Saturday, October 9, 2010

The IBEX Challenge for the Electric Sun

The IBEX mission was in the news recently yet again.  This time publishing a new skymap from the past six months of observing neutral atoms from the heliopause and beyond.  The new map reveals some significant changes in the emission of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) along some regions of the 'ribbon'.

IBEX Finds Surprising Changes at Solar Boundary

There are a number of proposed explanations by researchers (some descriptions here at SWRI) actually working with the data (SWRI/IBEX data).  Each of the proposed mechanisms can create mathematical predictions that match some characteristics of the ENA emission, but not all.  As happens in many of these cases, the truth is probably some combination of these mechanisms.

The IBEX results have again caused a stir among the Electric Universe (EU) and Electric Sun (ES) supporters as reinforcing their claims of the Sun being powered by external electric currents.  The new result has re-invigorated the topic at Thunderbolts (forum link).  I've written about this with some earlier IBEX releases:
In the last link, I covered one of the proposed mechanisms for the ribbon emission. This was a really good paper as the researchers used their model to generate a neutral atom emission map which could be compared DIRECTLY to the IBEX result. Here's a comparison:

The agreement between the actual data (left) and the model, which does not include background emission, (right) is surprisingly good.

While the Electric Sun supporters CLAIM their 'model' explains the IBEX result, where are their model predictions that we can directly compare to the IBEX results?  Note the arrogance of the poster 'mharratsc' in this thread (thunderbolts forum), claiming that IBEX PROVES THE ELECTRIC SUN.
Bridgeman et al can yammer up a storm about what they think about the Electric Sun model and plasma cosmology in general, but when it comes to IBEX- their model was PROVEN WRONG.

EU/PC/Electric Sun- VALIDATED.

Then where IS the equivalent IBEX map generated for the Electric Sun model?  

The ES map should show better (or even perfect) agreement with the data map.  It should show better agreement than the other proposed models.

After all, such a bold claim by EU requires evidence that can be compared to real data.  Without it, why should anyone regard the EU claim as anything more than a fairy tale?  Failure to present the EU claim at the same standards that other scientists must satisfy makes the EU claim look more like scientific fraud.

Here's just a few additional questions I would have for the ES theorists when it comes to explaining the IBEX observations:
  1. Describe the mechanism for the pinch current powering stars to produce this sunward flux of neutral atoms.  How do we compute the particle fluxes and energies?
  2. If the change in the ribbon represents a change in the current of the z-pinch that powers other stars, shouldn't we expect to see a pattern of nearby stars (powered by this stream) changing brightness?  If so, by how much?  When and where could we expect to see this change?
  3. Related to 2, if the IBEX changing knot is the imprint of another current stream against the Sun's current stream, we should be able to use this to build a map of one of these nearby current streams.  Where's the skymap of this current stream?
If the ES model is insufficient to answer these questions, then their claims of a model that explains the IBEX observations is false.

Is there ANY EU supporter up to the challenge of doing something that could be described as REAL science?


Dave Smith said...

As usual Tom, you're the one who could be accused of fraud.

Time and again you have been told that the thunderbolts forum is NOT where to find official EU/ES material, yet time and again the thunderbolts forum is where you get your fodder from.

One day perhaps you'll indulge in some REAL skepticism.

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

But Dave, WHERE are they getting their information?

Electric Sun Verified by Wal Thornhill

This is in similarly named supporting links in the main body where EU made this claim a year ago and I made a similar challenge. Probably should have given this link a higher profile.

So you're saying the challenge should go directly to Thornhill?

Dave Smith said...

"So you're saying the challenge should go directly to Thornhill?"

My words speak for themselves, I said nothing of the sort.

You seem to be the only one who is challenged.

You don't seem to understand that good science is not confirmed nor falsified on blogs and forums.

You don't seem to have an understanding of the Electric Universe, nor the Electric Sun, nor a genuine interest in trying to understand them.

Your continued misrepresentation of layman's discussions does you no credit, nor does your tactic of setting up and then burning strawmen.

Electric Universe theorists prefer to, and do, have serious discussions with serious scientists. It happens all the time.

Serious scientists don't "challenge" with something they've found on a forum, but go to the original source of information. Then they present it in the proper context, and begin a discussion. Usually this is done in a private setting, or at conferences and the like, not on blogs. It's not rocket science.

The plethora of personal blogs where people set up a soapbox and preach to their flock seems more to satisfy their own desire for ego stroking than anything else. But that's their Prerogative, it's just not where you'll find serious scientists spending much of their valuable time.

Anonymous said...

Dave Smith, who is (I think) one of TB forum's site admins, is the author of "rules and guidelines of our forum".

Those include the following:

-> "All posts to the scientific parts of the forum should be confined to properly constructed scientific arguments either supporting or challenging published Electric Universe theory. The ONLY places we treat as exceptions to these guidelines is on "The Human Question" and "New Insights and Mad Ideas" boards." I added some bold.

-> "We are all here as guests of the Thunderbolts Project and as such should be respecting the rules and guidelines of the forum. It is essentially an Electric Universe forum, and should not involve itself in deep discussions of the theories of others not connected with EU."

-> "The reach of the Thunderbolts Project continues to grow and as we garner more interest from the scientific community it is essential that we constrain our discussions to published and relevant materials and seek to maintain a level of integrity to our enquiries deserving of scientific discussion." Again, I added some bold.

-> "Please consider this both a first and final word on the subject, if your discussion is not related to EU in some meaningful and scientifically sound manner, it will be deleted." ditto

If the "Thunderbolts Project" is the TB website, then it's curious that it contains (as far as I could tell) no "rules and guidelines" (other than those on the forum).

I'm curious Dave Smith, is the material Tom quoted not from a "scientific" part of the forum? Does that material fail to meet the standards you set ("properly constructed scientific arguments either supporting or challenging published Electric Universe theory")?

I'm doubly curious about the apparent contradiction between your emphasis on science (and things scientific) and your statement that there is "official EU/ES material". To me, what you wrote seems much more like a religion than science.

Finally, don't you feel a little, um, strange putting so much emphasis on science, given the near total lack of any science-based challenges to EU/ES ideas (on your forum, and the TB website in general), and the lack of any science-based responses to the numerous challenges to EU/ES ideas, both here and in many internet discussion fora (such as JREF)?


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

Well Dave, in addition to APODNereid's comments about YOUR criteria for Thunderbolts forum posts, I ask:

Where's the skymap constructed from the EU model?

I've explored the 'more scientific' areas of Thunderbolts and have found nothing that fits scientific criteria. Is it somewhere else? If so, publish a link.

If you have NONE, how can we conduct an objective comparison of the EU model and the data? THAT is the required standard of science. Anything less is non-science and nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Dave Smith, you wrote: "Electric Universe theorists prefer to, and do, have serious discussions with serious scientists. It happens all the time."

Who are the ten (say) leading "Electric Universe theorists"? There's Scott, Thornhill, and (maybe) Talbott; who else?

Can you give some examples of when and where these "serious discussions with serious scientists" have taken place? For example at which "conferences and the like"? For example, do these include the meeting which Scott and Bridgman both wrote about (and which has been discussed, at length here, and in the JREF)?

As I understand it, the primary source of science is papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Apart from one by Thornhill, in an IEEE journal in 2007, I do not know of any such, by Scott, Thornhill, or Talbott. Can you please provide some references to papers published in the last two decades (no need to provide any for Peratt, Lerner, Mozina, or Verschuur)?


Siggy_G said...


Other Electric Universe theorists are listed under (but not limited to) the Thunderbolts team under appropriate descriptions:

Halton Arp is not lecturing the Electric Universe, but his astrophysical interpretations and questioning ties closely in with EU theory. The same goes for Alfvèn, Peratt, Carlquist, Lerner, Verschuur et al.

As I understand it, the primary source of conventional science is papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Although I respect that, I would wonder to which extent Electric Universe (and even Plasma Cosmology) ideas would make it through such journals. Not because of a lack of scientific approach, but because it makes the existing astronomy and cosmology pear shaped. Responses to submitted EU papers could be: "Yes, but we already know black holes does that". Or perhaps: "all the other guys have shown that we only need gravity and dark matter to explain that – and electricity doesn't do anything in space, by the way" ...

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

To Siggy_G:

None of the "Thunderbolts Team" seem to actually do astronomy with professional grade equipment (and there is a surprising amount available to amateurs), not to mention do anything with any of the data collected that is freely available. Have any of them even downloaded a SOHO FITS solar image, much less done an actual analysis on it?

Of Alfvèn, Peratt, Carlquist, Lerner, Verschuur, NONE of them have published anything on an electrically-powered Sun (the topic of this post). Vershuur's wife is a solar physicist so I doubt he is a supporter. Carlquist has done work focused on currents in solar flares. Much work has been done on solar electric fields, some summarized in
Electric fields in the solar atmosphere - A review by Foukal and Hinata.

So the question of professionals who support an electrically-powered Sun and stars still stands as unanswered and I'm still waiting for the neutral atom flux skymap from ES to compare to the IBEX map.

Siggy_G said...

Donald E. Scott have done astronomical work/studies with professional equipment at Holin A Grotch Observatory, whereby several of his assembled photos are on his older site: (Astro-Images, lower left menu) (description of equipment)

Stephen Smith and Mel Acheson in particular do analyse and re-interpret various press releases and contemporary astronomical data, and sees things differently than through the conventional lense (i.e. rather as plasma and electric processes, instead of black holes, dark matter and ideal thermodynamics). These are presented in an "Astronomical picture of the Day" manner. Wall Thornhill's contribution is, besides his astronomical interpretations, also related to lab experiments on both plasma pinching, electric craters and surface scarring; effects that may well be scalable. I'm not sure what he's currently is working on, but he has mentioned that this is a busy year for him.

Professional solar physisists are probably busy elaborating on established models – each person having very specific assignments from their project manager. If they are to support or look into the ES, I think specific funding or assignments from NASA/ESA on such a study would be required. I don't know of any such attempts. Perhaps one needs to be situated outside the box in order to think outside it?

Anonymous said...

Although Alfvén and others have not published anything on electrically powered stars, there is one peer-reviewed paper on:

*"An electrically powered binary star?", Kinwah Wu, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 331, Issue 1, pp. 221-227.

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

To Siggy_G:
You obviously have a very distorted picture of what professional astronomers and astrophysicists do.

Scott professional studies: While the equipment you reference is impressive, it is really a professional-grade ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY setup, something more equivalent to a professional photographer than a professional astronomer.

What else is done with those images Scott produces?

- Is he doing photometry of variable stars? (AAVSO)
- Perhaps proper motion studies?
- Stellar spectra?
- Supernova hunting?

These are the projects of professional-grade amateurs that actually contribute to astronomy as a SCIENCE. On the Hubble, the RAW CCD images are used for photon flux data. Turning them into 'pretty pictures' is a bonus as far as astronomy is concerned.

Thornhill 'scalable'? Really? To be scalable, you have to provide some numbers to scale. Let's take at look at Plasma-Generated Craters and Spherules. Very few actual numbers to see if a 'scaling law' even applies.

Gee, to make a proposal, you have even an order-of-magnitude test model to demonstrate that Electric Sun (ES) proposal doesn't violate known laws of physics. If you can't do that, what distinguishes your claims from all the perpetual-motion machines and other crank technologies? Proposal reviewers always check their basic laws of physics - and there ES fails before it gets to the starting gate.

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

To Anonymous:
I have this in my To Do list to develop into a post with some better graphics so further response will have to await that post.

Considering the paper is publicly available, apparently you didn't bother to actually READ it. Or perhaps you read it and didn't understand it?

Questions for you:
- Is the star in question powered by an EXTERNAL electric current, such as in the Scott or Thornhill models? What is the original source of the energy that drives the current in Wu's model?
- The model depends on the components of the system being white dwarf stars. White dwarf stars are the electron analog of neutron stars. Does EU believe that matter can exist in the degenerate state?

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

Note for active comment threads. Priorities of the next few weeks will limit my time on dealing with comments. If there is any comment where I want to respond, it may be significantly delayed. I do have some regular posts queued up to release through the auto-poster.

Siggy_G said...

Well, my response was based on you portraying an image where EU advocates have never seen astronomical data, papers or have ever used a telescope. Is discovering a new supernova or stellar motion vital for the EU? Do you suggest that they have to re-discover the emission spectras, red shift values or apparent brightness, when such data is already collected and freely available? The data is independent of cosmological model, given that tax payers' money within numerous countries have provided it. It's not a property of the Big Bang theory, whereas EU advocates would need launch their own probes to re-discover the emission/flux data. If astrophysics and cosmology are the subjects of collecting, interpreting and systemizing data/physics to get a detailed theory of how the universe works, I don't see any contradiction or "distorted picture" in what I stated in my previous comment. It's the interpretation of the data/physics that is different between standard cosmology, plasma cosmology and the electric universe.

An electrically powered binary star: although the dynamo mechanism described is very different from an external sunward electron drift (and pinch), it is the principal that "Electrical power is an alternative stellar luminosity source, following on from nuclear fusion and accretion" that is interesting. In other words, the approach made plausible that electricty by itself is sufficient to drive such emissions. Not saying it IS the same as an electric sun.

Personally, I like this paper:
"An electrodynamic model of the galactic centre" (1988)

BTW: my comments will also be sparse in the coming weeks as well, due to various occupations.

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

Yet the EU 'expertise' you present is more at the level of a bright high-school kid. You presented nothing that is actual research grade.

Why should EU be involved in data collection? While there is a lot of existing data, the universe is constantly changing. Variable stars vary, SN explode, occasionally new things are seen. Some experience with the discipline of data is important, especially for theory people.

So you have not shown that EU 'researchers' have worked with real, research-grade data analysis.

If I were claiming that such cosmic-scale currents powered the stars, I'd be monitoring variable stars since their variations would probably trace variations in the current streams.

What happens when a stream no longer connects with the star? If a stream varies, wouldn't stars along it change brightness in a correlated way?

Since these streams are so unstable, might it be important to monitor these variable stars since that might impact the luminosity of the Sun itself?

Can EU tell me how long the Sun has had an output steady to ~1%?

Can a z-pinch be steady for millions of years? Or do EU supporters agree with the YECs on claims the Sun is very young?

Do these cosmic currents violate the Alfven limiting current?

These are all the types of questions a real researcher might have that might be answered by actually examining real data.

The binary star paper has luminosity powered by resistive heating from an electric field which is generated by induction, similarly for the Benford paper, An electrodynamic model of the Galactic center. These resistive heating mechanisms are routinely considered in astrophysics, in magnetic reconnection an other electrodynamic processes. These only support EU claims if you believe the EU claim that astronomers ignore electric fields in space.

Here's a few more counter-examples from nearly 100 years ago:

The Zeeman and Stark Effects by G. E. Hale (1914)
An Attempt to Measure the Free Electricity in the Sun's Atmosphere by Hale & Babcock (1915)
Electrical state of a star by Rosseland (1924)

Mechanisms of powering stars by external current streams have been examined and have failed. They create more problems than they solve.

Anonymous said...

"These only support EU claims if you believe the EU claim that astronomers ignore electric fields in space.

Here's a few more counter-examples from nearly 100 years ago:

The Zeeman and Stark Effects by G. E. Hale (1914)
An Attempt to Measure the Free Electricity in the Sun's Atmosphere by Hale & Babcock (1915)
Electrical state of a star by Rosseland (1924)

Mechanisms of powering stars by external current streams have been examined and have failed. They create more problems than they solve."

If the electric field and current in space hypothesis needs to be tested empirically it can be done with Langmuir probes attached to spaceprobes in order to collect a vast dataset of electric space phenomena (which is lacking in the existing data-set).

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

Loads of data already collected for DECADES. Yet EU seems to ignore it.

Virtual Space Physics Observatory.

Spacecraft have been 'fried' by electrostatic buildup when they move through these plasmas. Spacecraft charging is an important area of research as noted elsewhere on this blog. Some codes for modeling the process PicUp 3D.

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