New mission to study crossed magnetic streams and magnetic portals

NASA is trying to figure out why when magnetic field lines containing charged particles cross on the sun, things go “boom”. In earth’s magnetic field, we get “magnetic portals” to the sun. Sounds like a movie.

http://bornandbreded.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/crossed.jpg?resize=508%2C375

Don't cross the streams...it would be bad. (Ghostbusters 1984 Black Rhino Productions)

From NASA Science News

Honey, I Blew up the Tokamak

August 31, 2009: Magnetic reconnection could be the Universe’s favorite way to make things explode. It operates anywhere magnetic fields pervade space–which is to say almost everywhere. On the sun magnetic reconnection causes solar flares as powerful as a billion atomic bombs. In Earth’s atmosphere, it fuels magnetic storms and auroras. In laboratories, it can cause big problems in fusion reactors. It’s ubiquitous.

see captionThe problem is, researchers can’t explain it.

The basics are clear enough. Magnetic lines of force cross, cancel, reconnect and—Bang! Magnetic energy is unleashed in the form of heat and charged-particle kinetic energy.

Right: A cartoon model of magnetic reconnection on the sun. [more]

But how? How does the simple act of crisscrossing magnetic field lines trigger such a ferocious explosion?

“Something very interesting and fundamental is going on that we don’t really understand — not from laboratory experiments or from simulations,” says Melvyn Goldstein, chief of the Geospace Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

NASA is going to launch a mission to get to the bottom of the mystery. It’s called MMS, short for Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, and it consists of four spacecraft which will fly through Earth’s magnetosphere to study reconnection in action. The mission passed its preliminary design review in May 2009 and was approved for implementation in June 2009. Engineers can now start building the spacecraft.

“Earth’s magnetosphere is a wonderful natural laboratory for studying reconnection,” says mission scientist Jim Burch of the Southwest Research Institute. “It is big, roomy, and reconnection is taking place there almost non-stop.”

In the outer layers of the magnetosphere, where Earth’s magnetic field meets the solar wind, reconnection events create temporary magnetic “portals” connecting Earth to the sun. Inside the magnetosphere, in a long drawn-out structure called “the magnetotail,” reconnection propels high-energy plasma clouds toward Earth, triggering Northern Lights when they hit. There are many other examples, and MMS will explore them all.

The four spacecraft will be built at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Each observatory is shaped like a giant hockey puck, about 12 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height,” says Karen Halterman, MMS Project Manager at Goddard.

see caption

Above: An artist’s concept of the four MMS spacecraft flying in formation through the space around Earth. [more]

The mission’s sensors for monitoring electromagnetic fields and charged particles are being built at a number of universities and laboratories around the country, led by the Southwest Research Institute. When the instruments are done, they will be integrated into the spacecraft frames at Goddard. Launch is scheduled for 2014 onboard an Atlas V rocket.

Any new physics MMS learns could ultimately help alleviate the energy crisis on Earth.

“For many years, researchers have looked to fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for our planet,” says Burch. “One approach, magnetic confinement fusion, has yielded very promising results with devices such as tokamaks. But there have been problems keeping the plasma (hot ionized gas) contained in the chamber.”

see caption“One of the main problems is magnetic reconnection,” he continues. “A spectacular and even dangerous result of reconnection is known as the sawtooth crash. As the heat in the tokamak builds up, the electron temperature reaches a peak and then ‘crashes’ to a lower value, and some of the hot plasma escapes. This is caused by reconnection of the containment field.”

Right: Inside a tokamak. Image credit: Lawrence Berkeley Labs [more]

In light of this, you might suppose that tokamaks would be a good place to study reconnection. But no, says Burch. Reconnection in a tokamak happens in such a tiny volume, only a few millimeters wide, that it is very difficult to study. It is practically impossible to build sensors small enough to probe the reconnection zone.

Earth’s magnetosphere is much better. In the expansive magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet, the process plays out over volumes as large as tens of kilometers across. “We can fly spacecraft in and around it and get a good look at what’s going on,” he says.

That is what MMS will do: fly directly into the reconnection zone. The spacecraft are sturdy enough to withstand the energetics of reconnection events known to occur in Earth’s magnetosphere, so there is nothing standing in the way of a full two year mission of discovery.

Learn more about the mission at the MMS Home Page.

114 thoughts on “New mission to study crossed magnetic streams and magnetic portals

  1. They should look to fringe science for some ideas on what’s up with that. I’m sure there must be some off-the-wall idea that could ‘seed” more responsible speculation.

  2. This is fascinating stuff. I wonder what climatic impact this will have. Maybe nothing, maybe something, let’s find out.

  3. Thanks for the pointer to the solar cycle info. Interesting look at spatial relationships and influence (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist the word play).

  4. maybe the “boom” and explosion are caused in the same way that metal objects in microwave ovens happen: You have a magnetron sending waves to metals which don’t absorb, but agitate the metallic electrons, then some electons get agitated enough as to escape the metal surface and send sparks and crackles to the air.

  5. I just recently had my kids watching those vintage movies… it was great back then and still is… let’s hope GB3 will be as good.
    Now, if we could just control the generation of such events, we could be on our way to a Magnetic Reconnection Engine.

  6. Hmmm… Kind of like when a capacitor has the plates pulled apart, the voltage just keeps rising… Or like a flyback transformer…
    BTW, I may have found something wrong with the PApars.f code where it makes an “average anomaly” to use in adjusting other temperatures. I’ve put an update on:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/gistemp-a-slice-of-pisa/
    If there are any programmer types out there, I could use a “desk check” on my understanding of what this means…
    (I think it means that the first record from the first “rural” station used to “adjust” the urban station data is used without “bias” correction, but all subsequent “rural” stations have their bias removed by adjusting THEM to the mean of the prior average of “rural” stations… which sounds fine, until you see that the code does not “unbias” the first record, but just uses it to make the first mean … to which all subsequent “rural” station data must be adjusted… Which I think means it biases the whole set… But I really need some “fresh eyes” to look at this. I’m in the “short slept and fuzzy enough” zone to have easily missed something … But it would explain things like the 1.75C drop in the early years of the Pisa record, since Hohenpeissenberg is the “first rural” record for Pisa and Germany near the Alps is a mite colder than Pisa… )

  7. From the RHESSI article …. “This downward contraction was not predicted by flare models. ”
    Hmm. What else has not been “predicted” by other models?

  8. It is good to see truth rather than the usual distortion about solar-terrestrial relations:
    “Something very interesting and fundamental is going on that we don’t really understand — not from laboratory experiments or from simulations,”
    key words: “fundamental” – “don’t” “understand”

  9. “Magnetic reconnection could be the Universe’s favorite way to make things explode. It operates anywhere magnetic fields pervade space–which is to say almost everywhere. On the sun magnetic reconnection causes solar flares as powerful as a billion atomic bombs. In Earth’s atmosphere, it fuels magnetic storms and auroras. In laboratories, it can cause big problems in fusion reactors. It’s ubiquitous.
    The problem is, researchers can’t explain it.” ha! 😀
    Might some electrical engineers be able to help with this problem? For example, are magnetic field lines a physical reality, or is the magnetic field a smooth continuum?

  10. As the “science is settled”:
    “Magnetic energy is unleashed in the form of heat and charged-particle kinetic energy.”
    has nothing to do with weather. After all, the sun has very little influence on Earth’s weather, doesn’t it?
    How is this ‘modelled’ in the GCMs?

  11. Seems odd that magnetic fields could produce that amount of energy. Perhaps a magnetc z-pinch effect could cause a high energy fuson reacton of the suns surface plasma?

  12. “magnetic reconnection”
    Is this a bad terminology, or magnetic monopole do exist? I mean the poles
    just “flipping” around before reconnection?
    Wouldn’t be plausible all this is not magnetic field at all, but something totally different and manifest itself like the magnetic field lines?
    How about “large scale” nuclear forces, perhaps ZPF?
    I know this is “crackpot science” by guessing like that, but sometimes we need to think outside of the box…

  13. “Each observatory is shaped like a giant hockey puck,”
    What’s with all the hockey stuff? First a graph and now a set of observatories. Someone needs to shape something like a football. Go Longhorns! Go Cowboys!

  14. Magnetic fields reconnect into a lower energy state and release the energy difference.
    I’m not holding my breath for an Earth-shattering discovery, but who knows. Hopefully they can help get us workable fusion energy (assuming the polywell doesn’t beat them) or anything else. What can I say? Space is cool and I want starships.

  15. “”…things go “boom””
    Sounds like high energy gauge boson interactions to me (quantum electrodynamics). When magnetic fields collapse incredible energy can be given off. I’m picturing the point of recombination as being a location of sudden flux change similar in nature to that of a field collapse. Have a few charged particles passing through the middle of it all and there’s a good chance they’re going to get raised to an energy state that makes them go “boom.” At least that’s how I reason it.


  16. Roger Knights (13:30:20) :
    They should look to fringe science for some ideas on what’s up with that. I’m sure there must be some off-the-wall idea that could ’seed” more responsible speculation.

    Maybe the ‘electric universe’ people, like Wallace Thornhill, who look at astronomy and cosmology through the lens of plasma physics, might have something to offer:
    http://www.mikamar.biz/book-info/teu-a.htm
    http://www.mikamar.biz/book-info/tes-a.htm
    /Mr Lynn

  17. When NASA finishes their research, perhaps they would be good enough to explain, in a way we laymen can understand it, why / how induction range elements work. Seems like the neatest thing since microwave ovens to me.

  18. Any connection [however remote] between magnetic lines and isobars?
    Always wondered….
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  19. Induction range,
    A magnetic field (predominately) is generated by a coil (and some other stuff) that changes faster than the atoms and the molecules in the pot that is immersed in the field can change. This causes friction which heats the metal pot.
    This is the layman’s explanation. No need to go into hysteresis loops, coil Q, IGBT drive voltages, Class E operation, etc.

  20. Good luck to NASA. I have a picture held to the fridge with something called a magnet. Explain that.

  21. Let us see if I can properly describe lines of force; when an EMF (electro – motive – force ) event takes place the chaos of the aether is aligned and set in motion as if it were magnets connected end to end and set into circulation as current in a wire. Each sets up a counter field along side that creates the appearance of individual strands as in a large rope. The more voltage the more powerful the circulation, the more amperage the larger the apparent rope size. This energy has inertia that has to go some where. In a transformer it goes from coil to coil, in a tesla coil it rebounds back into the coil that made it. In a rather spectacular fashion.
    The sun creates lines of force of tremendous energy levels that sometimes align and supercharge lines of force of the earth, when these collapse they set in motion electrical, EMF, events here on earth.

  22. Tenuc (15:23:39) “Seems odd that magnetic fields could produce that amount of energy.”
    It is old dogma which has influenced conceptions that is “odd”. Soon the old dogma will be in the grave.
    It is important to note the word “fundamental” in Anthony’s quote of Melvyn Goldstein. Considering this, anyone who projects authority regarding these phenomena without blunt & clear qualification is more than suspect on a political level.

  23. Myron Mesecke (16:59:19)
    ““Each observatory is shaped like a giant hockey puck,”
    What’s with all the hockey stuff? First a graph and now a set of observatories. Someone needs to shape something like a football. Go Longhorns! Go Cowboys!”

    Here:
    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/CCaa1mo&11aT1mo.PNG
    Can you see a football in the middle of that? Note how mean temperature is nothing more than a seam.

  24. So-called “magnetic reconnection” doesn’t happen.
    What does happen is current disruption. As in electric current which is charged particles in ordered motion.
    When magnetic fields reconfigure their morphology and direction, it is because the electric currents that generate the magnetic fields have changed morphology and direction.
    Any attempt to understand releases of energy that are associated with charged particles, plasma, without understanding the dynamics of the charged particles will be futile.
    Studying magnetic fields in isolation from the charged particles is missing half the picture.

  25. UGH! Reconnection does indeed happen and magnetic fields in space plasmas don’t require electrical currents to generate them. Comparing plasma with earth based electrical circuitry doesn’t work well, if at all. Any attempt to understand these plasmas and reconnection, without understanding plasma first, is futile.
    For a fundamental understanding of space plasmas, please read this book recommended previously in this blog by Dr. Svalgaard (I think): Conversations on Electric and Magnetic Fields in the Cosmos by Parker, E., published by Princeton University Press.
    Study the spheromak toroidal plasmas…

  26. As an ex-astrophysicist it always warms my heart to see real scientists saying what real scientists should, i.e. “we don’t actually understand or know everything”.
    Or, to put it another way, “the science isn’t settled”.
    We don’t really understand the fundamental forces / structures at work in nature (sure we can ‘model’ them but it doesn’t necessarily follow that model = reality).
    We’re not really sure how magnetism works, how matter has mass, how big the universe is, how fast the universe is expanding, where all the matter actually _is_, how consciousness occurs, how an embryo develops, how life started and so on… but we can rest assured that we (as a race) fully understand that we’re on a path to doom and misery because we understand how our complex climate system works…pull the other one, it’s got Al Gore on it (a true ding-a-ling).
    Cheers
    Mark

  27. Ray (14:22:50) :
    “I just recently had my kids watching those vintage movies…”
    That makes me feel old. I still kind of consider it a recent movie !
    Now if only they could combine this with a flux capacitor . . . .

  28. I see that the electric people are out in force. My comments:
    1) Magnetic reconnection does happen and is a major [universal] process for releasing energy stored in magnetic fields, and is observed in solar flares, nanoflares heating the corona, aurorae, and observed directly in the laboratory
    2) Magnetic reconnection happens when oppositely directed magnetic fields are pressed together in a plasma by movements of the plasma
    3) In an ideal MHD plasma, there is no reconnection, but no plasma is ideal
    4) In the boundary between plasma regions with opposite field lines a current is generated. This current does no work as the magnetic and electric fields are perpendicular, and thus does not ‘explode’
    5) The current layer is instable and when the layer breaks down, reconnection [and explosions] happen. In a sense ‘resistivity’ occurs which allows the reconnection to proceed much faster [‘explosion’]
    6) The ‘mystery’ is the detailed process by which this ‘anomalous resistivity’ arises, not that reconnection occurs.
    7) The more we know [and we know a lot] the more questions we can ask about the details. This gives the false impression that we don’t know anything, because we ask all those questions.

  29. Leif Svalgaard (07:56:38) :
    7) The more we know [and we know a lot] the more questions we can ask about the details. This gives the false impression that we don’t know anything, because we ask all those questions.

    We certainly do (as a species) know a lot. I also agree that the more you know, the more questions arise. However, the history of science has many examples where uncovering some small, anomalous, detail results in the realisation that in fact we didn’t know very much about something in the first place :o)
    The above is not meant as an invective and is not aimed at any individual – I just think every generation feels it’s close to understanding the ‘big picture’ and therefore it becomes a matter of refinement, only for something unexpected to come along and turn everything on its head again.
    Cheers
    Mark

  30. PlasMan (18:15:25) : Very interesting. From the link you gave:
    Alfvén ridiculed this explanation by saying, «“A magnetic field line is by definition a line which is everywhere parallel to the magnetic field. If the current system changes, the shape of the magnetic field line changes but it is meaningless to speak about a translational movement of magnetic field lines.”» – Alfvén, op cit, p.12.(Emphasis in original) Despite his warnings about this, astrophysicists persist in the notion that moving and interacting magnetic field lines – independent of any electrical current causality – produce the release of energy and plasma during solar flares. They have named this process ‘ reconnection’.

  31. I notice that the funny diagram is labelled as a “cartoon”
    There’s that singularity point where allegedly the magnetic “filed lines” meet.
    I don’t see any “crossing” occurring in that cartoon; but there is the inference that a field line undergoes a dicontinuous change in curvature; and I can’t tell whether that results in the obtuse angle “side swipe” between two lines, or whether it is an acute angle “reflection” that happens at that point.
    So does anyone (expert) care to say what Earnshaw’s theorem has to say about such an occurrence. Seems like an impossibility to me.
    George
    PS which is not to say that magnetic reconnection; whatever that is, isn’t real. I’ll take Leif’s word, that he has some of those corralled in his lab.

  32. Something from IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 35, NO. 4, AUGUST 2007
    Author: Donald E. Scott
    http://members.cox.net/dascott3/IEEE-TransPlasmaSci-Scott-Aug2007.pdf
    VII. CONCLUSION
    Maxwell showed that magnetic fields are the inseparable handmaidens of electric currents and vice versa. This is as true in the cosmos as it is here on Earth. Those investigators who, for whatever reason, have not been exposed to the now well-known properties of real plasmas and electromagnetic field theory must refrain from inventing “new” mechanisms in efforts to support current-free cosmic models. “New science” should not be invoked until all of what is now known about electromagnetic fields and electric currents in space plasma has been considered. Pronouncements that are in contradiction
    to Maxwell’s equations ought to be openly challenged by responsible scientists and engineers.

  33. Nogw (09:08:44) :
    Maxwell showed that electric currents are the inseparable handmaidens of magnetic fields and vice versa.
    The notion of ‘open field lines’ is often used to ridicule modern astrophysics. That notion is just a convenient way of describing some phenomena, just like the notion of ‘electron orbits’ in an atom. Neither notion is correct, but are for some purposes useful, and no scientists are confused by this or drive the ‘analogy’ to far.
    Here is a nice description of magnetic reconnection in the laboratory.
    This is not the place to enter into a useless discussion about this universal process, just as this is not the place to list all the reasons we don’t believe the Earth is flat, or all the reasons evolution is true, or why the Earth is of great age [rather than 6000 years], or why “Worlds are not in Collision”, etc.

  34. John F. Hultquist (21:16:11) :
    I have a picture held to the fridge with something called a magnet. Explain that.
    That is mainly MAGNETITE. Synthetic magnetite is made (one of several methods) by mixing Ferrous oxide (Fe+2)-really using ferrous hydroxide- with Ferric Oxide (Fe2O3) in the correct proportion (according to its molecular weights):
    %
    FeO 71.85 31.03%
    Fe2O3 159.70 68.97%
    Fe3O4 231.55
    Both compounds when separated (FeO it is unstable, it oxidizes) are not magnetic. Then, what does make them magnetic, when united?
    Electricity
    An electrical current is established between FeO (where Fe is +2) and Fe2O3 (Fe+3), because of difference in valence=a difference in potential, which results in a generated magnetic field. The black Fe3O4 compound (iron black) has been formed.

  35. Dr. Leif Svalgaard (07:56:38), makes the usual claim by astronomers that so-called “magnetic reconnection” does happen, but as the article from NASA clearly states, “The problem is, researchers can’t explain it.”
    Perhaps, they can’t explain it because they aren’t considering all the physical “players” participating in the process (charged particles and their attendent electric fields).
    The experiments that Dr. Svalgaard refers to depend on electric currents to generate the magnetic fields: Turn off the current and the lights go off on the experiment.
    Scientists commit error when they ignore observations & measurements.
    Dr. Svaalgard regularly brings out the 0.1 variance in irradiation between solar maximum and solar minimum to throw a wet blanket on the idea that the solar variance cycle (sunspot cycle) has anything at all to do with temperature variance that has been reported in conjunction with variance in sunspot activity.
    But the problem is that’s not the whole story: X-ray and ultra violet rays also increase during solar maximum (as do all segments on the electromagnetic wavelength spectrum):
    “Extreme ultraviolet photons from the Sun are at least 10 times more energetic than UV-A and UV-B and they vary 100 times more [between solar minimum and solar maximum].”
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast05sep_1.htm
    And this:
    “At wavelengths shorter than about 300 nm, there is a relatively large variation in the Sun’s extreme UV and x-ray output (greater than 1%), but the Earth’s atmosphere is nearly opaque at those wavelengths.”
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/images/sunbathing/sunspectrum.htm
    As the, above, quote points out much of this is absorbed by the upper atmosphere, but is that absorption inconsequential in the larger scheme of climate?
    My point is that you rarely hear about anything other than the 0.1 figure (it is misleading).
    Beware of scientists that fail to provide the whole picture because isn’t that what we see Man-made global warming proponents do everyday?

  36. Nogw (10:32:52) :
    John F. Hultquist (21:16:11) :
    More in detail: It’s a kind of a Tennis game: FeO sends an electron to its partner Fe2O3 in order to reduce it and so attain its equilibrium state (Fe2O3), but Fe2O3 in being reduced to FeO wants to return to its more stable state (Fe2O3) so emits an electron back. So the game goes on and on without ending.
    So, John, thanks for your question!

  37. At any rate, the article is somewhat self-contradictory–they do have lab results for magnetic reconnection, and they don’t. Good for NASA if they want to take some in situ measurements to test the theory. I wonder what they will find?
    My sense is that there is a strong argument for an electric current being present, and that some of the posters have shown an alternate theory for CMEs
    lab results:
    http://ve4xm.caltech.edu/Bellan_plasma_page/OPtAniimation.htm
    “The parallel filaments of the solar prominence match plasma discharge phenomena in the laboratory, using intense currents very nearly parallel to the magnetic field.” Wal Thornhill, The Electric Universe, pg 56
    I would not think the poster, Dr. Svalgaard, would object to having several competing explanations. Ie, “This current does no work” vs. “this current does all the work.”

  38. James F. Evans (10:46:18) :
    The experiments that Dr. Svalgaard refers to depend on electric currents to generate the magnetic fields: Turn off the current and the lights go off on the experiment.
    Almost all currents in the universe are generated by changing magnetic fields.
    but is that absorption inconsequential in the larger scheme of climate?
    The 0.1% of TSI is 1.5W/m2
    The 1% of UV less than 300 nm is 0.15W/m2 or ten times less.

  39. After all I was right and Leif was misinterpreting my explanation about the “paradoxical” temperature of the solar corona labeling my explanation like “pseudoscience.”
    NASA scientists are giving their explanation about the releasing of energy as from the magnetic reconnections. Magnetic energy is released as energy in transit (heat) and internal energy (kinetic energy) of charged particles. There is not alternative explanation for those bangs after magnetic loops reconnections except quantum tunneling.
    Now it is NASA which talks about it; however, Leif has not said that NASA’s scientists are not pseudoscientists, neither he has considered their arguments are pseudoscience, uh? ):( (angry face).

  40. Sorry, I made a small mistake in the last paragraph. I wrote:
    “Now it is NASA which talks about it; however, Leif has not said that NASA’s scientists are not pseudoscientists…”
    I should have writen:
    “Now it is NASA which talks about it; however, Leif has not said that NASA’s scientists are pseudoscientists…”

  41. Zeke (12:56:13) :
    “This current does no work” vs. “this current does all the work.”
    There is a widespread misconception here.
    The facts are these:
    1) when you have oppositely directed fields, a current is generated [if there are enough particles around to carry it] from the magnetic field.
    2) due to instabilities and waves, this current is very hard to keep steady [to wit the difficulties with fusion] and the current may grow dramatically in places
    3) the run-away current causes the ‘explosive’ release.
    So, currents make the explosions, changing magnetic fields make the currents, the energy for all this comes from the kinetic energy of the plasma. Quite simple. The ‘mystery’ is that we do not have a good microphysical or detailed understanding of exactly how the current breaks down, but there is not doubt that it does, because we directly observe this throughout the Universe, even in our laboratories.

  42. Leif Svalgaard (13:13:04) :
    Excuse me professor, but I am just an ignorant blogger who has manufactured synthetic nano magnetite and a few other things.
    If.. all currents in the universe are generated by changing magnetic fields.
    But what are those magnets made of? FeO+Fe2O3
    And those Fe lines in sunspots’ spectrum?
    Which one is first the egg or the chicken?

  43. Nogw (13:35:39) :
    And those Fe lines in sunspots’ spectrum?
    Very, very little magnetism come from Iron. For once, iron loses its magnetism above the Curie temperature of 768°C, and the Sun is hot. Solar magnetism does not come from iron, nor does that of the Earth. Both are generated by a dynamo, that rely on plasma movements to amplify an existing magnetic field. A good [and partly unanswered] question is where the very first magnetic fields in the Universe came from [if you say they were generated from currents, then the question becomes where the currents came from], but that is irrelevant for the everyday working of reconnection as we speak.
    But, again, this is not the place for discussing the pseudo-science behind the electric plasma thunderbolt universe. There are tons of websites that can mislead you to your hearts delight. But they do not belong on this serious ‘best science’ blog.

  44. Nogw (14:08:19) :
    “Very, very little magnetism come from Iron”
    Thanks.

    Realizing this is the first step to clear the ‘iron sun’ [and similar] stuff off your mind.

  45. Leif Svalgaard (13:13:04) :
    “Almost all currents in the universe are generated by changing magnetic fields.”
    This is demonstrably false by accepted Maxwell’s equations.
    At best, its a chicken or the egg question.
    Electric currents generate a magnetic field.
    magnetic fields will induce motion of charged particles (electric current) and influence their motion.
    Maxwell’s equations don’t specify a hiarchial order of cause and effect.
    The electromotive force will cause an electric current without need of a magnetic field.

  46. Well do I detect a rash of attempts to invoke Ferromagnetism as a viable process on the sun. That particular form of magnetic field seems to be confined to a small number of elements such as Iron and Cobalt plus Nickel.
    There are some weird alloys of things like Aluminium that exhibit something like ferromagnetism (I think they are called the Heusler alloys (sp?) but otherwise ferromagnetism is a relatively rare form of magnetism I believe, compared to para and diamagnetism.
    But classical Maxwellian Magnetism requires no elements; just moving charges. Is that not the source of the electromagnetic radiation from heated bodies. Electric charge at constant velociy would produce magnetism, but when accelerated, you then have variable currents which can produce electromagnetic radiation.
    I have not a clue as to what produces magnetic fields on the sun; but i owuldn’t be looking for iron as a source; whcih is not to say the sun doesn’t have iron; but as Leif has pointed out; at way above the Curie Temperature; where Iron ferromagnetism dies.

  47. James F. Evans (14:23:34) :
    The electromotive force will cause an electric current without need of a magnetic field.
    How do you create an electromotive force?
    It is not about Maxwell’s laws. They are fine and not violated. It is about how in our plasma-dominated Universe one generates currents [of which there are many]. It just so happens that the electric currents are generated from magnetic fields. What is so hard to understand about that? And there the discussion ends.

  48. are magnetic field lines a physical reality,

    My thinking, my experiences, says no; they are a convenient way of expressing the ‘field’ strength (some value, at least) is equal (equipotential).
    Corrections welcome.
    Also: “Fields do not influence fields”
    A ‘field’ may affect an already existing field’s effect on a conductor (or another body, as in repulsion or attaction of that body), for example, but, the ‘fields’ (in space, presumed to be propagating, and more correctly perhaps called ‘waves’) themselves do not interact. Were it true (fields affecting fields), radio on earth (anywhere) would not work, as all those fields would modify each other, ad infinitum. (Perhaps is would be better if I said: “Waves do not affect waves”)
    Corrections, additions?
    .
    .

  49. Seems like Earnshaw’s theorem only bans static equilibrium in electric or magnetic fields; it apparently doesn’t object to dynamic equilibrium, which essentially means process control (continuous).
    So what is going to go haywire in the cooker, when the control electronics fails; as it undoubtedly will.
    Would you get on an airoplane that was controlled directly by a computer program, without human intervention. Not me; I’ll watch the breakup from the ground.

  50. “”” _Jim (15:24:49) :
    are magnetic field lines a physical reality,
    My thinking, my experiences, says no; they are a convenient way of expressing the ‘field’ strength (some value, at least) is equal (equipotential).
    Corrections welcome.
    Also: “Fields do not influence fields”
    A ‘field’ may affect an already existing field’s effect on a conductor (or another body, as in repulsion or attaction of that body), for example, but, the ‘fields’ (in space, presumed to be propagating, and more correctly perhaps called ‘waves’) themselves do not interact. Were it true (fields affecting fields), radio on earth (anywhere) would not work, as all those fields would modify each other, ad infinitum. (Perhaps is would be better if I said: “Waves do not affect waves”)
    Corrections, additions? “””
    Well I think your thesis is demonstrably false. If you do the ordinary 8th grade science experiment with the bar magnet and the iron filings, the one thing you will find is that the magnetic field lines do not intersect.
    What prevents them form doing so is the interraction between one part of the field and the rest. The fields elbow each other out of each other’s way, until they settle on the only tolerable situation with that particular system.
    If fields did not interract with fields, there would be no restrictions on where the field lines could go.

  51. Well the interractions between magnetic fields, and currents, in generating or responding to each other; is patently obvious in the everyday dynamo/generator, where motor and generator actions take place simultaneously; and demonstrate one case of Le Chatalier’s principle, that perturbations in a system create reactions that act in opposition to the perturbing stimulus.
    So when you apply an external Voltage (that allows for current flow) to the terminals of a motor, that starts it rotating, the motor then acts as a generator that is directly in opposition to the applied driving Voltage, and cancels most of it out.
    Conversely, connecting a load to a rotating generator so that current can flow, will result in a motor action opposing the rotation of the generator armature,that tries to stop it from rotating, so that mechanical energy has to be expended to keep the armature rotating.
    High efficiency LEDs have the same problem. In addition to generating light in response to a current flow, they also make efficient photodetectors, that detect the large flux of internal photons that haven’t optically escaped from the structure; and that sets up a counter current that opposes some of the LED drive current; so it appears as if the internal resistance of the diode has suddenly increased.
    High effiiency LEDS can corral generated photons, till they find some assymmetry, and escape from the Total Internal Reflection Optical trap, and while they are searching for that escape angle, they crisscross the detecting junction, and many are recaptured to create the oppoing current.

  52. Leif asks:
    A good [and partly unanswered] question is where the very first magnetic fields in the Universe came from [if you say they were generated from currents, then the question becomes where the currents came from],
    Random motion always generates noise currents. Boltzman.

  53. Leif Svalgaard (14:14:49) :
    Nogw (14:08:19) :
    “Very, very little magnetism come from Iron”
    Thanks.

    Realizing this is the first step to clear the ‘iron sun’ [and similar] stuff off your mind.

    Ok… So magnatism has nothing to do with a ion sun?

  54. George E. Smith (14:39:14) :
    Well do I detect a rash of attempts to invoke Ferromagnetism as a viable process on the sun

    Well, I don´t know that, but without any constraints to guessing, we could guess that, if the solar system is seen in a long time lapse, what we would see is several coils (planets-provided these have a charge) around and a core, something like a Ruhmkorff induction coil and perhaps something like a induction kiln.
    I would like to tell that when John F. Hultquist (21:16:11) made the question:
    I have a picture held to the fridge with something called a magnet. Explain that
    For me that I have prepared many times synthetic magnetite, the answer became clear at that very moment and it is why I described above.

  55. “”” Nogw (16:51:20) :
    George E. Smith (14:39:14) :
    Well do I detect a rash of attempts to invoke Ferromagnetism as a viable process on the sun
    Well, I don´t know that, but without any constraints to guessing, we could guess that, if the solar system is seen in a long time lapse, what we would see is several coils (planets-provided these have a charge) around and a core, something like a Ruhmkorff induction coil and perhaps something like a induction kiln.
    I would like to tell that when John F. Hultquist (21:16:11) made the question:
    I have a picture held to the fridge with something called a magnet. Explain that
    For me that I have prepared many times synthetic magnetite, the answer became clear at that very moment and it is why I described above. “””
    So you just decided to ignore Leif’s very well known admonition that above the Curie Temperature, ferromagnetism in iron totally disappears; it is somewhat akin to superconductivity, in that it only exists below a temperature limit, which is a small fraction of even the cooler regions of the sun. other than that ferromagnetism in no way resembles superconductivity. Interestingly enough superconductivity also can only exist in low magnetic fields, and is suppressed at higher fields; providing one of the practial limits to superconductivity, in that its use to create super magnetic fields, results in destruction of the superconductivity that make that possible.

  56. George E. Smith (14:39:14) : I have not a clue as to what produces magnetic fields on the sun; but i owuldn’t be looking for iron as a source; whcih is not to say the sun doesn’t have iron; but as Leif has pointed out; at way above the Curie Temperature; where Iron ferromagnetism dies.
    I seem to recall reading of an experiment not that long ago, with a diamond press, and couple o electrodes. And they determined that hydrogen turns super conductive and basically aligns as a metal under extreme pressures, would it be possible that the extreme turbulance resulting from the fusion taking place would cause currents to be generated from the interaction of the friction/movement of the hydrogen? (I have really no idea, im gonna have to start hitting up my physicist brother on some o this stuff.)

  57. The whole ting is not so hard to visualize. Thermal energy is released by bangs which occur by the reconnection of magnetic lines. We are Ok at this point. The problem emerges when we try to explain those “bangs” when crossed magnetic lines [imaginary boundaries] reconnect. The subsequent unleash of energy is also comprehensible. Thermal energy in particles and kinetic energy in particles (fermionic plasma).
    What the cause of those “bangs” is? The question is elementary, my dear Watson. The magnetic energy during the reconnecting magnetic lines is not high enough as to produce bangs of energy so we cannot say that new energy is created from the nothingness; remember that energy is not created and it cannot be destroyed… Exactly, my friend! This is a vivid example of quantum tunneling happening in the corona!
    Scientists (I included) must consider the Higgs’ field for giving an answer to this new paradox.
    🙂

  58. In the case of the iron filings, each filing is has its own field and so is repelling filings on either side. It looks like lines. This is not an argument that the magnetic field is not a continuum. Nor does it demonstrate that there are such things as magnetic field lines. I am not saying that this was your argument; I am simply pointing out that each filing becomes a bar magnet.
    How about this angle. Are there many instances in which oppositely directed magnetic fields meet, and do not explosively “reconnect”? For example, in the “separatrix” beween two parallel conducting wires? How does that affect the theory?
    If magnetic field lines are no more real than latitude and longitude lines on a globe, then the point is this: NASA needs to have a plan to send back a lot of hard data that can be broadly interpreted from many perspectives, including from the perspective that magnetic reconnection is not occuring.
    This is costing us all a lot of money, so as taxpayers, we would expect as many sensors and instruments as possible to be jammed on these hockey pucks bound for space. We should not be simply told that a non-detection of magnetic reconnection is actually a success, and that they will do better next time.

  59. As my comment about a simple magnet holding onto a metal door is only tangentially related to the post I have just been reading the comments and not responding. I am interested in all the comments, however.
    Thanks, John

  60. What do we have in the magnetotail at the location of the energy release in question?
    We have a magnetic field generated remotely from the field, the dipole magnetic field of the Earth, presumably generated in the Earth’s core by molten iron in motion (molton iron is a form of plasma, its electrons are free to flow over the mass of iron atoms).
    We have the magnetic field generated remotely from the Sun (a weaker magnetic field than the Earth’s at the location the Sun’s magnetic field impinges the Earth’s magnetosphere.)
    We have the magnetic fields generated from the charged particles, plasma, in the solar wind in the plane of the solar current sheet.
    We have the magnetic fields from the charged particles from the solar wind as the charged particles impinge the Earth’s magnetosphere and slip around the magnetosphere into magnetotail.
    Do the remote magnetic fields influence the charged particles within the Earth’s magnetosphere?
    Yes.
    Do the proximate magnetic fields generated by the charged particles moving within the Earth’s magnetosphere influence the magnet fields generated remotely, but also present within the magnetosphere?
    Yes.
    what do are these magnetic fields act on within the Earth’s magnetotail?
    The plasma, the charged particles, electrons and ions.
    Ultimately without the plasma, the charged particles, there would be no expression of energy release, as the energy is released as heat, radiation, and kinetic energy generated by themovement of the charged particles.
    This leads to a very complex electromagnetic environment in the Earth’s magnetotail.
    Dr. Svaalgard’s appeal to what came first at the beginning of the Universe, electric current or magnetic fields gives up the game.
    Electric currents and magnetic fields are reciprical forces.
    Yes, chemical batteries demonstrate the electromotive force.
    The ions and electrons exchange between the two dissimilarl metal plates based on electromotive force.
    No magnetic field is present which initiates the battery chemical reaction, electromotive attaction initiates the chemical battery reaction (ordered movement of charged particles which generates an electric field and a magnetic field).
    Which came first?
    The electromotive force which caused the chemical – electric reaction or the magnetic field.
    So cause and effect are hard to discern, but here’s a clue: The fundamental force this refers to is called electromagnetism.
    There is no magnetic without the electro

  61. Some people need to make a “reconnection” with common sense and a much more elemental and simple reality.

  62. There are 10^57 protons in the Sun. The fraction of nuclei with energies above 1 MeV to start a nuclear reaction, from the classical view, is ~1.6 x 10^-434; so there is not a single proton in the Sun which could enter into nuclear fusion reaction without the influence of an external operator. It could be electricity or quantum tunneling. To work like an external operator, the electricity must to have been produced by a body located externally with respect to the solar system, the solely and feasible existent option is quantum tunneling.
    Now that we are immersed in quantum mechanics waters, let’s take into consideration the next facts taken from the real nature:
    Bipolar magnetic fields disappear at energies above 10^16 GeV (energy necessary for turning on a 100 W light bulb during four hours); consequently, there are not magnetic monopoles in the Sun, yet, but bipolar magnetic fields. Magnetism in iron bars apparently disappears at T = 1041.15 K. I said ”apparently” because as a matter of fact the magnetic field and the magnetic property of the material doesn’t vanish in the emptiness, but it is conserved as paramagnetism which is fostered by stronger external magnetic fields.
    For the electromagnetic field disappears in the Sun, we must concentrate E = 10^16 GeV in a single particle in every particle constituting the mass of the Sun. Nevertheless, a single particle in the Sun actually can contain only ~1 keV and the temperature at the interior of the Sun is ~1.6 x 10^7 K. So the solar electromagnetic field is present over there.
    Whether you like it or not, from a QM viewpoint, the magnetic field of the Sun requires the existence of electric fields, i.e. macroscopic electric currents. The origin of those macroscopic electric currents is the dynamo effect of the inner materials of the Sun and the nuclear activity. Find the subjacent cause of sunspots and you’ll find the answer to the origin of the electric currents in the Sun which are generating the Sun’s magnetic field. 😉

  63. Nasif Nahle (09:43:14) :
    The fraction of nuclei with energies above 1 MeV to start a nuclear reaction, from the classical view, is ~1.6 x 10^-434; so there is not a single proton in the Sun which could enter into nuclear fusion reaction without quantum tunneling.
    While true, this is completely irrelevant to anything even remotely associated with the topic. Gamow realized that tunnelling was needed in the Sun’s core, because the typical thermal energy in the core is a factor of 1000 smaller than the Coulomb barrier.Therefore two protons will stop at a distance of a factor 1000 larger than the touching distance, so no thermonuclear reactions can occur classically. The exponential tail in the Maxwellian distribution is exp(−1000) = 10^−434 [which is where your number comes from – might be interesting to see which PS-site you have cut-and-pasted it from – please provide link].
    Magnetism in iron bars apparently disappears at T = 1041.15 K. I said ”apparently” because as a matter of fact the magnetic field and the magnetic property of the material doesn’t vanish in the emptiness, but it is conserved as paramagnetism which is fostered by stronger external magnetic fields.
    There are no stronger external magnetic fields and the ‘iron’ is a complete straw man. The phenomenon of paramagnetism is not evidence of an ‘iron sun’.
    Again, you are out on the uttermost fringe of the worst pseudo-science dressed up with words and concept you apparently do not understand. A shame.
    REPLY: Leif, I’ve asked Nasif to agree to disagree and to just step back from this argument. I’d ask you to do the same and to not engage in it any more. The labeling coming from both sides serves no value to further any understanding here. – Anthony Watts]

  64. “”” Zeke (19:14:15) :
    In the case of the iron filings, each filing is has its own field and so is repelling filings on either side. It looks like lines. This is not an argument that the magnetic field is not a continuum. Nor does it demonstrate that there are such things as magnetic field lines. I am not saying that this was your argument; I am simply pointing out that each filing becomes a bar magnet.
    How about this angle. Are there many instances in which oppositely directed magnetic fields meet, and do not explosively “reconnect”? For example, in the “separatrix” beween two parallel conducting wires? How does that affect the theory? “””
    Well the problem is that magnetic field lines (or electric field lines) have no real existence; they are simply a product of a mathematical representation of the Vector forces that act on magnetically susceptible materials. The action of the iron filings in the high school experiment, is as was suggested, that each filing acts as a miniature bar that can physically align itself to the lowest local energy state in the force field that surrounds the “magnet” or charged body, in the case of electric fields. It is important to remember that the field lines are a purely fictional creation of our imagination; just as isobars, and isotherms, are fictional representations of weather data.
    But what is important to remember about magnetic and electric fields, is that these are vector quantities, which have, a point of action, magnitude, direction, and sense of direction; like all vector quantities. The second important point is that electric and magnetic fields are single valued functions. Since fields from multiple sources simply add vectorially, all four attributes of the resultant vector are single valued; they cannot have two different values at any point in the field, at the same time.
    It’s an elementary deduction from that simple fact, that field lines cannot cross; since that must imply two different directions for the vector at a single point. And we know that is physically impossible, since points themselves exist nowhere in the real universe (nor do ANY of the other trappings of mathematics) it is all fictional stuff that we made up out of whole cloth to describe (often exactly) the behavior of our models of reality, which also are a complete fiction.
    The real universe is far to complex and chaotic for us to ever explain; and the best we can do is concoct fictitious models that appear (with our current state of knowledge) to emulate what we observe the real universe to be doing. In that sense, our models, and the theories that describe the rules for manipulation of those models (mathematics); are merely tools that help us visualize why our real observations are what they seem to be.
    That is why we can have valid multiple models of the same phenomenon; such as the dual wave/particle descriptions of electromagnetism. In Maxwell’s representation of “electromagnetic fields”, the magnetic “lines of force”, and the electric “lines of force” are always everywhere perpendicular to each other, and also perpendicular to the direction of energy flow; which would be the ray direction in classical ray optics, or the photon direction in the particle model. Something tells me that direction is the “Poynting Vector”; but I’m 50 years rusty on this stuff so I would have to defer to Phil or Leif on that.
    So that cartoon above is truly a cartoon; since those apparently intersecting field lines cannot exist. the crossing point is a singularity where the vector has two different directions; which is silly.
    And none of that says anything about whether “reconnection” is real or not; I have to plead complete ignorance on that one.
    George

  65. “Since fields from multiple sources simply add vectorially, all four attributes of the resultant vector are single valued; they cannot have two different values at any point in the field, at the same time.” ~George Smith
    “Ultimately without the plasma, the charged particles, there would be no expression of energy release, as the energy is released as heat, radiation, and kinetic energy generated by themovement of the charged particles.” ~James F Evans
    It seems to me both of these statements argue against magnetic fields having the power stored within them to release any explosive ejections. Not at any one or two particular points, that is. And you have to have lines and points to have magnetic reconnection.
    We can let our children play with magnets still, right?

  66. [snip – Nasif, no more of this sort of labeling and name calling. If you want to argue the science fine. But I’m not going to allow such labeling here. Your commentary is becoming a significant workload, I suggest that you just agree to disagree and step back. – Anthony Watts]

  67. I was not the first who throw attacks. Leif is saying on each one of my posts it is pseudoscience and that I copied and pasted from a source. If Leif is sure it is pseudoscience, he must to demonstrate what he said.
    Thank you!
    REPLY: I agree with Leif, there’s no “iron sun” and it is pseudoscience. Quit while you are ahead. I don’t want any further discussion of this topic. Take it offline if you want to argue it with him. All further posts on it go straight to the bit bucket. Pick a new topic. – Anthony

  68. “”” Zeke (12:48:10) : “””
    Zeke, I believe I did say, that I have no knowledge of reconnections or what they even are.
    As to lines and points; perhaps a reading of the definitions in some rigorous mathematical text would explain that.
    A point (in mathematics) has no dimensions, simply a position. No such thing exists in the real world; and it is simplest to invoke Heisenberg’s Principle of “Unbestimheit” (mit ein umlaut) or uncertainty as we translate in English. Anything occupying a point of zero dimension, would necessarily be spread over an infinitely wide spectrum in momentum, since Heisenberg says dx X dPx > h/2pi.
    And if it is spread over an infinitely wide momentum spectrum, it would have zero detectable signal at any wavelength you tried to observe the point.
    Likewise:- x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = r^2 is the equation of a sphere. Nowhere in that equation is there any provision for 8km high mountains on the surface of a sphere the size of the earth; ergo, the earth is not a sphere; nor is anything else in the universe.

  69. Zeke (12:48:10) :
    “Ultimately without the plasma, the charged particles, there would be no expression of energy release”
    We can let our children play with magnets still, right?

    Yes, turning a toy magnet in air [a non-conductor] changes the magnetic topology and neutral points all the time around the magnet, but no explosive reconnections take place. What makes all the difference is that moving the magnet in a plasma creates currents and those blow up. So the energy release is mediated by strong currents created by the moving magnet [or moving plasma].

  70. Geo. E Smith
    I know! I don’t like the language any more than you do! But there it is,
    “Magnetic lines of force cross, cancel, reconnect and—Bang! Magnetic energy is unleashed [at some location?] in the form of heat and charged-particle kinetic energy.”
    &
    “But how? How does the simple act of crisscrossing magnetic field lines trigger such a ferocious explosion?”
    Although, isn’t that an argument for the Big Bang? If the Universe is
    expanding, it may be worked back to a point, or location, where the explosion occured. So we are occasionally asked to believe in points.

  71. “What makes all the difference is that moving the magnet in a plasma creates currents and those blow up. So the energy release is mediated by strong currents created by the moving magnet [or moving plasma].” ~Dr Svalgaard
    You make a better case than the popular presentations of this phenomenon.
    Plasma seems to be the wild card here. It is known to have other properties than just carrying the current.
    It arranges itself in many configurations, including Double Layers. Hannes Alfven apparently thought that these exploded quite often in space. It is another possibility if the magnetic field lines don’t work out.

  72. Talking about portals (doors/gates):
    The french mathematician Rene Guenon, in his, “Symbols of the sacred science”
    speaks of two portals: The “Asura loka”: the devils´portal and the “Deva Loka”: the “saints´portal”, which one do you choose to pass through when dying.?
    However, it is not a matter of choosing, but having enough energy to pass through one of the other…one goes down to the moon, the other goes up to the sun, it depends if you follow entropy of negentropy…

  73. References to my post on electromagnetism:
    Guth, Alan H., Lightman, Alan P. The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins. Perseus Books Group, 1997, New York, New York.
    Randall, L., Soljacic, M., and Guth, Alan H. (MIT). Supernatural Inflation: Inflation from Supersymmetry with No (Very) Small Parameters. 1996, Nuclear Physics B472, 377-408.
    Zee, A. Einstein’s Universe: Gravity at Work and Play. McMillan Publishing Company Inc., 1998, New York, New York.
    Wilson, Jerry D. College Physics-2nd Edition; Prentice Hall Inc. 1994.
    Maoz, Dan. Astrophysics. 2007. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=qCRWBqxrGJkC&pg=PR9&lpg=PR9&dq=Massive+neutrinos+in+physics+and+astrophysics+By+Rabindranath+Mohapatra,+Palash+B.+Pal&source=bl&ots=drAkWtH_bN&sig=ig6w70_pjJCvSPP4DVT1QjKy9ig&hl=en&ei=rvWaSoTgNIfysQPZuvGSDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=&f=false
    http://books.google.com/books?id=v_6PbAfapSAC&dq=frank+h.+shu+the+physical+universe&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=oopjnWeeeJ&sig=HnG9zK2A4H6Ovr8b14LHM5FBQPM&hl=en&ei=v2ugSpXkNZH2sQP9w8GNDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

  74. Nogw (16:25:10) :
    Talking about portals (doors/gates):
    The french mathematician Rene Guenon, in his, “Symbols of the sacred science”
    speaks of two portals: The “Asura loka”: the devils´portal and the “Deva Loka”: the “saints´portal”, which one do you choose to pass through when dying.?
    However, it is not a matter of choosing, but having enough energy to pass through one of the other…one goes down to the moon, the other goes up to the sun, it depends if you follow entropy of negentropy…

    What about SG-1? 🙂

  75. Magnetic monopoles detected in a real magnet for the first time
    http://www.physorg.com/news171209923.html
    “Magnetic monopoles are hypothetical particles proposed by physicists that carry a single magnetic pole, either a magnetic North pole or South pole.[…] There are several theories that predict the existence of monopoles. Among others, in 1931 the physicist Paul Dirac was led by his calculations to the conclusion that magnetic monopoles can exist at the end of tubes – called Dirac strings – that carry magnetic field. Until now they have remained undetected.”
    REPLY: Now THAT is something I thought I’d never see. – Anthony

  76. Dear Anthony and moderators
    Why are you victimizing Dr Nahle?
    It is plain that it is Svalgaard who is palming the readers off here with pseudoscience and then accusing those who challenge him of his own crime.
    I’m still waiting for Svalgaard to respond to a previous post on the Scafetta thread where I went some way to show that he is almost completely ignorant of thermodynamics and quantum theory, including a list of just some of the many errors of his that can be found on just that one thread.
    Franky, it beggars belief that you allow Svalgaard’s ad hominen laced gibberish through while censoring comments which challenge him with perfectly well supported and reasoned arguments.

  77. tom:
    I know that Anthony will allow quite a lot of “shots” through at Dr. Svalgaard if there is a modicum of support for the characterization.
    How do I know that?
    Because I delivered the “shots”.
    Dr. Svalgaard is a big boy.
    Challenge his basic assumptions and you’re likely to get a rather stern putdown (whether he is right about his basic assumptions is another matter entirely).
    Take for example his dogmatic assumptions about magnetic fields and what comes first, electric currents or magnetic fields?
    Maxwell’s equations are reciprical — no hiarchy of cause and effect is expostulated — yet, Dr. Svalgaard chooses to see magnetic fields as causing electric current, as do most astrophysicists.
    This position allows them to mostly ignore electric currents in space or claim they “don’t do anything”.
    Yet, when the “battery” example is given, where no initiating magnetic field is present or required to initiate an electric current, all you get is a putdown in return:
    Leif Svalgaard (23:12:25) :
    “Nogw (16:36:48) :
    Do you remember Alexander Volta?
    Preciously few frog legs in space….”
    The battery, chemical/electric reaction is something he knows blows his argument out of the water and actually suggests that indeed electric currents are the cause and magnetic fields are the effect which agrees more with quantum mechanics (but not entirely) .
    But will he do the scientific thing and acknowledge the “battery reaction” as a contradicting piece of evidence.
    No, you get a snarky putdown.
    So, I suggest, Dr. Svalgaard is his own worst enemy, who reveals his biases in how he responds and his lack of acknowledgment of basic physics.
    Let Dr. Svalgaard continue his dogmatic showcase — it diminishes his credibility.

  78. Post script:
    In the battery chemical electric reaction two dissimilar metal plates are placed in an acid solution, which causes free ions and free electrons to be released into the solution.
    It is the electromotive force that causes the electrons and ions to move within the solution between the two plates generating an electric current.
    The electromotive force is 39 orders of magnitude stronger than gravity.
    Most astrophysicists hold that gravity is the dominant and organizing force in the Universe.
    However, Nature, it has been shown time after time, employs the most efficient means to drive its processes, thus, as the electromotive force is by far the strongest force in the Universe at a distance, it follows that Nature employs this force to drive it’s large scale processes and structures.
    Why astrophysicists have a hard time seeing this is an artifact of the historical development of astronomy, an inertia of opinion that still constricts their field of vision.

  79. This is an extract from another discussion forum, where subject was considered ( lsvalgaard vs. vukcevic):
    Einstein in his theoretical analysis of Brownian motion on the atomic and molecular level has shown, the kinetic theory implies that particle of different size will move differently; differentiation in velocity between heavy positive particles (protons and He ions) and super-light negative charged electron. If these differences exist even on micro scale, than the Maxwell’s equations (conservation of electric charge) imply that gradient of charge density at any point in space is directly related to the current density and vice versa. Electric current is nothing more than a spatial and temporal displacement of charge. So if there is temporal change in charge balance within a volume, than the current flowing into or out of a specified volume has to be equal the time-derivative of charge inside this volume ( div I = dq/dt ).
    Conclusion: No initial magnetic field required, however appearance of the electric current will generate magnetic field.

  80. James F. Evans (08:47:08) :
    Fabron (09:41:31) :
    No initial magnetic field required, however appearance of the electric current will generate magnetic field.
    You [and many others] have this wrong. The discussion is not whether currents generate magnetic fields, of course they do.
    In non-conductors [e.g. our air] you need a battery to make a current which in turn creates a magnetic field. A battery is a device where there is an imbalance of charges between two sides of the battery. Unlike charges will move towards each other [a current] and after a while there is no imbalance any more, the battery is flat.
    In a dilute, electrically neutral plasma such an imbalance cannot exist for long because the electromagnetic force is so strong: the charges will immediately discharge [the battery goes flat]. To maintain a current you need to continuously separate the charges [against their mutual extremely strong attraction]. A magnetic field is a good separating device: it deflects positive charges one way and negative charges the other way. In cosmical plasmas there is always a magnetic field. These are everywhere we have looked. The magnetic field separates the charges and you have a nice battery [that never goes flat as long as there are charges around] that drives the currents we see causing explosive reconnection events. Movements of the plasma can transport the magnetic field and enhance the separation effects by creating suitable magnetic configurations, e.g. pressing oppositely directed field lines together.
    So, in the highly conducting cosmical plasmas that are always permeated by magnetic fields, those fields create the electric currents whose effect we see at times. This is very simple and has nothing to do with Maxwell, Einstein, Quantum Mechanics, or anything exotic.

  81. I have studied magnetohydrodynamics, plasma physics, and astrophysics in my graduate education, which regrettably was too long ago for me to raise a banner and charge into the fray.
    Nevertheless, I can side with those who point out the fundamental unreality of magnetic field “lines.” Such lines are only an intellectual construct; the reality is the continuous magnetic field, which is a vector field. A useful metaphor would be the elevation contour lines on a topographic map. The underlying reality is the terrain. There are no “connecting” or “crossing” contours. There may be inflection or “saddle” regions in the field where “lines” can appear to cross, but the understanding that they are really mirror images is the truth. Finally, it is true that an earthquake can rearrange the elevation contour lines of a given terrain. But it is untrue that the contour lines can rearrange the terrain to cause an earthquake.
    Behavior of magnetic fields in a plasma is alien to most of our life experience, because the fields are immersed in a medium that interacts with both magnetic and electric fields. This does not justify magical explanations, however.
    A very interesting alternative view of the energy transport mechanisms of the Sun has been advanced by Laszlo Kortvelyessy (http://www.the-electric-universe.info/welcome.html).

  82. Michael J. Dunn (11:59:08) :
    There may be inflection or “saddle” regions in the field where “lines” can appear to cross
    One should not take the simple field line pictures as literal truth. They are mental constructs that help organize the topology of the field. At the ‘crossing’ point very strong currents are induced by the changing magnetic field and those currents have a magnetic field too that helps change the topology. There is no magic. On the other hand, most astrophysicists take an operational view on field lines, in the sense that they are what are traced out by a small charged test particle. We can for example in interplanetary space see electrons spiraling around a ‘field line’ all the way back to the Sun and use the electrons to ‘label’ a field line. Many problems arise when people begin to take the mental constructs we make and find useful too literally, e.g. a nucleus with its attendant electron orbitals is often depicted as miniature solar system. This is but a crude picture, but is at times useful [and at others not].

  83. Brownian motion begat plasma (?)( lsvalgaard vs. vukcevic):
    Ordinary particles without charge in Brownian motion move in random directions, charge particles do not, there is such thing as critical distance regulated by forces of attraction and repulsion. Collisions of charged particles in plasmas are quite different from normal neutral particle collisions. Neutral particles move independently along straight-line trajectories between distinct collision events, which are typically strong, inelastic events that cause the neutral particle to be scattered in approximately random direction. In contrast, a charged particle moving through a plasma simultaneously experiences (and is deflected by) the weak Coulomb electric field forces around all the nearby charged particles as it passes by each of them. Since the electric fields around the individual charged particles are quite weak and Coulomb collisions are elastic (energy-conserving), they individually lead to typically only very small deflections in the direction of motion Thus, the trajectory of a charged particle is influenced by many simultaneous, small angle deflections in its direction of motion.
    Further more, as mentioned above, in one of his first major theoretical works Einstein has shown in 1905 that Brownian motion on the atomic and molecular scale is a function of the particles’ size. From the above arise important consequence as far as plasma is concerned. The localised magnetic field arising from initial micro-currents (on an atomic scale), will exert certain amount of a feedback on the original particles’ Brownian motion, bringing more orderly flow to the electrical charges, in turn producing even stronger currents and magnetic fields, until eventually plasma is turned into orderly, collisionless multi layered flow. The magnetic field so created, may appear to be a frozen field carried by plasma, but in reality is a result of number of factors brought into steady orderly state by electro & magnetic feedback. Further more, it may be assumed that under such condition an outward orderly expansion of plasma gas is imperative as it is propelled by electric charge – magnetic field interaction.
    Gravity force may impede on this self propulsion, but as gravitation weakens plasma flow will accelerate. This is one of the properties of the solar wind. The energy required for whole process comes from thermal energy of the particles.

  84. Michael J. Dunn (11:59:08) :
    Finally, it is true that an earthquake can rearrange the elevation contour lines of a given terrain. But it is untrue that the contour lines can rearrange the terrain to cause an earthquake.
    Your analogy is false, because a magnetic field has energy [contour lines do not] which can be larger than the energy density of the medium in which case the magnetic field controls the movements of the medium.

  85. Leif Svalgaard (11:08:46) :
    “In a dilute, electrically neutral plasma such an imbalance cannot exist for long because the electromagnetic force is so strong: the charges will immediately discharge [the battery goes flat]. To maintain a current you need to continuously separate the charges [against their mutual extremely strong attraction].”
    This , above, discussion completely ignores the physically observed & measured double layers in space plasma (and in the laboratory) that accelerate electrons and ions in opposite directions (plasma has a self-organizing ability — that’s why Langmuir named it plasma) thus generating charge seperation. Plasma infused with electric currents generates the magnetic fields which are ubiquitous in space (yes, magnetic fields induce charged particle motion and influence direction of movement, but as a secondary effect).
    But astrophysicists continue with this dogma about magnetic fields being the primogenitor to electric currents in space because many if not most of their postulates about the Universe ignore electric current and electric fields in space.
    Should this fallacious dogma (like so-called “magnetic reconnection”) get exposed as error, then a large chunk of astronomy would be exposed as gibberish.
    (And their control over funding would be severly weakened, opening new avenues of investigation, observation & measurement, by others with counter-ideas, that would potentially expose astronomy’s numerous fallacies even more, and, thus, loosen their grip on power and money even more — always follow the money.)

  86. Michael J. Dunn (11:59:08) :
    I have studied magnetohydrodynamics, plasma physics, and astrophysics in my graduate education, which regrettably was too long ago for me to raise a banner and charge into the fray.
    Nevertheless, I can side with those who point out the fundamental unreality of magnetic field “lines.” Such lines are only an intellectual construct; the reality is the continuous magnetic field, which is a vector field. A useful metaphor would be the elevation contour lines on a topographic map. The underlying reality is the terrain. There are no “connecting” or “crossing” contours.

    Yes, I agree. They are unreal limits of a system (the magnetic field in this case) created in the researcher’s mind for facilitating their study. It is the same with Higgs’ fields; our Universe is permeated by the continuum we recognize like Higgs’ fields. Nevertheless, we have parceled it into small quadrants which in any particular case would serve as boundaries of the studied system, mind-constructed, however.
    Yes, I agree. They are unreal limits of a system (the magnetic field in this case) created in the researcher’s mind for facilitating their study. It is the same with Higgs’ fields; our Universe is permeated by the continuum we recognize like Higgs’ fields. Nevertheless, we have parceled it into small quadrants which in any particular case would serve as boundaries of the studied system, mind-constructed, however.
    The “bangs”, which occur where the magnetic field is fluctuating, take place thanks to quantum tunneling. QT is evident given that the magnetic field transverses just in those places where the magnetic field density is reestablished.

  87. Fabron (12:42:02) : Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar ‘s “time of relaxation” among stars is analog with brownonian movements in a gel.

  88. “”” Zeke (15:52:20) :
    Geo. E Smith
    I know! I don’t like the language any more than you do! But there it is,
    “Magnetic lines of force cross, cancel, reconnect and—Bang! Magnetic energy is unleashed [at some location?] in the form of heat and charged-particle kinetic energy.”
    &
    “But how? How does the simple act of crisscrossing magnetic field lines trigger such a ferocious explosion?”
    Although, isn’t that an argument for the Big Bang? If the Universe is
    expanding, it may be worked back to a point, or location, where the explosion occured. So we are occasionally asked to believe in points. “””
    Well Zeke, I am afraid that you are missing the fundamental idea. Points, lines (straight), circles, spheres, ellipses, etc, are all constructs of a completely fictitious mental invention of human beings. They are defined by the properties they exhibit in the completely fictional mental exercise that we call mathematics. And we have many varieties of mathematics which we use as tools as needed to explain the behavior of equally fictional “models” of our view of the universe; they do not explain the universe itself. Some of our mathematics seems intuitive; some of it is far from intuitive.
    Everybody is familiar with Euclidean geometry that seems to describe our ordinary three dimensional space that is around us; but other geometries create ideas that are totally foreign to our everyday experience.
    For example, in Euclidean geometry, we all know that a circle (x^2 + y^2 = r^2) is a borderline case of an ellipse; nand we can put cirles anywhere and describe numerous properties of them; such as Euclid’s nine-point circle theorem for example.
    But in “projective geometry”; which is based on different axioms from Euclidean geometry, a circle is not an ellipse at all, it is a special case of a hyperbola. Therefore all circles are infinite sized in projective geometry; and every possible circle intersects every other possible circle; and moreover they all do so at exactly the same two unique points which are called the “Circular Points at Infinity”.
    Nothing in our experience behaves like that; and nothing in nature exhibits those bizarre properties; but that isn’t a problem, because nothing in nature is idential to anything in Euclidean geometry either. These are merely tools which we engineered to our liking, and endowed them with defined properties, so that we can use them to explain exactly how our equally fictitious models of reality work. We try to construct our models and their accompanying mathematics to enable us to manipulate the models and determine their behavior. Hopefully, we can get our models to behave similarly to the way we think we observe the real universe to behave.
    When the comparison fails; we revise the rules of the models, and thereby change the behavior of the models in order to more closely emulate real life observations. That is what theoretical science is all about; the real universe is far too complex to explain in any readily intelligible way; but we can make models that emulate the universe, which we can explain.
    So a point can exist in our mathematics; but none can be found in the real universe; and a magnetic field “line of force” can only have a single direction at any point on that line of force (in our model of magnetism), and hence intersection is disallowed, since it requires two different directions for the force acting at that pint of crossing.
    It’s not a question of language; it is that the language has very specific meanings in science; and that often is distinct from the lay usage of the exact same word in a non scientific application.

  89. Those funny “reconnections” are not other than LIGHTNINGS or cross-circuits which we have seen to occur not only in storms but in atomic explosions,before and after earthquakes, etc., and their intensity depends on power (electromotive force).

  90. It is fine to use lines to visualize things. But how can a magnetic field “line” (a representation for a direction and current) open? Then it wouldn’t be a magnetic field anything anymore. Magnetic field “lines” always flow back into the magnet and around. So you either have an open snapped line, OR a magnetic field, but you can’t say it’s both. And if it doesn’t open, then it can’t reconnect.
    That is how I see it.
    And it may be that astrophysicists are not as familiar with what engineers know as they should be. Perhaps on this issue of reconnection, the fragmentation and extreme specialization of the sciences is more glaring than usual:
    Abstract—A majority of baryons in the cosmos are in the plasma
    state. However, fundamental disagreements about the properties
    and behavior of electromagnetic fields in these plasmas exist
    between the science of modern astronomy/astrophysics and the
    experimentally verified laws of electrical engineering and plasma
    physics. Many helioastronomers claim that magnetic fields can
    be open ended. Astrophysicists have claimed that galactic magnetic
    fields begin and end on molecular clouds. Most electrical
    engineers, physicists, and pioneers in the electromagnetic field
    theory disagree, i.e., magnetic fields have no beginning or end.
    Many astrophysicists still claim that magnetic fields are “frozen
    into” electric plasma. The “magnetic merging” (reconnection)
    mechanism is also falsified by both theoretical and experimental
    investigations.
    Index Terms—Magnetic fields, Maxwell equations, merging,
    plasmas.
    Dr. Don Scott
    http://members.cox.net/dascott3/IEEE-TransPlasmaSci-Scott-Aug2007.pdf
    A very readable and amply illustrated paper published by the IEEE

  91. By way of explanation, the reason why a layperson like me might be so interested in the subject of magnetic reconnection is that it turns out to be a process of major importance in astrophysics. It is invoked to explain many phenomenon–and though I might bring to the discussion many knowledge gaps, I still find it fascinating and well worth an attempt to get to the heart of the issue.
    A humble, partial list of the effects of magnetic reconnection:
    1. it creates trillions of watts of power which is directed back toward the Earth’s upper atmosphere
    2. in solar flares,
    it can heat gas to temps of 20 million K
    is the source of intense x-ray and gamma ray radiation
    it can accelerate particles to almost the speed of light
    3.”Magnetic reconnection is intrinsically involved in the dynamo”
    4.”Many theories of coronal heating propose that coronal plasma is heated by a superposition of small localized reconnection events”–again, it is explaining why the temp of the corona is millions of degrees hotter than the “surface” or photosphere of the sun.
    My thought is that other explanations might exist for these incredibly energetic observed effects. The power and the speed seems to be lacking in magnetic fields lines “crisscrossing” in plasma.
    [I have quoted from P.K. Browning’s “Magnetic Reconnection and Dynamos in Laboratory Plasmas”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=dTlHvBUoHzcC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false ] pg 73
    Also interesting is Attila Grandpierre’s Abstract, just following, on pg 83.

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