Monday, January 2, 2012

Electric Universe Fantasies & Heliopause Electrons

Dr. Donald Scott, whose Electric Universe promotional activites have been discussed on this site before has published an (alledged) update to his Electric Sun model:

Thunderbolts: Voyager 1 Updates Solar Electron Flux

Dr. Scott claims to use Voyager data to update his incoming electron flux to 10^7 electrons per cubic meter, a 100 times increase over his previous estimate.  He subsequently uses this to downgrade the estimate of the Sun-heliopause voltage drop to 6.25 million volts.
“NASA’s observation (#3 above) that the direction of the solar wind actually reverses (begins to flow sunward) out near the heliopause is further confirmation that the analogy between the behavior of the Sun’s surrounding plasma and what is observed in laboratory “gas” (plasma) discharge tubes is a valid one.”
Note that we still get NO information on the voltage system actually driving this claimed discharge tube.  Since we detect no synchrotron emission from the current stream (detectable at radio wavelengths), it's existence is as mystical as the diety that makes the Sun rise each day.

This continued failure on the part of EU 'theorists' places their 'model' in a far weaker position than the standard heliospheric bow-shock model, where particles moving out from the Sun eventually reach a distance where the outflow balances with the interstellar medium flowing around the Sun.  We've observed this around other stars (see Hubble Finds Stars That 'Go Ballistic', Wikipedia: Bow Shock).  We observe these bow-shock structures under many conditions where there clearly are no large-scale electric fields controlling their structure.

For a closer look, here's the original Voyager press release:

NASA/JPL: NASA's Voyager Hits New Region at Solar System Edge

Note that the JPL article says that Voyager reports a 100-fold increase in the electron intensity (flux) from elsewhere in the galaxy, but does not actually report a value.  Also note that this is the flux of energetic electrons from the rest of the galaxy, NOT the relatively low-energy free electrons in the interstellar medium.  But these inconvenient distinctions do not deter Dr. Scott.  He just multiplies his original numbers (apparently from some estimate made around 1979) by 100.  These values Dr. Scott is using are not necessarily the ones Voyager was actually reporting (I actually have a query pending to get the actual numbers.  I had hoped I would have heard back on this by now). 

But beyond that, nothing's really changed.  EU still requires mystical properties for charged particles, much of which I covered in my earlier posts on this particular EU solar model (which is very different from Wal Thornhill's model):

The Solar Capacitor Model. I.
The Solar Capacitor Model. II.
The Solar Capacitor Model. III.

I can re-run the simulations from these past articles with Dr. Scott's revised numbers, but it doesn't improve the comparison to actual data much.  The general effects are:
  • Increasing the electron density to lower the voltage drop increases all the particle densities. This still creates a problem for the radiation environment to which satellites and astronauts are exposed.
  • Reducing the voltage drop lowers the particles speeds.  This is still HARD radiation, dangerous to satellites and astronauts.
Here's some more issues raised by Dr. Scott's 'interpretation' of the JPL release:
  • If inbound electrons are now being measured by Voyager in the heliopause region, why weren't they detected closer to the Sun? How do the electrons deliver their energy to the Sun if they don't travel the remaining 100 AUs to the Sun? Again, EU must invoke some magical property for electrons.  According to the standard heliosphere model, the number of inbound electrons are increasing because the flux of outbound electrons has decreased sufficiently that the inbound electrons are not being scattered off their trajectory.
  • What happens to electrons moving through a 10 billion volt drop, or even a 6.25 million volt drop?  How is their energy transferred when they impact the Sun?  We've been able to generate electron beams of this energy, and higher, for DECADES.  See SLAC’s Electron Beam Gets Astrophysical.  We know exactly how these electron beams behave. We know what happens when they hit matter, like the surface of the Sun, or the dark side of a planet, or a satellite, or an astronaut in a space suit.  This detail is also something that designers of everything from discharge tubes to CRTs MUST know, but EU 'theorists' apparently do not.
Most electrical engineers I've worked with understand the concept of an energy budget - you don't attach appliances to your generator if the generator can't support your load.  You must understand the energy budget of your equipment, whether it be your home, or a satellite or a spacecraft, or your physical system.

This very basic fact is apparently not understood by Electric Universe 'theorists'.


Anonymous said...

Tom, you seem ignorant of the list of speakers for the 2012 EU conference which just finished up. Rumor is that an IBEX mission manager spoke at the conference about their findings, and lent explicit support to the EU's attempt to explain the mission results.

And that was after 40 failed attempts by mainstream modelers to do the same.

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

to Anonymous:
With some of the fact-checking I've been able to do so far, you have so many of the details wrong in this short paragraph, there is no telling how far from the truth you are with the rest.

Fortunately, I interact with the mission groups in question on a sufficiently regular basis that I can check further and have already started that process.

However, I suspect that a perfectly in order IBEX presentation was given, since various individuals give such presentations (myself included) at a wide variety of forums, science-fiction conventions, etc. Presentations at these events is not necessarily equivalent to endorsement of the sponsor, specially when one considers how much NASA and its contractors are encouraged to do science outreach.

I suspect the presentation was consistent with many of the cosmic charged-particle phenomena I have outlined in posts such as "The REAL Electric Universe" and the plasma modeling series.

I suspect nothing was presented that supported the Sun being predominantly powered by EXTERNAL electric currents, such as Scott's 'Solar Capacitor' model or Thornhill's 'Solar Resistor' Model. Both of these models still require fields or particle fluxes fatal to satellites and astronauts, a fact noted by myself, as well as individuals who actually design, build, and fly satellites.

I'm still wondering how a mission like IBEX, that detects NEUTRAL atoms, can be viewed by EU supporters as providing evidence that the Sun is powered by external fluxes of CHARGED particles. By what magic process does that happen?

SharpTheories said...

Interesting....but an electron is a quantum particle.

So to answer your question, "by what magic process does that happen?"

The answer is: by the same process that allows for quantum the same process that cause a particle to behave as a wave....The answer is superposition, the quantum spookiness that appears magical to us ignorant humans.

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

To SharpTheories,

This seems to be the new chant of crank science. Their unsolved problems used to be allegedly explained by 'nonlinearities', now they're explained by 'quantum spookiness'?

Unfortunately, most people pushing this explanation tend to forget (or never knew) that quantum mechanics (QM) is VERY well-tested in terms of the mathematics matching what we find in reality (Introduction to Quantum Mechanics). It is so good that we not only understood the structure of atoms and molecules and designed semiconductor electronics using it, but we getting to a point where we can also design new materials mathematically before mixing the chemistry (Wikipedia).

Quantum mechanics is far from 'magic'.

Quantum mechanics says that over these types of distances of an electric sun model, electrons can be treated classically. However, if you can present a proper quantum mechanical calculation for this problem, demonstrating that QM can turn the IBEX neutral atoms into Sun-powering electrons, I might change my mind.

Quantum entanglement (Wikipedia) does not allow an electron to travel from point A to B without detection. It only allows us to know what state the particle will be in once it gets measured. To maintain that correlation also requires the electrons to make the trip from the heliopause to the photosphere without interacting with any other particle. This is tricky considering that the electric field of a charged particle is a long range force, interacting with ions and other electrons along the way.

Entanglement experiments have generally required that the entangled particles be isolated from other interactions - a process requiring extensive amounts of equipment.

Where is that equipment that maintains this isolation on the trip from the heliopause to the solar photosphere for all those electrons?

Besides that, a number of things advocated by EU 'theorists', such as denial of quantum tunneling in nuclear physics as predicted for the proton-proton reaction, suggest they thing QM is nonsense as well. EU 'theorists' invoking QM to fix their problems would be yet another example of EU's hypocrisy.

So...What Happened?

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