these models have improved significantly.  Even the classic discharge graphic in Cobine's “Gaseous Conductors” (pg 213, figure 8.4) has been modeled with Particle-In-Cell (PIC) plasma modeling software (see Studies of Electrical Plasma Discharges, figure 10.1).  Plasma models, some sold as commercial software, are also used to understand the plasma environment in a number of research, space, and industrial environments (see VORPAL).  See also:  Electric Universe: Real Plasma Physicists BUILD Mathematical Models, Electric Universe: Plasma Physics for Fun AND Profit!, Electric Universe: Plasma Modeling vs. 'Mystic Plasma'   

Why do Electric Universe supporters consistently dismiss the use of mathematical modeling of plasmas?
Electric Universe supporters repeatedly make bizarre claims about magnetic reconnection, one of which I explore in  On Magnetic Reconnection and "Discharges".  

Electric Sun/Electric Stars (General)
Mainstream solar physics uses Doppler imaging of the solar surface to construct images of the farside of the Sun (see Acoustic Imaging of the Entire Farside of the Sun).  Now the STEREO spacecraft are at positions where we will finally see the entire sphere of the Sun and will be able to conduct more direct tests of this capability (see STEREO: Comparison with GONG and MDI farside maps).  This capability critically depends on our understanding of the solar interior, yet EU claims that all our models of the solar interior are wrong.  
  • If mainstream models of the solar interior are so wrong, why does this technique work at all?  
  • All of the solar data for this capability are PUBLIC (see MDI Data Services & Information) and the software runs on desktop-class computers you can buy at almost any computer store.  So when will EU demonstrate that their Electric Sun model can generate equivalent or better results?
EU 'theorists' or even observers have provided no skymaps (such as those provided by a variety of missions and projects) showing tracks of electric currents powering the stars.  These maps are needed so we can direct more sensitive instruments at the appropriate regions to determine if these currents actually exist. 
The standard for physical models is that they produce numerical values in agreement with observations (in situ measurements or fluxes) from well-understood, more fundamental principles. Yet the Electric Sun (ES) model produces no such values of solar wind or interplanetary magnetic field, values which we can compare to measurements from the many satellites flown from the orbit of Mercury to the heliopause.  

Why should the Electric Sun model be regarded as superior to the more standard model(s) when the standard models disagree at the few percent level, or at worst factor of a few, while ES produces no values for comparison at all?  (see Mathematics: The Language of Science)

Solar Resistor model (Thornhill Z-Pinch)
One of the popular EU models for stars is a z-pinch configuration.  The primary advocate of this configuration seems to be Wal Thornhill.  Using Alfven circuit analogies, the major feature of this model is a current stream where the star derives its energy as a resistive load.  For this reason, I call it the solar resistor model (see Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model).  With simple constraints of particle and energy conservation (nuclear reactions which could significantly change particle number) combined with Maxwell's equations (wikipedia) the major shortfalls of this model are:
  • predicts magnetic fields for the surface of the Sun and at the orbit of the Earth, 1000 to 1,000,000 times larger than measured.
  • ignores that free current streams of ions and electrons are subject to numerous instabilities which make them break up in short timescales.
Popular excuses from EU 'theorists' are that this model ignores some 'nonlinearties' which they do not define but which must violate conservation of energy and Maxwell's equations to solve their problem.

Solar Capacitor model  (Don Scott, The Electric Sky)
An alternative solar model, radically different from the Thornhill model above, is a spherical capacitor model with the heliopause as the cathode (source of electrons) and the solar photosphere as the source of ions & protons (anode).  I call this the solar capacitor model.  This spherical current configuration has been studied heavily in theory and experiment since the 1920s.
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. I. II. III.

Applying basic conservation principles to this configuration, just some of the deficiencies found are
  • predicts a solar proton wind speed 200 times faster than observed.
  • predicts energetic particle fluxes far in excess of what we observe. (proton fluxes a billion times larger). These fluxes are also far higher than the most deadly regions of the Earth radiation belts, meaning that interplanetary travel would be sure death for astronauts.
  • in situ measurements do not show a high-energy stream of electrons heading towards the Sun.
  • Without an external EMF maintaining the potential between the photosphere and heliopause, the Electric Sun will shut down due to charge neutralization in a very tiny fraction of a second.
Dr. Scott tries to use results from Voyager 1 to salvage his model, but the measured electron flux falls short of the value he needs by a factor of 100 million.
Is there an external source of particles sufficient to power the Sun?  Cosmic rays can't do it, as I explore in Electric Sun: Energy Budget from KNOWN Sources.

The Electric Sky (Don Scott) Rebuttals

Collection of my rebuttals to specific claims in Don Scott's The Electric Sky
Dr. Scott also invokes other pseudo-sciences to back his claims. See Adoption of Other Pseudo-Sciences by Electric Universe Supporters.

Electric Comets

The current exploration of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the Rosetta probe has generated a lot of claims from the Electric Universe supporters.  As noted elsewhere in this blog, if the mainstream understanding of comets and the interplanetary environment is as wrong as Electric Universe supporters claim, HOW did the probe have any chance of success? 

Here's a few discussions of the claims made and their flaws.

Space Weather & Heliophysics
Space weather forecasting is vital to protecting the lives of  astronauts as well as billions of dollars in satellite assets.    The different professional computational models used by NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, etc. (CCMC) agree very well on large-scale behavior of coronal mass ejections and other space weather events.
  • Where is the Electric Sun model that can compute the particle fluxes, energies and fields from first principles which are consistent with the measured solar luminosity and in situ spacecraft particle and field measurements?   
  • If EU does not publish its models so they can be tested against other models as well as measurements, how can they claim their model is better, much less that they are doing science? 
Here are some of the issues with Electric Universe models and their impact on spacecraft and astronauts traveling through the solar system:
So where is the EU computation of the size of the Pioneer Anomaly based on the EU model?  Such a computation would be valuable for precision navigation of future interplanetary missions yet they have provided nothing. 

Peratt Galaxy Model
I've written a number of posts exposing the problems of the Peratt galaxy model.
  1. Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background
  2. Still no electric currents powering the galaxies...
  3. Electric Universe: More data refuting the EU galaxy model
A number of problems with the model remain unanswered, though Tony Peratt seems to have stopped all development on it.
  • The microwave emission of the currents predicted by Peratt does not appear in COBE, WMAP or Planck skymaps.
  • There is still no identification of the source or mechanism for generating the tremendous electromotive force (EMF) needed to power the galaxies in the Peratt model. 
  • The intersection of the two Birkeland currents in the Peratt model form a long, cylindrical structure, yet the galaxies are cross-sectional slices from the current.  Why?

Intergalactic Space
If, as EU likes to claim, their 'work' is based on strong laboratory science, why does EU believe any results based on the HI 21 cm radio emission (wikipedia)?  I have yet to find any evidence that that photon emission has been detected in the laboratory.  Its existence is based on a theoretical calculation, not that different from the calculation that two protons can fuse to form deuterium.  The theoretical calculation demonstrates that *both* interactions have a probability too low to be detected with current laboratory capability.   

So why do EU supporters believe the HI 21 cm emission but not the proton-proton chain?

What is the origin of the electromotive force (EMF) that drives all the current streams required?  These EMFs should be operating today yet EU has not proposed any sources of these nor ways to measure them.
Arguing that Big Bang cosmology is intrinsically religious because it was originally developed by a priest.  Is Big Bang Cosmology a 'Creationist' Model?

General Electric Universe Failures
APOD Nereid and I explored a host of failures of Electric Universe 'Theorists' that were published in the Bentham Open Astronomy Journal (BOAJ) in 2011.  While BOAJ claims to be a peer-reviewed journal, the quality of that peer-review is very questionable.

Adoption of Other Pseudo-Sciences by Electric Universe Supporters

June 28, 2015: Added a few more links, and did some major reformatting.
June 27, 2015: Added link to new Electric Comet post
January 2, 2015:  Added some links and created an index listing.
May 12, 2014: Miscellaneous Electric Universe and other pseudo-sciences resources added.
March 30, 2014: Added Electric Comet link
October 21, 2012: Add Death by Electric Universe series
September 20, 2012: Add EU peer-review exercise.
July 16, 2011: Minor fixes thanks to Nereid.
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