Study – Solar winds magnetically driven

From a University College, London Press Release – Solar winds triggered by magnetic fields

Solar wind generated by the sun is probably driven by a process involving powerful magnetic fields, according to a new study led by UCL researchers based on the latest observations from the Hinode satellite.

Solar winds (courtesy Hinode)

Image: Solar winds (courtesy of Hinode)

 

Scientists have long speculated on the source of solar winds. The Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS), on board the Japanese-UK-US Hinode satellite, is now generating unprecedented observations enabling scientists to provide a new perspective on the 50-year old question of how solar wind is driven. The collaborative study, published in this month’s issue of Astrophysical Journal, suggests that a process called slipping reconnection may drive these winds.

Deb Baker, lead author from UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, says: “Solar wind is an outflow of million-degree gas and magnetic field that engulfs the Earth and other planets. It fills the entire solar system and links with the magnetic fields of the Earth and other planets. Changes in the Sun’s million-mile-per-hour wind can induce disturbances within near-Earth space and our upper atmosphere and yet we still don’t know what drives these outflows.”

“However, our latest study suggests that it is the release of energy stored in solar magnetic fields which provides the additional driver for the solar wind. This magnetic energy release is most efficient in the brightest regions of activity on the Sun’s surface, called active regions or sunspot groups, which are strong concentrations of magnetic field. We believe that this fundamental process happens everywhere on the Sun on virtually all scales.”

Images taken in February 2007 from the EIS instrument showed that hot plasma outflows are due to a process called slipping reconnection. At the edges of active regions where this process can occur, a slow, continuous restructuring of the magnetic field leads to the release of energy and acceleration of particles in the Sun’s hot outer atmosphere, known as the corona. Slipping reconnection is the first theory to explain how observed outflows from the Sun can be located over areas of a single magnetic sign, something previously considered improbable.

Computer models of the Sun’s magnetic field were used to identify regions where slipping reconnection could occur. The locations proposed by the computer model were compared with measurements of the speed of the gas coming from the solar corona. The comparison showed the gas was moving outward at up to 100,000 mph, 1,000 times the wind speed in a hurricane, over the possible slipping reconnection regions.

The study was carried out by the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Observatoire de Paris, Konkoly Observatory in Hungary and Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio in Argentina. Deborah Baker is funded by a Science and Technology Funding Council (STFC) studentship.

Hinode is a Japanese mission developed and launched by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISIS) and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) as domestic partner and NASA and STFC (UK) as international partners. It is operated by these agencies in co-operation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Norwegian Space Centre (NSC).

Data that served as the basis for the magnetic modelling was provided by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

See the Research paper in The Astrophysical Journal

133 thoughts on “Study – Solar winds magnetically driven

  1. an outflow of million-degree gas and magnetic field… OK
    the Sun’s million-mile-per-hour wind… ?

  2. Everything that happens on our little planet depends on the energy that comes from that big yellow sphere that shows up in the sky every morning. We should try to understand as much as possible about it.

  3. the_Butcher (17:40:39) :
    This is all old news…
    I’m sure Leif has something to say.

    Indeed. The study reaffirms the generally accepted idea that magnetic reconnection is responsible for releasing the energy stored in the magnetic field [we are now down to discussing the details of that universal process]. As a result of magnetic reconnection, strong electric currents are generated. Dissipation of these currents [think light bulb or electric stove] heats the corona and drives the wind. One can even put a number on the process: one Weber of magnetic flux provides 600 kW of power to drive the solar wind, e.g. http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1538-4357/686/1/L33
    It is interesting that this might explain the observed ‘floor’ in the heliospheric magnetic field. If there is a solar wind at all, it must flow with a speed greater than ~250 km/sec [otherwise it could not escape the Sun’s gravity]. So, since there is a minimum speed, there must also be a minimum flux necessary to provide at least that speed.

  4. fred (19:05:12) :
    I don’t know plasma. Is reconnection like (or similar to) a pinch?
    No, when two plasma regions with oppositely directed magnetic fields are brought or pressed together by movements of the plasma, the magnetic field at the boundary between the two polarities can change a lot. A changing magnetic field generates an electric current [used in almost all power stations and in an old-fashioned bicycle lamp dynamo]. A current passed through a medium heats the material. Hot stuff expands, and, voila, you have an expanding solar atmosphere that we call the ‘solar wind’. Even if the two regions do not have oppositely directed fields, but just fields of different strengths, you can still induce currents [this is the ‘slipping’ reconnection mentioned in the article].

  5. Carbone (19:31:31) :
    Are solar flares just an extreme version of this reconnection?
    Yes, and solar flares come in all sizes. The smallest one are not extreme at all, probably can’t even be seen above the background noise. Here is more on weak flares: http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/wiki/index.php/RHESSI_microflares_-_Flare_Cartoons_and_Reality
    and here we ask” ‘where are the flares?’
    http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/wiki/index.php/Where_are_the_flares

  6. Leif Svalgaard (19:18:43) : “… and in an old-fashioned bicycle lamp dynamo…
    Now you’re talking my language and my time, Leif!
    Using this as a starting point I may even be able to catch up and understand a little of what at present I can only read here on WUWT with wonder, awe and amazement…

  7. David Alan (20:10:27) :
    Would the Suns velocity traveling around the galaxy have any effect on ’solar wind’ ?
    Not as such. The Sun is embedded in the ‘local cloud’ of interstellar medium and sees only that, even though the cloud [and the Sun] may be in orbit around the Galactic center. When you are bicycling and have a headwind, you don’t really feel that the Earth is rotating, orbiting the Sun, orbiting the Galaxy, expanding space, etc. The speed relative to the local cloud is 30 km/sec, but the solar wind blows at 400 km/sec, so in the inner solar system, the solar wind basically excludes the interstellar medium. At the outer boundary of the heliosphere there will be some deformation due the the ‘collision’ between the two media. This process is largely unknown, although Voyagers and IBEX have given us glimpses.

  8. Solar wind is caused by electromagnetic forces, and so is visible light. How closely related (if at all) are the solar wind and light?

  9. Does the material out of which the Sun formed having an iron content from previous stellar fusion (of 1st gen stars) have anything to do with it’s field? i.e. – if the Sun was formed solely from Hydrogen and Helium of the young universe, would it still have a magnetic field?

  10. @ rbateman
    ‘When a star has fused all of its hydrogen into helium, it begins fusing the helium into lithium, and so on up the periodic table. If a star is massive enough, it will produce elements all the way up to iron.’
    source: http://www.ssg.sr.unh.edu/ism/history.html
    Not sure if that answers your question.

  11. Bob Shapiro (22:10:41) :
    Solar wind is caused by electromagnetic forces, and so is visible light. How closely related (if at all) are the solar wind and light?
    No, the solar wind is formed because the solar corona is HOT. And has nothing to do with electromagnetism or visible light. No more than your chicken fried steak is formed by electromagnetic forces.
    rbateman (22:15:52) :
    Does the material out of which the Sun formed having an iron content from previous stellar fusion (of 1st gen stars) have anything to do with it’s field? i.e. – if the Sun was formed solely from Hydrogen and Helium of the young universe, would it still have a magnetic field?
    The ‘metals’ [even though only 1% of the sun] are important by supplying easy-to-pry-loose electrons and so are important for the internal structure of the Sun that depends on the opacity supplied by electrons. A first generation star would probably still have a magnetic field, and activity cycles, but this is still a research area and the opinions are a bit divided how large these fields would be. Something called the Biermann battery effect [google it] could help generate the magnetic field as a seed for the dynamo process. Once you got a magnetic field, from then on it is very hard to get rid off, and dynamo processes will keep regenerating and amplifying the field.

  12. Bob Shapiro (22:10:41) :
    Solar wind is caused by electromagnetic forces, and so is visible light. How closely related (if at all) are the solar wind and light?
    No, the solar wind is formed because the solar corona is HOT. And has nothing to do with electromagnetism or visible light. No more than your chicken fried steak is formed by electromagnetic forces.

  13. Leif: Thanks for an explanation much clearer and relevant than the press release. Why can’t press releases be written in a language that the layman can understand, since it is laymen (and laywomen to be PC) and media numpties who read press releases? The explanation of “slipping reconnection” in the press release as “the release of energy stored in solar magnetic fields” barely scratches the surface.

  14. David Alan (22:41:20) :
    I am aware of the fusion process to iron, after which it takes (super)nova implosion to go any further up the periodic table. Your answer will no doubt help some readers who are not aware of how our Solar System (and Sun) got heavier elements into it.
    Leif Svalgaard (23:09:20) :
    It’s not often we bump into the frontieres of theory.
    I like your explanation with the metal-supplied electrons.
    I’ll check out the Biermann process.

  15. There are still some unresolved questions relating to ‘magnetic reconnection’.
    “This magnetic energy release is most efficient in the brightest regions of activity on the Sun’s surface, called active regions or sunspot groups, which are strong concentrations of magnetic field. We believe that this fundamental process happens everywhere on the Sun on virtually all scales.”
    There is a contradiction here. If it is ‘reconnection’ current that heats up the solar corona than highest temperature should be in vicinity of such reconnection. However fact is that further we get away from
    ‘the Sun’s surface, called active regions or sunspot groups, which are strong concentrations of magnetic field.’
    higher temperature it gets.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Sun_Atmosphere_Temperature_and_Density_SkyLab.jpg

  16. I’m not a physicist, just curious… this made me think of magnetic mirrors and magnetic bottles (magnetic scissors)… The wiggling and vibrating of field lines would easily accelerate particles away from the sun.

  17. We are talking about a plasma (the solar wind), that has magnetic and electric properties… doesn’t that mean that we have the equivalent of an electric circuit flowing out of the sun/solar system ? And if all these other stars are doing the same thing, doesnt that mean that we have a enormous amount of electric and magnetic energy flowing out from all the stars ? Where is it all going ?
    I realise that as the solar wind expands from each star, it discipates and weakens to almost nothing – but multiply that “almost nothing” by 100billion stars, and you must still have enormous amounts of energy out there between the stars.
    All of these currents WANT to go somewhere? Where ?
    The solar system is a bit like a toy plasma ball. If you imagine the sun to be the centre of the plasma ball, and the solar wind is the pretty plasma arcs. The plasma arcs terminate on the glass of the plasma ball, and then go to ground/earth in the circuitry at the base of the plasma ball.
    Where does all the electric/magnetic engergy from the stars go ?
    It has to go somewhere ?
    I`m not trying to imply plasma/electric universe stuff here – just asking the question ??

  18. Leif – ‘the solar wind has nothing to do with electromagnetic forces’ –
    I thought magnetic fields were implicated in the spatial distribution of the wind and also in the acceleration of protons and electrons even as the distance from the sun increased – wasn’t this the basis of the controversy with Hannes Alfven? Isn’t the solar wind one great electric current? How does it then interact with the ionospheric current sheet and the huge voltage difference between the top and bottom of the atmosphere – and does this have any implications for climate?
    I ask this because I was struck by Svensmark’s experiments – when he cleared the gas chambers (looking for ionisation and nucleation) he used a voltage shock. When we get flares, is there a voltage shock? Could this affect charged particles and transparency of the atmosphere in relation to aerosols?

  19. *******
    Leif Svalgaard (23:09:20) :
    rbateman (22:15:52) :
    Does the material out of which the Sun formed having an iron content from previous stellar fusion (of 1st gen stars) have anything to do with it’s field? i.e. – if the Sun was formed solely from Hydrogen and Helium of the young universe, would it still have a magnetic field?
    The ‘metals’ [even though only 1% of the sun] are important by supplying easy-to-pry-loose electrons and so are important for the internal structure of the Sun that depends on the opacity supplied by electrons. A first generation star would probably still have a magnetic field, and activity cycles, but this is still a research area and the opinions are a bit divided how large these fields would be.

    *******
    Leif, OT, but I’m intrigued by the thought of how a ~8+ solar-mass first generation star would evolve. Since there would be almost no opacity (and therefore little radiational heating) in the material around the fusing core, would the star “skip” all the usual stages of similar-mass, metal-rich stars, and very quickly go supernova or black-hole?

  20. vukcevic (02:19:00) :
    There is a contradiction here. If it is ‘reconnection’ current that heats up the solar corona than highest temperature should be in vicinity of such reconnection.
    And every solar physicist is so stupid that she/he missed that and only the brilliant amateur saw this…
    The reconnection that heats the corona happens in the corona, high above the strong magnetic fields of sunspots.
    GGM (05:46:10) :
    doesn’t that mean that we have the equivalent of an electric circuit flowing out of the sun/solar system ?
    No, there are no electric currents flowing out with the solar wind. The solar wind plasma cannot sustain an electric field and there is none in the rest frame of the plasma.
    All of these currents WANT to go somewhere? Where ?
    since there aren’t any, the question does not arise.
    Peter Taylor (05:50:44) :
    I thought magnetic fields were implicated in the spatial distribution of the wind
    No, the magnetic field is important [via reconnection] in heating the corona. A hot corona expands all by itself.
    Isn’t the solar wind one great electric current?
    No. There is weak current sheet separating opposite magnetic polarities. This current is created by particles drifting along the boundary, but has otherwise no significance.
    How does it then interact with the ionospheric current sheet
    The magnetic field in the solar wind reconnects with that of the Earth and [as always] reconnection generates electric currents locally [thus this current does not come all the way from the Sun]
    and the huge voltage difference between the top and bottom of the atmosphere
    That difference is created and maintained by thunderstorms from below.
    and does this have any implications for climate?
    and therefore goes the other way: climate controls the difference.
    When we get flares, is there a voltage shock?
    The sun gets the shock, that is what creates the flare.
    beng (07:53:29) :
    would the star “skip” all the usual stages of similar-mass, metal-rich stars, and very quickly go supernova
    Yes, some of the very first stars were probably very large [100+ solar masses] and quickly exploded. This is an active area of research and our knowledge is scant.

  21. Leif:
    One of the effects of nuclear explosions is EMP, with the sun in constant explosion mode is the work done by the sun’s EMP internal or external (in the corona)? Is this magnetically driven solar wind we’re talking about a result of the sun’s EMP process?

  22. Leif Svalgaard (08:23:23) :
    “And every solar physicist is so stupid that she/he missed that and only the brilliant amateur saw this…
    The reconnection that heats the corona happens in the corona, high above the strong magnetic fields of sunspots.”
    Dr. Svalgaard, with due respect that is not an explanation.
    The article states: “This magnetic energy release is most efficient in the brightest regions of activity on the Sun’s surface” not somewhere high above as you imply.
    Most of energy should be released at point of ‘reconnection’, not high above it. Further away you get from the point of reconnection, current’s energy falls off (due to heat released in the lover layers) so less heating should occur high above.
    I am sure you will be able to come up with a better explanation.
    Here is temperature graph:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Sun_Atmosphere_Temperature_and_Density_SkyLab.jpg

  23. ….when moving charged particles from the Sun are called a “wind” instead of an electric current. Charged particles impinging on a planet or a moon are referred to as a “rain” instead of an electrical discharge. Ionized particles moving within a helical magnetic field are called “jets of hot gas” instead of field-aligned flows of electricity. When abrupt changes in the density and speed of charged particles are observed, those changes are called a “shock wave” instead of a double layer. Birkeland continues to fret from beyond the pale. Stephen Smith
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/00current.htm

  24. So-called “magnetic reconnection” is a misnomer.
    It is plasma motion, i.e., charged particles that generate the magnetic field.
    The intensity of the magnetic field is determined by the velocity of the charged particles and the ‘charge density’.
    Magnetic fields aren’t “dragged” anywhere.
    They emanate from the charged particles as they are moving.
    It’s a simple ‘but for’ test.
    But for the movement of the charged particles, there would be no magnetic field.
    If you want to understand the Sun or anything else that exhibits a magnetic field, you need to observe & measure the underlying motion of the charged particles, electric current.
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” is a failed idea that is carried along by it political inertia in astrophysical circles.
    A physical explanation to have any validity must encompass and describe all physical forces and particles of matter involved and a name should convey those forces and particles, i.e. electric field, electric current, magnetic field, and electrons & ions.
    The appropriate name and one that does convey the forces and particles of matter involved is ‘plasma electric double layer’.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    From the Wikipedia entry for plasma double layers:
    “A double layer is a structure in a plasma and consists of two parallel layers with opposite electrical charge. The sheets of charge cause a strong electric field and a correspondingly sharp change in voltage (electrical potential) across the double layer. Ions and electrons which enter the double layer are accelerated, decelerated, or reflected by the electric field. In general, double layers (which may be curved rather than flat) separate regions of plasma with quite different characteristics.”
    Note the supporting footnotes for the Wikipedia entry.
    Magnetic merging theories obscure the synergistic role all of the above forces and particle elements play in this physical process.
    It’s not magic “magnetic reconnection”, but physics that has been studied in detail, both in the labortatory and now in space.

  25. Pascvaks (08:52:19) :
    Is this magnetically driven solar wind we’re talking about a result of the sun’s EMP process?
    No, the solar wind is not electromagnetic in nature. It is just a hot gas that happens to have an embedded weak magnetic field in it.

  26. Adolfo Giurfa (09:17:41) :
    Birkeland continues to fret from beyond the pale. Stephen Smith
    where Smith goes wrong is in his own words:
    “charged particles in motion constitute an electric current”.
    This is, of course, completely false, as everybody actually knows.
    Birkeland’s ideas about the solar wind ‘plasma’ were also completely false. Here is what he actually said in 1916:
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/Birkeland-1916.pdf

  27. James F. Evans (09:27:21) :
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” is a misnomer.
    It is plasma motion, i.e., charged particles that generate the magnetic field.

    go back and re-read the discussion at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/17/discoveries-from-the-ibex-satellite-show-we-still-dont-know-quite-a-few-things-about-the-heliosphere-and-solar-system/#comments
    In a plasma there is no electric field in the rest frame of the plasma. The electric currents that are the causes of ALL effects we see are purely local resulting from plasma moving relative to a magnetic field, especially if two regions of opposite polarities are pressed together [reconnection].

  28. James F. Evans (09:27:21) :
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” is a misnomer.
    It is plasma motion, i.e., charged particles that generate the magnetic field.

    For a good review of modern physics on this, in the laboratory and in space, see: http://www.leif.org/EOS/Yamada-Reconnection-2007.pdf
    Read and try to understand the review [it is clearly written so shouldn’t be too difficult] and let us for good close the book on the Electric Thunderbolts. You are just diluting the information flow on the blog with your refusal to learn.

  29. Adolfo Giurfa (09:17:41) :
    Thank you, that page provided a lot of “aha!” insights in a short space. It all fits.
    James F. Evans (09:27:21) :
    Thank you, that amplified the above.
    So… we normally think of electricity as needing a wire, but in fact, it seems that an electric current is perfectly well defined simply as a movement of electrons… or other charged particles… in any medium including space… and this is what is happening with the solar wind. Next inference: the magnetic field is a by-product of the moving charged particles.
    However, I’m partial to Zero Point Field expositions – which might precede both the electric and the magnetic aspects of solar wind formation…

  30. All these “new discoveries” and “surprises” were made decades ago.
    The reason you never hear of them is because the gravity based
    model of the universe is completely wrong and mainstream science
    could never admit to it directly.
    We live in an Electric Universe.
    -one that is ruled by the physics of plasma, electromagnetics
    and resonance.
    One of the “inconvenient truths” they always conveniently leave out is the word “electro” whenever it turns out “magnetism” was the cause for
    some solar or space phenomena.
    Of course the solar winds are electromagnetically driven, -they are a
    form of plasma (electricaly charged gas-ie: the “the hot gas”)
    It has recently even been proven the sun and earth are directly linked
    via an electrical conduit.
    Even the Electric Sun model has been recently verified.
    You will soon learn what has always been forbidden to tell:
    -that we live in an “Electric Universe”
    Over the next 3 years you will hear about more and more
    new discoveries in electromagnetics,
    Much of the “unexplained” phenomina will ultimately be
    found to be caused by electromagnetics. (or just the politically correct, Magnetics) -this will include gravity.
    -More reports of how EMF radiation is harmful to the body will appear… (this is because our bodies are not only electromagnetic “antennas”, but also are completely controlled by electromagnetic resonance. (we can be made sick or healthy by simply being exposed to the correct, pulsed electromagnetic field)
    The sun is rapidly changing its resonant field and energy output
    in part, due to the new higher frequency cosmic energy
    that the solar system is being exposed to as we flow through
    the electromagnetic plasma fields this in this region of space,
    They will no longer be able to ignore the obvious.
    Discover how the universe really works (no fantasy theoretical
    math theories required)
    You can start at the home of the Electric Universe
    Model here:
    “The Explosion that Shattered Solar Theory”
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch05/051201protonstorm.htm
    Wal Thornhill, David Scott and Donald E. Scott, and the entire
    EU community provide daily, simple pictorial examples of what
    mystifies mainstream science
    Search on Electric Universe, Electric Sun and Plasma cosmology

  31. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “No, the solar wind is not electromagnetic in nature. It is just a hot gas that happens to have an embedded weak magnetic field in it.”
    This description leaves out salient facts:
    It is not “just hot gas”, rather, it is charged particles, free electrons & ions, plasma.
    Plasma and neutral “hot” gas behave differently.
    Plasma in motion emanates a magnetic field, and where free electrons & ions are in proximity there will be coulomb attraction between electrons & ions.
    Neutral “hot” gas in motion does not cause a magnetic field. Nor would there be any components of electric fields, the coulomb attraction between free electrons & ions, because all the the atoms would be neutral neither having electric or magnetic properties.
    A solar wind composed soley of neutral atoms would behave quite differently, if it could even function at all.
    The aggregation of the coulomb attraction between free electrons & ions is the electric field.
    Both electric properties and magnetic properties are present in the solar wind.
    When such as are both present it is appropriate to term the solar wind an electromagnetic process, since both forces are present in the solar wind principally focussed in the helio current sheet.
    The term “embedded” is a misnomer, it is misleading.
    Plasma in motion emanates a magnetic field.
    “embedded”
    “emanate”
    Two distinct and opposite meanings.
    Such is the importance of proper diction to convey proper explanation.

  32. Lucy Skywalker (11:12:15) :
    Adolfo Giurfa (11:27:19) :
    soundwash (12:08:36) :
    James F. Evans (12:09:39) :
    It seems that the woodwork is yielding a bountiful gaggle. As I said, no wonder our politicians can exploit the public when its scientific literacy is this low.

  33. Dr. Svalgard:
    Instead of offering a vapid cheap shot with zero content, why don’t you challenge specifics, say in my comment.
    Otherwise, it seems your comment is insipid hot air.

  34. Leif, I’m shocked at the tone of your reply. I was careful in my summary of what I personally had understood.
    I said, So… we normally think of electricity as needing a wire, but in fact, it seems that an electric current is perfectly well defined simply as a movement of electrons… or other charged particles… in any medium including space… and this is what is happening with the solar wind. Next inference: the magnetic field is a by-product of the moving charged particles.
    I think your cavalier dismissal of that, without further explanation, is unwarranted, and does not help the science progress. What is wrong with my statement? I am interested, and am here to speak and listen, but I expect listening in return. Frequently I appreciate your appreciation of detail facts. I had thought that Nigel Calder was criticizing you too freely, but now I am not sure. Please can we keep to factual discussion rather than empty dismissals.

  35. Leif Svalgaard (08:23:23) :
    “And every solar physicist is so stupid that she/he missed that and only the brilliant amateur saw this…The reconnection that heats the corona happens in the corona, high above the strong magnetic fields of sunspots.”
    Coronal heating problem is still a puzzle to many solar scientists. There are two hypothesis:
    – magnetic reconnection
    – Wave heating theory
    Neither answers all the questions.
    It appears that Dr. Svalgaard favors magnetic reconnection, but the ‘science is not settled’ on this one.

  36. Lucy Skywalker (14:23:42) :
    I think your cavalier dismissal of that, without further explanation, is unwarranted, and does not help the science progress.
    We have wasted scores of posts and thousands of words [many being direct attacks on my person] in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/17/discoveries-from-the-ibex-satellite-show-we-still-dont-know-quite-a-few-things-about-the-heliosphere-and-solar-system/
    This is no empty dismissal.
    And the misconceptions of the others mentioned are not science, but are in fact hurtful for the understanding of the science involved. I’m sorry that you got caught up in their net. You might begin by consulting the link I supplied and ask questions about that http://www.leif.org/EOS/Yamada-Reconnection-2007.pdf
    It serves no purpose to discuss the misconceptions [again] and, to be frank, the nonsense, espoused by the Electric Universe cult. The ‘best science blog’ is not served by their pseudo-science. I have always tried to listen and to answer, but always within sound science and solid physics. When I speculate, I mark it as such.

  37. vukcevic (14:57:34) :
    It appears that Dr. Svalgaard favors magnetic reconnection, but the ‘science is not settled’ on this one.
    It appears that the authors of the study that is the topic of this thread favor magnetic reconnection. One reason is that the wave theory has always had problems of different kinds. Science is never ‘settled’. At any point in time there is one or a few ideas that we accept because they seem to work with the data we have at the moment.

  38. To paraphrase Homer:
    Mmm, plasma: The cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.
    More of it in the universe than any other state of matter, and we know next to doodly-squat about it, next to what we know about the fundamental forces, that is…

  39. An earlier post here on WUWT that shows how divided some individuals are over the MU vs EU dialogue:
    http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/01/new-mission-to-study-crossed-magnetic-streams-and-magnetic-portals/
    Magnetic ‘slipping’ reconnection was being discussed and debated in comments to that post as well.
    There seems to be debate between either a MU or a EU.
    Some time ago, I had heard about E.U. and thought it was kind of faddy. You step over to NASA and the message there is mixed. No links nessasary. You get my point.
    In my opinion, there seems to be more and more science backing a M.U. than the faddy E.U.
    Probably the one piece of evidence that sort of puts the nail in the EU coffin for me is how magnetic and electric fields react to black holes. Gases, plasma, etc. get drawn in by swirling magnetic fields that intensify and amplify the closer they get to the black hole. Probably due to slipping reconnection, the magnetic fields. flux , lines, whatever, continue to flow galactic material toward their fate. So while light (electric current) can’t avoid a black hole, magnetism continues to ‘slip’ and reconnect into infinity.
    My point is, if light can’t escape a black hole and magnetism can somehow do some kind of wicked dance above the no-return threshold, how can everthing be connected, electrically. And since magnetism is isotropic and hemogenous, why can’t we accept the M.U. Because its not the new fad?
    I never was much into fads. Well, there was that time in the 70’s and bell bottom jeans, but let’s no go there. 🙂

  40. With regard to the IBEX thread mentioned above, and the discovery of the ribbon of ENAs across the heliosphere, it is a point of great interest that Electric Universe theorist Wal Thornhill has made four very specific predictions based on the EU model.
    from “Electric Sun Verified”
    holoscience.com
    first prediction:
    “Given the detail in this model we should expect, as more data comes in, that researchers may find in the ENA “ribbon,” bright spots, filamentary structures, and movement of the bright spots consistent with rotation of Birkeland current filament pairs and their possible coalescence.”

  41. second prediction:
    ‘Researchers are keen to see how changes in the solar wind affect the ENA observations as the sun moves toward the maximum of its 11-year cycle. Such observations are very important. The solar cycle is controlled by its local galactic Z-pinch, so any variation in ENA’s may provide some clues about the origin of the quasi-cyclic variability in the circuit supplying DC electrical power to the Sun or “solar cycle.” The “brightness” of the ENA’s should vary, probably out of phase with the solar cycle.’

  42. Lucy Skywalker (16:42:43) :
    ok, thanks Leif, I shall study both.
    That is good. This is all I ask. And if you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  43. fourth prediction:
    “The EU model is based on a hierarchy of repeated patterns of plasma behavior, from the size of a galaxy down to a few centimeters in the laboratory. Therefore it is subject to experimental confirmation, unlike most astrophysical theory today. So discoveries from space like this one should trigger experiments in plasma laboratories around the world instead of theorists wasting resources by conjuring up ever more complex and unlikely models based on invalid concepts of space plasma. IBEX’s recent results that have taken researchers by surprise have given yet more strength to the EU model, a model that confidently predicts that the shape of the Sun’s galactic plasma environment is the hourglass, Z-pinch shape of planetary nebulae and supernovae, aligned with the local interstellar magnetic field.”

  44. Zeke (17:47:46) :
    The solar cycle is controlled by its local galactic Z-pinch
    This is the kind of nonsense that eventually will give WUWT a bad name and reputation.

  45. Zeke (18:27:15) :
    The empirical method of testing a hypothesis and making predictions is not, however, nonsense.
    Yes, if the prediction is not unique to the hypothesis being tested, or is too vague to be tested. Example from ‘prediction 1’ “bright spots, filamentary structures”. Since the solar wind already has these in abundance, they are useless as predictions. Example from ‘prediction 2’ “The “brightness” of the ENA’s should vary, probably out of phase with the solar cycle.’”. ‘probably’ does not belong in a prediction, because if the prediction fails, you can always claim that it was only a probability.

  46. Is not solar wind constituted of free electrons & ions, charged particles?
    Do not the free electrons & ions constitute plasma?
    As opposed to neutral atoms?
    I could go on, but the point is this: To give a description of the solar wind and calling it “just hot gas” is factually wrong.
    Few astrophysicists would agree with the solar wind’s characterization as “just hot gas”.
    Dr. Svalgaard is counting on readers to take his “say so” at face value, but the facts say otherwise.

  47. Leif Svalgaard (18:51:21) :
    Yes, if the prediction is not unique to the hypothesis being tested, or is too vague to be tested. Example from ‘prediction 1′ “bright spots, filamentary structures”. Since the solar wind already has these in abundance, they are useless as predictions.

    This is not a vague predicition. If you read “Electric Sun Verified,” it is further elucidated and demonstrated with diagrams of labratory plasma discharge formations.
    His published paper “The Z-Pinch Morphology of Supernova 1987A and Electric Stars,” also discusses this particular plasma discharge morphology.
    What is demonstrated in the lab provides “a precise analog” for the supernove 1987A. It is “a match so accurate that the number of bright beads can be accounted for and their behavior predicted.”
    http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=4287093
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=re6qxnz1

  48. James F. Evans (19:10:42) :
    Is not solar wind constituted of free electrons & ions, charged particles? Do not the free electrons & ions constitute plasma?
    As opposed to neutral atoms?

    All matter consists of electrons and ions, charged particles. In a plasma [but also in a normal conductor, i.e. the Earth’s iron core] the electrons are free to move with respect to the ions, while in normal matter they don’t have that freedom. That is precisely why there are no electric fields in a plasma [or in a good conductor]: the mobility of the electrons immediately shorts out any separation between charges [which drives the current]. To maintain a current, you need to continuously work on separating the charges again. That is done for you at your local power plant, and also by a magnetic field moving relative to the plasma or conductor. The plasma has an equal number of electrons and ions and is thus electrically neutral. I am counting on readers to think for themselves, and most seem to be quite able to [of course, there are always the odd exception, apparently].

  49. In support of my claim, AAS published, ‘Screw Instability and the Blandford-Znajek Mechanism
    (Li-Xin Li 2000)’ and the introduction began thusly:
    “When a magnetic accretion disk surrounds a black hole, the magnetic field lines frozen in the disk drift toward the black hole as the disk plasma is slowly accreted onto the black hole. After the accreted plasma particles get into the black hole, the magnetic field lines that were frozen to the plasma are released and then thread the black hole’s horizon. So the black hole is magnetized and an approximately stationary and axisymmetric magnetic field is formed around it.”
    Black holes are the creation of galaxies and possibly the creation of our universe. Magnetic forces that surround, interact, freeze, thread, and formulate around them, proves that a Universal Magnetic Theory, being isotropic and homogenous, far outweighs anything to a theory of an EU.
    Another little theory I have is scientists need grants, and the govt’s that give them, need a reason to approve them. Much like the farmer that holds a carrot on a stick, in front of a mule, to make him trot to the market.
    All one has to do to draw upon the same conclusion is remember the birth of Global Warming.
    NASA was on the verge of losing funding and credibility, as public appeal was at an extreme low. Reagan wanted to focus more on strategic defense than space exploration. What happened. Al Gore invites James Hansen to give witness to AGW. As they say, the rest is history.
    EU theory is much the same way. Most of the public can’t see magnetism and electricty is all around us. You start introducing misleading concepts like ‘electromagnetism’ into the public discord long enough, people start to believe it. Now in defense of scientists, the ‘scientific method’ encourages you to fact find and provide evidence of the truth.
    So EU theorists’, go and find that truth, if such exists. Just do not create a division amongst yourselves, that has risen to the likes of C.C. That’s all I ask.

  50. Zeke (19:41:06) :
    This is not a vague predicition. If you read “Electric Sun Verified,” it is further elucidated and demonstrated with diagrams of labratory plasma discharge formations.
    And with a nice photographs of the most renowned of the 56-fold symmetric megaliths at Stonehenge [yes the ancients knew about Z-pinches, apparently]:
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=re6qxnz1
    Please, folks. I’m embarrassed to be here in this company. Perhaps WUWT is degrading past its ‘sell-by-date’

  51. Leif, do not despair. 2012 is just around the corner and a new enlightened age will begin. Or…we will rid ourselves of a few more questionable theories as the last worshiper finally walks back down the steps of the Mayan ruin, crestfallen that the great pumpkin failed again to re-appear. And Lucy will be waiting to once again cut to the chase and tell the starry eyed Charlie Brown all about the real world as she sits on her stool behind her psychiatry on a dime kiosk.

  52. That is a brief reference to the work of Anthony Peratt at the end of the 1987A column.
    Dr. Peratt has done extensive work comparing ancient petroglyphs to plasma discharge formations. These petroglyphs are found on every continent and bear exact resemblance to some of the most powerful electric plasma discharge forms.
    I think Dr. Peratt is entitled to make these comparisons, as he is a leading plasma physicist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His website:
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/TheUniverse.html
    PS. I am not affiliated with the EU or Thunderbolts team. Views expressed are my own.

  53. David Alan,
    “Probably the one piece of evidence that sort of puts the nail in the EU coffin for me is how magnetic and electric fields react to black holes. Gases, plasma, etc. get drawn in by swirling magnetic fields that intensify and amplify the closer they get to the black hole.”
    The unfortunate problem for you is that there is no direct evidence of black holes. There are astronomical observations that the conventional Gravity Universe types could not explain so they bent some math and hypothesis and voila, Black Holes!!!
    I go with KISS. We are much closer to experimental evidence in plasma physics on earth of conditions that can explain the astronomical observations without the Black Hole hypothesis.

  54. Pamela Gray (20:32:58) :
    Leif, do not despair. 2012 is just around the corner and a new enlightened age will begin.

    No one in EU leadership gives any credence to the 2012/Mayan calender eschatology.

  55. Leif Svalgaard,
    “And with a nice photographs of the most renowned of the 56-fold symmetric megaliths at Stonehenge [yes the ancients knew about Z-pinches, apparently]:”
    This is a strawman of high value.
    If an alien spacecraft came by and somehow extracted a stream of material from a building in front of you and you then drew a picture or made a sculpture that reasonably showed a VISUAL representation of the occurance, would that mean you UNDERSTOOD how it was done or the physics involved??

  56. Zeke (20:48:57) :
    Anthony Peratt http://plasmascience.net/tpu/TheUniverse.html
    gets a vote from me by stating categorically on his website:
    “the electric field accelerating the charged particles derives from plasma moving across the earth’s dipole magnetic field lines”
    As I said, electric currents are generated by plasma moving across magnetic field lines.
    The petroglyphs do not move me. Perhaps aliens from outer space were teaching the ancients about the Electric Universe, just like the bible teaching us about expansion of the universe and the Quraan teaches us about the Flat Earth…

  57. kuhnkat (21:02:16) :
    would that mean you UNDERSTOOD how it was done or the physics involved??
    No, but it seems that the EU leadership would want you to believe that I did.

  58. Leif Svalgaard,
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/solar_wind_speed.html
    “The Sun occasionally launches billion-ton blasts of electrified gas, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), into space at millions of miles (kilometers) per hour. If a fast CME is plowing through slow solar wind, a shock builds up in front of the CME that accelerates the electrically charged solar wind particles.”
    Electrified gas Leif??
    Accelerates the electrically charged solar wind Leif???
    “Since the solar wind is made up of electrically-charged particles, it responds to magnetic fields that permeate the solar atmosphere. Solar wind particles flow along invisible lines of magnetic force like cars on a highway. When the magnetic field lines bend straight out into space, as they do in “coronal hole” regions, the solar wind acts like cars on a drag strip, racing along at high speed. When the magnetic field lines bend sharply back to the solar surface, like the pattern of iron filings around a bar magnet, the solar wind acts like cars in city traffic and emerges relatively slowly. Scientists have known this for over thirty years and used it to give a crude estimate for the speed of the solar wind — either fast or slow.”
    Look Leif, no one (well I am not) is asking you to buy into the extreme Hypothesis of the EU/PU. We would like some simple acknowledgement of REALITY!!!!
    Maybe you could invite Dr. Joe Gurman, a solar researcher at NASA Goddard, here for a debate on these basic issues??
    Possibly with a no-comment post so us “nutters” can not just create a food fight??

  59. It will be interesting to wait and see whether Wal Thornhill’s predictions will be borne out by observation. Do you have any predictions to make concerning the ENA ribbon at the heliopause?

  60. Leif Svalgaard,
    “The petroglyphs do not move me. Perhaps aliens from outer space were teaching the ancients about the Electric Universe, just like the bible teaching us about expansion of the universe and the Quraan teaches us about the Flat Earth…”
    How many times are you going to repeat this strawman???
    Petroglyphs of what an ancient possibly OBSERVED has nothing to do with KNOWLEDGE of the physics involved. Implying that this is what is being claimed is dishonest.

  61. Leif Svalgaard,
    “As I said, electric currents are generated by plasma moving across magnetic field lines.”
    And what maintains the state of the plasma long enough for it to generate electric current??? Why doesn’t it just disperse under the influence of the magnetic field lines and its internal forces???
    Chicken or egg Leif???

  62. Leif Svalgaard,
    Your earlier Birkeland link does not work for me.
    Opening your /EOS/ directory it appears to have a problem.

  63. Zeke:
    -sadly… even in this day, -you can still lead a horse to water
    ..and watch it die of dehydration at it’s edge.
    -at least you tried.
    Today’s “science” is mathematically “faith based” and has been reduced
    to a dogmatic religion. (oddly, it is religion itself, that caused this, if
    you study the “real” history)
    E.U. is just too simple a model for a society made to believe the
    universe is some complex monstrosity that only government funded research scientists and trillions of dollars can explain.
    (In modern science, ultimately, everything boils down to this:
    -The Black Hole did it. -but i digress.)
    -as was once said, to paraphrase, “specialization has turned
    academia and the entire professionally community into a bunch of blithering ——.”
    It conveniently makes sure one body of scientists (and their work)
    has no clue what the other body is saying or doing.
    And should you step outside your “field of expertise” and comment
    outside your realm…
    -in this case, kiss your telescope, instrument time, funding and career goodbye. -Heresy.
    The other observation (with some help) i have made is that those with extrensive academic training, -the ones with walls of diplomas especially, have had their common sense surgically removed. -having only
    been taught what to think, not how. (all of my “learned” clients
    exhibit this fact)
    -perhaps they need to be made to understand not only
    that the “standard model” is flawed, if not just simply incomplete..
    but that the model of the atom needs to be “updated” as well.
    To that end, Maurice Cotterell has done some great work in
    initiating the “atom” update…
    Take a look at his updated model of the atom as he explains
    how wonderfully simple (and electromagnetic) gravity is.
    (to me at least)
    http://www.mauricecotterell.com/gravity1a.html
    The E.U. model WILL lead humanity out the 90+ some odd year
    dark age that the theoretical mathematicians have stuck us in.
    Those stuck in the [gravity] past will have almost no choice, given the myriad of electromagnetic anomalies the Earth is about to experience,
    to embrace the resonant, electric/plasma centric view of the universe.
    What powers the atom, powers life, the mind and the universe.
    They are all connected and effect each other, intimately.
    -and it seems, it’s all tied together by consciousness.
    something i never in my wildest dreams would have
    (or even ever) believed in. -(esp me being agnostic)
    -A natural jack of all trades, I spent almost every waking hour
    the last year+, studying all the “works” of science, mythology,
    symbology and spirituality, -concurrently.
    (all but science, i had previously “hated” or at least, could care
    less about)
    Therein lies the rub. -we are taught never to mix science
    with anything but “science” -fact.
    Only when you throw that rather silly notion to the wind and
    combine them all as one body of “science” will you be able to
    understand it all. –and most resoundingly, how “everything”
    works..together. -ironically, the overall simplicity is mind-boggling.
    Only one important tip to heed: Turn off your TV.
    It is the primary “inhibitor” to all knowledge.
    Only then, will not even the sky be the limit in what
    you learn is actually the “true reality” in which your live.
    -s

  64. Leif Svalgaard,
    “No, but it seems that the EU leadership would want you to believe that I did.”
    could you please provide me with a link to statements supporting your allegation??
    My limited reading led me to believe SOME EU types were claiming that ancient humans OBSERVED plasma types NOT of intelligent origin and recorded the SHAPES or their INTERPRETATIONS of them. In some cases making up myths to explain them.

  65. kuhnkat (21:38:09) :
    “As I said, electric currents are generated by plasma moving across magnetic field lines.”
    And what maintains the state of the plasma long enough for it to generate electric current?
    In interplanetary space the magnetic field is frozen into the plasma, so the plasma does not cross any field lines, hence no currents flow [the drift currents along the HCS is a special case – currents without electric field]. When the plasma meets the magnetic field of the Earth, the current is duly generated. The current flows as long as the plasma is moving with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field, and the plasma is moving all the time, because the solar wind continues to expand, years after year after year.

  66. From Wikipedia entry on solar wind:
    “The solar wind is a stream of charged particles ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun’s gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well understood.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind
    And more specific:
    Wikipedia entry for heliospheric current sheet:
    “A small electrical current flows within the sheet, about 10−10 A/m². The thickness of the current sheet is about 10,000 km.
    The underlying magnetic field is called the interplanetary magnetic field, and the resulting electric current forms part of the heliospheric current circuit.[4] The heliospheric current sheet is also sometimes called the interplanetary current sheet.”
    And continuing:
    “The electric current in the heliospheric current sheet is directed radially inward, the circuit being closed by outward currents aligned with the Sun’s magnetic field in the solar polar regions. The total current in the circuit is on the order of 3×109 amperes.[4] As a comparison with other astrophysical electric currents, the Birkeland currents that supply the Earth’s aurora are about a thousand times weaker at a million amperes. The maximum current density in the sheet is on the order of 10-10 A/m² (10-4 A/km²).”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliospheric_current_sheet
    # 4 footnote: MHD simulation of the three-dimensional structure of the heliospheric current sheet
    (We’ve discussed simulations before and you were approving in general.)
    “Abstract
    The existence of the radial component of the electric current flowing toward the Sun is revealed in numerical simulation. The total strength of the radial current is A. The only way to fulfil the electric current continuity is to close the radial electric current by means of field- aligned currents at the polar region of the Sun. Thus, the surface density of the closure current flowing along the solar surface can be estimated as 4 A/m, and the magnetic field produced by this current is T, i.e. several percent of the intrinsic magnetic field of the Sun. This seems to mean that any treatment of the solar magnetic field generation should take into account the heliospheric current circuit as well as the currents flowing inside the Sun.”
    http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=article&url=/articles/aa/full/2001/34/aah2814/aah2814.html&access=standard
    Dr. Svalgaard, your initial attempt to characterize the solar wind as “just a hot gas” is not persuasive.

  67. It took me all of an hour to discern the fundamentals of the electric universe society. It is a religion. A cult. Not a science. I thought that a debate was was being conducted based on science.
    Here, let me give you a taste of EU rethoric,” What once were clusters of galaxies and quasars sprinkled into the distance have become the interacting parts of a couple of cosmic swirls in our backyard. The Expanding Universe is cancelled. The Hubble Constant is trashed. The redshift-
    distance relationship is divorced. The Big Bang is blown away.
    And clusters of galaxies are illusions spawned by a failure of
    imagination.” I found this quote in an online newsletter called, ‘THOTH – A Catastrophics Newsletter.’ Its ran by the ‘Kronia Group’.
    What got me to investigate was a video I found on youtube called, ‘How the Sun Works’. In it Don Scott and Wal Thornhill discuss how EU works. The first thing that grabbed my attention was how Don Scott, a ‘reputable’ engineer, focused away from ever saying anything about magnetism, but tried to explain that energy from outside the solar system was responsible for heating the corona. That raised both my eyebrow and got me to start looking around. Scientists hanging out with mythologists, like David Talbot and many more like him, ridiculing scientific fact, just about blew me away. Hey if religion is your thing, have at it. But to be mislead into thinking that science was being discussed, to find out otherwise, I’m feeling a bit peeved atm.

  68. From Leif’s link:
    “SOLAR CORPUSCULAR RAYS.’
    . BIRKELAND.
    [Reprinted from Science Abstracts, Sect. A, May 25, 1916. $531.
    From the discussion of an exstensive series of auroral
    observations Stormer has decided to regard the aurora as
    due to positive corpuscles eniitted from the sun coming
    into action in the upper atmosphere of the earth. Birkeland
    considers that corpuscles are negnative and brings forward
    the evidence given by his extensive experiments
    on the discharges from a magnetized kathode in a
    special vacuum chamber. -C.P. B[utler].”
    (not included was a narrative of an aurora from Chesterbrook Va.)

  69. Pamela Gray (20:32:58) :
    Leif, do not despair. 2012 is just around the corner and a new enlightened age will begin. Or…we will rid ourselves of a few more questionable theories as the last worshiper finally walks back down the steps of the Mayan ruin, crestfallen that the great pumpkin failed again to re-appear. And Lucy will be waiting to once again cut to the chase and tell the starry eyed Charlie Brown all about the real world as she sits on her stool behind her psychiatry on a dime kiosk.

    The absence of the predicted apocalypse never stops these nutjobs from just making up new crap.

  70. Leif Svalgaard (21:14:26) :
    Zeke (21:00:34) :
    No one in EU leadership gives any credence…
    ‘Leadership” ? Sounds like organized religion to me, or ideology.

    I am taking that as a “no” to my question to you, about whether you have any predicitions concerning the ENA “ribbon” across the heliosphere.

  71. James F. Evans (22:27:26) :
    These particles are able to escape the sun’s gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well understood.”
    This is what one would call a ‘hot gas’. The ‘process’ is now understood to be magnetic reconnection.
    The underlying magnetic field is called the interplanetary magnetic field, and the resulting electric current forms part of the heliospheric current circuit.
    As I said, the current results from the magnetic field.
    “The electric current in the heliospheric current sheet is directed radially inward, the circuit being closed by outward currents aligned with the Sun’s magnetic field in the solar polar regions.
    Is not correct as the current reverses direction every eleven years, when the polar fields reverse.
    <astrophysical electric currents
    Looks like the page has been corrupted by EU.
    This seems to mean that any treatment of the solar magnetic field generation should take into account the heliospheric current circuit as well as the currents flowing inside the Sun.
    In the inner heliosphere the deformation of the magnetic field generates weak currents [all currents generated by the magnetic field – remember]. This current is not the one in the HCS.
    In fact, in an early [1979] paper by myself and colleagues http://www.leif.org/research/Sun's%20Poloidal%20and%20Toroidal%20Magnetic%20Field.pdf we actually measure this current [no simulation – real data]. We calculated it to be of the same size and percentage as the simulation you mention [but 23 years earlier]. This radial current near the Sun flows perpendicular to the HCS current which near the Sun flows around the Sun. You see, I am actually a real expert on all these things. The essential part is not that there are no currents, but that there are no electric fields. The currents are generated from the magnetic field as we have discussed so many times now.
    kuhnkat (22:43:08) :
    Birkeland considers that corpuscles are negative
    And this was his great mistake [Stoermer was equally wrong in maintaining that they were positive]. The solar wind plasma is neither positive nor negative, but electrically neutral with the same number of negative and positive corpuscles mixed together. Birkeland did not [and neither did anybody else at the time] know what a plasma was and his ideas about a current from the Sun hitting the Earth [as a current in his lab hit the terrella] were wrong.

  72. David Alan (22:28:44) :
    to be mislead into thinking that science was being discussed, to find out otherwise, I’m feeling a bit peeved atm.
    And that is the problem I have with this [and poor Lucy being misled too]. They try to trot it out as science, and as Jeff said: “it never stops these nutjobs from just making up new crap”.
    It diminishes WUWT [although there occasionally can be some comical entertainment in their wiggling]. And it really is a shame, but, hey, it is Anthony’s blog, so I guess we’ll just have to ignore the nonsense. Which one probably should have done from the start [“don’t feed the troll” – you know]. Other blogs are less forgiving [e.g. CA] as their readership often are a bit more erudite.

  73. David Alan wrote: “It took me all of an hour to discern the fundamentals of the electric universe society. It is a religion. A cult. Not a science.”
    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion.
    But what do you think of NASA?
    (Hat tip to Kuhnkat)
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/solar_wind_speed.html
    “The Sun occasionally launches billion-ton blasts of electrified gas, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), into space at millions of miles (kilometers) per hour. If a fast CME is plowing through slow solar wind, a shock [an electric double layer?] builds up in front of the CME that accelerates the electrically charged solar wind particles.”
    NASA continues:
    “Since the solar wind is made up of electrically-charged particles, it responds to magnetic fields that permeate the solar atmosphere. Solar wind particles flow along invisible lines of magnetic force like cars on a highway.”
    Compare the NASA description (link to NASA webpage and read it) of the solar wind to Dr. Svalgaard’s:
    “No, the solar wind is not electromagnetic in nature. It is just a hot gas that happens to have an embedded weak magnetic field in it.”
    (And remember NASA’s statements are the considered collective judgment of a large number of astrophysicists, not just one person.)
    So who are you down with David?
    Dr. Svalgaard or NASA?

  74. James F. Evans (23:44:40) :
    “Since the solar wind is made up of electrically-charged particles, it responds to magnetic fields that permeate the solar atmosphere.
    NASA says, as I and every other scientist in this field, that the electric currents are generated in the plasma as it moves through or into a magnetic field.

  75. Leif Svalgaard (23:30:48) :
    Zeke (22:57:27) :
    whether you have any predicitions concerning the ENA “ribbon” across the heliosphere.
    No, I have not jumped to any conclusions on this.

    Thank you. Good night.

  76. I support scientific fact James F. Evans. NASA should have been shut down the day James Hansen walked into congress. I’ve already mentioned that NASA seems to talk double-speak in regards to magnetism. They even have a section devoted to it. Called Magnetism is The Key. While I’m sure there are hard working scientists, busting their ass to be rigorous and forthright, there are some among them that must be using funding in the guise of science to further their own agenda.
    There is nothing anyone can do about it. Corruption, deceit, and malfeasance is pervasive throughout the scientific community.
    All I can do is focus on the truth, put my faith in the ‘scientific method, and hope for a modicum of rational men and women to direct my path. Men like Lief

  77. Leif Svalgaard (23:39:56) :
    It diminishes WUWT [although there occasionally can be some comical entertainment in their wiggling]. And it really is a shame, but, hey, it is Anthony’s blog, so I guess we’ll just have to ignore the nonsense.

    Actually, what diminishes the thread is the snide and snarky comments, which display nothing but a self-satisfied attitude; the conversations about plasma and electric currents in space are quite interesting on their own. Everyone can see that but the ones making the nasty remarks.

  78. Ack. My cat sent comment before I was done. No, his name isn’t Bill. Sorry, Leif. I butchered your name once again.
    Ill take getting cutoff in mid rant as a sign to cool my jets.

  79. Speaking of coronal mass ejections (CME):
    NASA has made observations & measurements of CME’s and determined the shape or morphology of CME’s:
    “April 14, 2009: This just in: The Sun is blasting the solar system with croissants.”
    Slightly tongue-n-cheek, but an accurate statement, no less.
    NASA goes on:
    “Researchers studying data from NASA’s twin STEREO probes have found that ferocious solar storms called CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are shaped like a French pastry. The elegance and simplicity of the new ‘croissant model’ is expected to dramatically improve forecasts of severe space weather.”
    Dr. Svalgaard’s “just a hot gas”???
    More NASA:
    “This is an important advance,” says Lika Guhathakurta, STEREO program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington DC. “From a distance, CMEs appear to be a complicated and varied population. What we have discovered is that they are not so varied after all. Almost all of the 40-plus CMEs we have studied so far with STEREO have a common shape–akin to a croissant.”
    “Almost all…have a common shape–akin to a croissant.”
    Why is this shape remarkable?
    Because it suggests not just shape, but structure and dynamics.
    What does a croissant look like?
    Well, a twisted pastry.
    This is consistent with a twisted set of electric current filaments, Birkeland currents, where the “electrically-charged particles” (NASA’s description not mine) take the structure of two filaments twisted around each other.
    See plasma filamentation:
    “Filamentation (or filamentary structure) is often seen in plasmas. It is created because plasma contains free electrons, making it highly electrically conductive — even more than metals, and even in tenuous cosmic plasmas. As charged particles readily move in a plasma, a ring of magnetic field forms around the current that can pinch it into filamentary current strands (ie. pinched filaments).[2]”
    http://www.plasma-universe.com/index.php/Filamentation
    For reasonable sceptics with an open-mind scroll down the link and check out the footnotes with academic books cited and also the peer-reviewed papers that are cited as well.
    And look at the schematic on the right of the linked webpage and check out the twisted electric current filaments and how the magnetic field constricts the filaments together.
    Ya, there’s not a lick of science supporting these ideas…that’s at least what Dr. Svalgaard and his mechanical model cohorts want you to believe — but the peer-reviewed documentation and NASA observations & measurements speak for themselves.
    Croissants anyone?

  80. NASA wrote: “Since the solar wind is made up of electrically-charged particles, it responds to magnetic fields that permeate the solar atmosphere.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responds: “NASA says, as I and every other scientist in this field, that the electric currents are generated in the plasma as it moves through or into a magnetic field.”
    Ah, weasel words: “…the electric currents are generated in the plasma as it moves through or into a magnetic field.”
    Since moving plasma, electrically charged particles, as we now know, emanate magnetic fields, of course, plasma in motion constantly moves through a magnetic field, and, thus, as Dr. Svalgaard now acknowledges, “electric currents are generated”.
    Which means the instant charged particles are in motion, thus, a magnetic field and electric currents are generated.
    As I’ve stated before electric currents and magnetic fields are two sides of the same coin.

  81. James F. Evans (23:38:40) :
    Because it suggests not just shape, but structure and dynamics.
    What does a croissant look like?
    Well, a twisted pastry.

    Of course, all CMEs continue to have ‘both feet on the ground’ as they move out through the inner heliosphere. They are closed magnetic structures, so are still connected to the Sun at both ends. Since a twisted magnetic field has more energy than a straight ones, twisted fields are more likely to ‘blow up’ as a CME. The wonderful STEREO data fully confirms the twisted closed loops that we have surmised for so long. And shows the power of magnetic fields to sculpture and guide structures in the solar wind. A strong support for the supremacy of magnetic fields.

  82. ok Leif I’m studying away and it’s taking me through a black hole which means it will take a little longer and I shall not be the same person the other side – not quite the same person. I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of distinguishing between plasma and electrical current – but at the same time, I don’t want to lose sight of their connectedness either – that manifests, for instance, in the aurora.

  83. Pamela Gray (20:32:58) : please Pamela don’t use that kind of snide put-down language we see at RC. It doesn’t help open exploration of the science. I think you can do better than that.
    I think I know enough to deconstruct most of CSICOP in their own terms, much as Steve McIntyre does and Monckton does re IPCC science. But here I’m just trying to keep to the thread to learn, to stay on topic, and to try to help make reasonable communication possible in a field that is evidently tending to polarize and possibly threatens to manifest yet another fundamentalism. Even fundamentalisms often contain vital grains of suppressed truths. My reasoning is, we don’t need more divisions into factions who cannot understand each others’ language and cannot practice intelligent courtesy towards each other.

  84. hey Pamela, it’s just occurred to me that you might have actually been supporting me, sorry if I’m being entirely thick. But I do smell strongly that there are truths on both sides here, if we can do less snark, stay simple and on topic, and not make “absolute” claims that are actually personal opinions, or beliefs you cannot verify except by going back to one authority group or another. Even the paper Leif refers me to is so incomprehensible (on first read) but impressive-looking, that I could, as a mere matter of belief rather than understanding, say “this is what science says”… and quote the paper.

  85. Leif Svalgaard (15:22:46) :
    Science is never ’settled’. At any point in time there is one or a few ideas that we accept because they seem to work with the data we have at the moment.

    By Geoorge I think he’s got it!

  86. Lucy Skywalker (01:34:20) :
    But I do smell strongly that there are truths on both sides here
    But for sure!, both apply in different dimensions (sizes): If too small then one works, a bit bigger then the other, and if too big again the first one.

  87. So…in the beginning there was a magnet, which started moving and Voila! electricity was born out from the void. Or…was it the other way around?
    I just can’t remember…it was so long time ago!

  88. For those more tuned to “visual” [video] learning, I found a
    one hour video put together by the main authors of
    the current E.U. model some 2 years ago.
    While this is not meant to be construed as “evidence”
    It goes a long way in explaining why some of us in this
    thread embrace E.U.
    And as i rambled on above, I found that it is the narrow vision
    or focus in which we are taught to study “science” as the cause
    as to why many will probably never see E.U. (as it seems in this
    thread) as nothing more as a religious cult, no matter how
    much “evidence” is presented.
    Ironically, many who ran into E.U. or realized it on their
    own, have viewed current mainstream science (esp our
    “western science”) as having turned into a politically driven
    religious cult many decades (if not centuries) ago.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4773590301316220374#
    —–
    Lastly, if you want to read a blog on astronomy
    produced by some quality “real” scientists that appear
    not to be encumbered in any way, by the religious
    cult that controls all of our mainstream science..
    and would like to discover intelligent discussion
    over (and using) SOHO/STEREO (and all the rest of
    the satellites/telescopes) data, that seems to be
    completely void in this country..
    I implore you to use google.es to translate this spanish
    star blog “Mysteries of astrophysics.” at:
    http://starviewer.wordpress.com/
    i found this site after trying to figure out all the crazy
    data and happenings with the sun over this past summer.
    especial around mid july (15th) and august 16th
    (I have gigs of satellite and telescope data from the past
    8 months that have driven me nuts..until this find..)
    I guarantee those with an open mind (esp the E.U. crowd)
    will be facinated by what these people have found in the
    SOHO/LASCO/STEREO data.
    If the owner this blog will permit me, i will post some
    direct translation links of past *observations* these scientists
    have made that will set your mind afire…
    -soundwash

  89. Sorry, inadvertently, the Science@NASA release of The Surprising Shape of Solar Storms — “April 14, 2009: This just in: The Sun is blasting the solar system with croissants.”, was not linked:
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/14apr_3dcme.htm
    As sharp as my disagreements with Dr. Svalgaard have been, I think it is important to recognize areas of agreement (this is part of the Scientific Method).
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Of course, all CMEs continue to have ‘both feet on the ground’ as they move out through the inner heliosphere.”
    Yes, they do have ‘footprints’ on the solar surface, the question is when and where and under what circumstances do they break off from their solar surface footprints, if ever?
    Hannes Alfven, 1970 Nobel Prize physics, and others discussed “exploding” electric double layers, aka, “magnetic reconnection”, where the electric double layer collapses, the structure breaks down and the energies constained in the structure are violently released. Alfven thought the energy contained in the whole circuit could flood the double layer region upon the collapse in a kind of grand “short circuit”, electrical discharge.
    It seems reasonable that there are some occasions where the electric double layer collapses or “explodes” releasing copious amounts of energy.
    I have to go back to Dr. Svalgaard’s statement: “Of course, all CMEs continue to have ‘both feet on the ground’ as they move out through the inner heliosphere.”
    Thus, having “both feet on the ground”, there exists a circuit of electrical current flowing up out of one “footprint” on the solar surface through the loop and back down into the other “footprint” to complete the circuit just as Hannes Alfven theorized.
    This circuit of electrical current, as it’s on it’s journey takes the shape of a Birkeland current, the filamentary and ‘twisted’ structure cited in the linked material.
    I suspect Dr. Svalgaard knows this process and that was why there was no objection to my offering of the Birkeland current analysis & interpretation.
    That Dr. Svalgaard offered this added insight, which furthers and moves forward the analysis & interpretation is encouraging and must be recognized as a positive development.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Since a twisted magnetic field has more energy than a straight ones, twisted fields are more likely to ‘blow up’ as a CME. The wonderful STEREO data fully confirms the twisted closed loops that we have surmised for so long.”
    Yes, the twisted magnetic field definitely propagates the electric current flow in a duelistic synergy of positive feedback.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “And shows the power of magnetic fields to sculpture and guide structures in the solar wind.”
    Obviously, magnetic fields do sculpture and guide structures in the solar wind, but to leave it at an undefined “structure” is failing to tell the whole story: The electric fields, the motions of the free electrons & ions, the electric current must also be included and defined in this “structure”, a completed electrical circuit, to tell the whole story.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “A strong support for the supremacy of magnetic fields.”
    No.
    It is a strong support for magnetic fields in conjuction with electric fields, the motions of free electrons & ions, and electric current, all have roles to play in this physical dynamic.
    It is meaningless to speak of one element or component as having “supremacy”, all components listed above are necessary and indispensible to the process. Absence of one component means the object doesn’t happen.
    It’s the application of the causation principle: But for the presence of all component elements the structure doesn’t function.
    It bears repeating electric currents and magnetic fields are two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other.
    Talk of supremacy of one element over the others is meaningless and has no place in the discussion.

  90. kuhnkat (21:38:09) :
    Leif Svalgaard,
    “As I said, electric currents are generated by plasma moving across magnetic field lines.”
    “Chicken or egg Leif???”
    That may be a good question. I suppose there is experimental evidence for Leif’s claims, though. Is it possible to check a moving plasma in an absence of a magnetic field?

  91. James F. Evans (10:38:37) :
    Thus, having “both feet on the ground”, there exists a circuit of electrical current flowing up out of one “footprint” on the solar surface through the loop and back down into the other “footprint” to complete the circuit just as Hannes Alfven theorized.
    No, there is no such current. There are electrons that mirror back and forth between the two end points, so going both ways, and thus no net current. The same process happens in the Earth’s radiation belts.
    Yes, the twisted magnetic field definitely propagates the electric current flow in a duelistic synergy of positive feedback.
    No, again wrong. It is the plasma movements that twist the magnetic field.
    It is meaningless to speak of one element or component as having “supremacy”, all components listed above are necessary and indispensible to the process. Absence of one component means the object doesn’t happen.
    The energy in the magnetic field is trillions of times larger than in the electric field [as I have shown repeatedly] and that settles the supremacy issue.

  92. James F. Evans (10:38:37) :
    I think it is important to recognize areas of agreement (this is part of the Scientific Method).
    I don’t think you have any idea what the Scientific Method is. You have certainly not demonstrated it here. The ‘agreements’ are totally spurious.

  93. Glenn (10:50:26) :
    “Chicken or egg Leif???”
    That may be a good question. I suppose there is experimental evidence for Leif’s claims, though. Is it possible to check a moving plasma in an absence of a magnetic field?

    Yes, one can compensate for any existing magnetic field by adding an opposite field. Why do people not do that to settle this issue? For the same reason that people do not carry out experiments any longer to see if heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones. A good introduction to modern science on plasma and magnetic fields is here: http://www.leif.org/EOS/Yamada-Reconnection-2007.pdf

  94. Glenn wrote: “Is it possible to check a moving plasma in an absence of a magnetic field?”
    No, it is not possible because moving plasma ALWAYS emanates a magnetic field.

  95. So much for detente.
    Dr. Svalgaard presents Evans statement: “Thus, having “both feet on the ground”, there exists a circuit of electrical current flowing up out of one “footprint” on the solar surface through the loop and back down into the other “footprint” to complete the circuit just as Hannes Alfven theorized.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responds: “No, there is no such current. There are electrons that mirror back and forth between the two end points, so going both ways, and thus no net current. The same process happens in the Earth’s radiation belts.”
    I appreciate the correction on the flow of current (I’ll have to check that out), but if electrons go “back and forth between the two end points, so going both ways…”, that sounds vaguely like AC current, which is still electric current, by the way, it still conveys energy, still is charged particles in motion, still emanates magnetic fields.
    And that is the problem with the idea of charged particles “embedded” in a magnetic field. It suggests the charged particles are placed in a pre-existing condition — they are not. it is the presence of the free electrons & ions in motion that emanates the magnetic fields. Nowhere, whether in the plasma physics laboratory or in space have magnetic fields been detected that have no relation to moving charged particles. Yes, the extent of the magnetic field maybe remote from the moving charged particles, but nowhere has “free standing” magnetic fields been observed & measured with no relationship to moving charged particles.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “The same process happens in the Earth’s radiation belts.”
    First, while honored by long usage (the Van Allen radiation belts), these were actually the first space plasma observed & measured in situ by satellite probe in the late 1950’s, The “Van Allen Belt” was discovered in 1958 by James Van Allen (Van Allen developed the detection equipment placed on the satellite probe).
    These belts consist of plasma per NASA:
    “The radiation belts are regions of high-energy particles, mainly protons and electrons, held captive by the magnetic influence of the Earth. They have two main sources. A small but very intense “inner belt” (some call it “The Van Allen Belt” because it was discovered in 1958 by James Van Allen of the University of Iowa) is trapped within 4000 miles or or so of the Earth’s surface. It consists mainly a high-energy protons (10-50 MeV) and is a by-product of the cosmic radiation, a thin drizzle of very fast protons and nuclei which apparently fill all our galaxy.”
    http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970228a.html
    However, It is misleading to think of these as “radiation belts”. Radiation, as most people think of it are electromagnetic waves, visible light, X-rays, and Gamma rays, and so forth, but these are really plasma belts that circle the Earth in a torus or donut shape.
    Dr. Svalgaard presents Evans’ statement: “Yes, the twisted magnetic field definitely propagates the electric current flow in a duelistic synergy of positive feedback.”
    And Dr. Svalgaard responds: “No, again wrong. It is the plasma movements that twist the magnetic field.”
    Ah, Dr. Svalgaard does acknowledge that the magnetic fields do not have “supremacy”, rather, the “plasma movements”, aka, the motion of the charged particles, the free electrons & ions, control the magnetic field. But I will quibble with Dr. Svalgaard, and even partly acknowledge Dr. Svalgaard’s earlier claims: The magnetic field in tandem with the electric field and the electrons & ions, all working together, result in the twisted magnetic field that is observed & measured in these coronal mass ejections.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “The energy in the magnetic field is trillions of times larger than in the electric field [as I have shown repeatedly] and that settles the supremacy issue.”
    Sorry Dr. Svalgaard, it doesn’t matter how many times you wrote, that doesn’t dictate physical reality. The physical reality is that if there is NO electric field, then the process doesn’t function. So, if all individual elements ARE REQUIRED then talk of supremacy is meaningless.
    So much for detente.

  96. James F. Evans (12:08:25) :
    No, it is not possible because moving plasma ALWAYS emanates a magnetic field.
    Assuming that ’emanate’ you mean ’cause’, the reply is ‘no’, because there is no current.
    that sounds vaguely like AC current, which is still electric current, by the way, it still conveys energy, still is charged particles in motion, still emanates magnetic fields.
    No to all of it.
    presence of the free electrons & ions in motion that emanates the magnetic fields.
    No.
    Sorry Dr. Svalgaard, it doesn’t matter how many times you wrote, that doesn’t dictate physical reality.
    But it is, regardless of whether you understand it or not.
    Now, for the Yamada paper…
    Let us start with the beginning:
    1:PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 14, 058102 2007
    is this a reputable journal?
    2:Center of Magnetic Self-organization in Laboratory and Astrophysical Plasmas, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-0451
    is this a reputable institution?
    3.Magnetic reconnection, a topological rearrangement of magnetic field lines, is key for self-organization processes in plasmas. 16 references
    is Yamada wrong here?
    4.During magnetic reconnection, a conversion of magnetic energy to plasma kinetic energy occurs by way of acceleration or heating of plasma particles.
    is Yamada wrong here?
    5.Magnetic reconnection is seen in the evolution of solar flares, in the dynamics of the Earth’s magnetosphere, and is considered to occur in the formation process of stars.
    is Yamada wrong here?
    6.It also occurs as the self-organization process in current-carrying fusion plasmas, and it plays a key role in major and minor disruptions of tokamak discharges and in the relaxation processes in reversed field pinch RFP plasmas.
    is this correct?
    ——
    We’ll tackle these first. Several hundred more to go…

  97. An addendum on the Van Allen radiation belts per Wikipedia entry:
    “The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles (plasma) around Earth, which is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field. This field is not uniformly distributed around the Earth. On the sunward side, it is compressed because of the solar wind, while on the other side it is elongated to around three earth radii.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Allen_radiation_belt
    Further from Wikipedia:
    “It is split into two distinct belts, with energetic electrons forming the outer belt and a combination of protons and electrons creating the inner belt. In addition, the belts contain lesser amounts of other nuclei, such as alpha particles. The Van Allen belts are closely related to the polar aurora where particles strike the upper atmosphere and fluoresce.”
    If I gave the impression that there is no radiation, i.e., electromagnetic waves, because there is radiation in the Van Allen belts, then my apologies.
    More: “Prior to the Space Age, the possibility of trapped charged particles had been investigated by Kristian Birkeland, Carl Størmer, and Nicholas Christofilos.”
    And more: “The trapped particle population of the outer belt is varied, containing electrons and various ions. Most of the ions are in the form of energetic protons, but a certain percentage are alpha particles and O+ oxygen ions, similar to those in the ionosphere but much more energetic. This mixture of ions suggests that ring current particles probably come from more than one source.”
    The Van Allen belts as, above, suggests are a “ring current”, that is, the charged partles flow in a ring.
    Wikipedia entry for ring current:
    “Earth’s ring current is responsible for shielding the lower latitudes of the Earth from magnetospheric electric fields. It therefore has a large effect on the electrodynamics of geomagnetic storms. The ring current system consists of a band, at a distance of 3 to 5 RE,[1] which lies in the equatorial plane and circulates clockwise around the Earth (when viewed from the north).”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_current
    Wikipepedia:
    “A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet’s magnetosphere. It is caused by the longitudinal drift of energetic (10–200 keV) particles.”
    So, Dr. Svalgaard compares the CME circuit to the Van Allen belts which has an “electric current”, imagnine that.
    More Wikipedia:
    “The particles of this region produce a magnetic field in opposition to the Earth’s magnetic field and so an Earthly observer would observe a decrease in the magnetic field in this area.”
    Why?
    Because the charged particles are in motion, thus, a magnetic field emanates from charged particles.
    Also, the outer belt is predominately electrons because when electric double layers, aka, “magnetic reconnection” happens in the magnetotail, the electrons are primarily accelerated toward Earth into the outer Van Allen belt and the ions are primarily accelerated out toward space — further down the magnetotail.
    Of course, all the above discussion goes to show that electric fields, magnetic fields, electric currents, and electrons & ions and their motions must be taken into account to fully describe and explain the phenomenon.

  98. Dr. Svalgaard presents Evans’ statement: “No, it is not possible because moving plasma ALWAYS emanates a magnetic field.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responds: “Assuming that ‘emanate’ you mean ’cause’, the reply is ‘no’, because there is no current.”
    “Cause”, or “emanate”, I suggest is quibbling over semantics.
    Sure, charged particles in motion cause a magnetic field. But another way to think about it, is that as the charged particles are in motion they emanate a magnetic field.
    Take your pick.
    As for Dr. Svalgaard’s assertion that “no”, charged particles in motion don’t cause magnetic fields, it’s ludicrous on its face:
    Charged particles when not in motion, at rest, don’t generate, cause, or “emanate” a magnetic field. There is no dispute about that.
    Dr. Svalgaard forgets his physics causation principle: But for the motion of the charged particles there would be no magnetic field, ergo, charged particles in motion cause magnetic fields.
    Dr. Svalgaard is flying without a net. He has no authority, save for his own tattered credibility that is being shredded by independent outside citations to authroity that directly contradicts his assertions.
    Everybody is lying except Dr. Svalgaard.
    Pathetic.

  99. James F. Evans (13:39:10) :
    “A ring current is an electric current carried by charged particles trapped in a planet’s magnetosphere. It is caused by the longitudinal drift of energetic (10–200 keV) particles.”
    So, Dr. Svalgaard compares the CME circuit to the Van Allen belts which has an “electric current”, imagine that.

    When you don’t understand what goes on, you trip up. The mirroring bounce that goes on in the Van Allan Belts and the CME is not an electrical current, because the bounce goes both ways at the same time [thus also not an AC current]. The Ring current comes about by the particles drifting [due to gradient and curvature] in longitude around the Earth. The CMEs do not drift around the Sun, so no ‘ring current’ in them.

  100. [this is mostly just a personal attack on Dr. Svalgaard, so I’m snipping it. Take it to email if you wish, but I won’t have you bash the man’s integrity here, your post have been getting “over the top”, ratchet it down please. – Anthony]

  101. Magnetic, electric fields, currents, particles, etc, can be measured. That’s what satellites and probes are for, it is supposed to be (as Lief reminds us) the subject of this thread. No need to be starting new religions about electricity healing your varicose veins. “Moving charged particles means electric current”? Not necessarily. It helps if there are more positive than negative particles, or vice versa.

  102. Leif Svalgaard (13:29:11) :
    James F. Evans (12:08:25) :
    No, it is not possible because moving plasma ALWAYS emanates a magnetic field.
    “Assuming that ‘emanate’ you mean ’cause’, the reply is ‘no’, because there is no current.”
    I understand what you are saying, that external magnetic fields cause a current in plasma, so this is a little confusing (From WIki):
    “But the existence of charged particles causes the plasma to generate and can be affected by magnetic fields.”
    So does the technology exist to directly test if a moving stream of charged particles produces no current in the absence of a magnetic field?

  103. Glenn (18:37:51) :
    So does the technology exist to directly test if a moving stream of charged particles produces no current in the absence of a magnetic field?
    Of course it does, you can buy it at radioshack. But the question is ill-posed. A moving stream of one charge does produce or rather, simply, is a current. A moving stream of equal numbers of both charges, as in a plasma, does not produce a current, or rather: every one of one of the charges moving along is a current, but since there are equally many of the opposite charges moving the same way, there will be no net current.
    To get a current you need to separate the charges from another. The usual way is to use a magnetic field, because it deflects one charge in one direction and the opposite charge in the opposite direction. This begs the question where the magnetic field comes from in the first place. Imagine a universe with no magnetic field. Consider a hot ionized gas cloud [that you can get without currents or magnetic fields – just compress it enough] held together by gravity. At the surface of the cloud the gravitational force on a proton is 1836 times as large as that on an electron, so there will be a [very weak] sorting by mass, with the lighter stuff [electrons] above the heavier protons. That creates an upwards electric field from the protons to the electrons [the Pannekoek-Rosseland field]. This field will pull the electrons down towards the protons against gravity which are trying to pull them apart. Since the electric field is 10^40 times stronger than the gravitational field, the gravitational separation will be exceedingly tiny. But no matter how tiny, it will be there and a current can flow generating a incredibly small magnetic field. Once you have that, the magnetic field can now be magnified by dynamo processes or cloud contraction to any strength you want, and once you have a magnetic field pervading the cosmos, you cannot get rid of it and forever and ever this field [continually regenerated and amplified] will be available for generation of localized strong electric currents, that are responsible for almost all violent happenings in the universe [exception: supernovae and gravitational collapse and tides]. The above process is simplified and in reality rotating clouds add complications [the Biermann battery process] to this simple scheme.

  104. Leif Svalgaard (19:37:55) :
    Glenn (18:37:51) :
    So does the technology exist to directly test if a moving stream of charged particles produces no current in the absence of a magnetic field?
    “Of course it does, you can buy it at radioshack.”
    (I’ll read the rest of your post later, first one thing at a time)
    Does this mean that you agree that a moving stream of charged particles does produce an electrical current without external magnetic field influence? Or that a direct test exists. I’m just trying to get you to say what you mean straight out.
    What can be had at radioshack that shields a moving plasma from all magnetic fields? I’m curious, sounds like a good science project, maybe I could figure out how to harness nuclear fusion or something.

  105. I love having solar physicists on this blog as much as the next man (great resource), but man that’s a big horse you are on dude. I personally find myself skipping through any blog where Leif dominates, particularly when it get’s nasty (bummer really as I’m probably missing out on some good data or discussion to learn from in between the nastiness). I really don’t understand why a scientific discussion can’t be had without insults. In my opinion, if someone has a weak argument, by all means point it out, show the facts or data, but POLITELY disagree…get off the horse, let’s be polite. Let’s not poke each other with sticks out of the gate…
    If someone is an idiot (probably me), the data or the argument will show it. Let that speak for itself.
    That’s where this country is going, pure nastiness. Two people of differing political views (or scientific for that matter) can’t even sit at the same table and have a discussion regarding differing beliefs. It used to be in this country, that people respected differing views…not belittled them. Snip if you like, but you should really tell ALL involved and instigating parties to tone it down, regardless of perceived status.

  106. Entrenched positions in science never lead to progress, instead belief systems take over and each side defends their model violently as if they were defending some sort of quasi-religious cult.
    This thread is a classic example of two entrenched positions being defended. The laws af physics are clear. a conductor moving through a magnetic field produces an electric current, conversely an electric currant moving through a conductor produces a magnetic field. Both aspects need to be considered before any physical process can be understood. A blinkered approach will always fail – as in all areas of science, the observers position is crucial to a full understanding of events.
    However, we still have much to learn about magnetism and electricity. We still have no real understanding of the mechanism of gravity, and I have a hunch that only by understanding how these three forces interact will real progress be made.

  107. Wanting to investigate how solar wind is driven, has lead me down divergent paths. While not completly on topic, I’m struggling to agree with this statement:
    “We show that a strong toroidal magnetic field stored at or below the overshoot part of the tachocline leads to a pileup of fluid at high latitude, owing to the poleward magnetic curvature stress which has to be balanced by an equatorward latitudinal hydrostatic pressure gradient.”
    Prolateness of the Solar Tachocline Inferred from Latitudinal Force Balance in a Magnetohydrodynamic Shallow-Water Model (Mausumi Dikpati et al 2001)
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/552/1/348/52682.html
    Now, I’m goin out on a limb here, but I would think that multi-decadal variances of poloidal convection, especially in reference to diverging with and running under the tachocline region, would make plasma ebb and store more greatly. I would further rationalize that magnetic flux being regenerated and the release of the fluid involved would also increase the storage above and below the convection zone, creating a bulge, so to speak.
    I say this because I would think the return of flux through the hydromagnetic dynamo would be a greater factor than the return of magnetic flux, back to the surface.
    Anyone care to share on this?

  108. Yes, I read the Yamada paper, but I don’t see where it adds to the other “magnetic reconnection” papers (if there are specific issues, please raise them).
    We still have four elements addressed:
    Electric field
    Magnetic field
    Current density
    Plasma flow velocity
    Failure to address any one of these elements leads to a failure to explain the physical reality in total.
    Here is an abstract of a paper that backs my position.
    Driving Currents for Flux Rope Coronal Mass Ejections
    “We present a method for measuring electrical currents enclosed by flux rope structures that are ejected within solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Such currents are responsible for providing the Lorentz self-force that propels CMEs. Our estimates for the driving current are based on measurements of the propelling force obtained using data from the LASCO coronagraphs aboard the SOHO satellite. We find that upper limits on the currents enclosed by CMEs are typically around $10^{10}$ Amperes. We estimate that the magnetic flux enclosed by the CMEs in the LASCO field of view is a few $\times 10^{21}$ Mx.”
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0810.4210
    So, my explanation is not hanging out there by itself.
    Dr. Svalgaard presents this statement: “the electric field accelerating the charged particles derives from plasma moving across the earth’s dipole magnetic field lines”
    And attributes it to Dr. Anthony Peratt’s website:
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/TheUniverse.html
    Problem is I can’t locate the quote.
    The closest I can find is this:
    Electric Fields
    Electric Fields—The Source of Particle Acceleration in Cosmic Plasma
    “The acceleration of a charged particle is achievable only by means of an electric field. An electric field can arise from a number of processes that include the motion of plasma across magnetic fields lines, charge separation, and time varying magnetic fields.”
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/elec_fields.html
    Perhaps it is in another location on the website, but I was unable to locate after searching.
    Dr. Anthony Peratt, per the website: “Regardless of scale, the motion of charged particles produces a self-magnetic field that can act on other collections of particles or plasmas, internally or externally.”
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/elec_currents.html
    Gosh, I sure would like to track down that quote Dr. Svalgaard provided…

  109. I found the quote presented by Dr. Svalgaard from Dr. Anthony Peratt’s website.
    “Here, the electric field accelerating the charged particles derives from plasma moving across the earth’s dipole magnetic field lines many earth radii into the magnetosphere.”
    It was in the section: Electric Currents and Transmission Lines in Space, at the subsection: Electrical Discharges in Cosmic Plasma
    http://plasmascience.net/tpu/elec_currents.html
    After carefully reviewing the above section, I stand corrected:
    The section makes this statement: “All plasma clouds may be considered a system: they are coupled by electrical currents (charged particles beams) they induce in each other. These beams are the source of energy transfer from large, slow moving plasma to smaller plasma regions that may release the energy abruptly or cause local plasmas to pinch to the condense state.”
    I take this statement to mean that the plasma flow, itself, while emanating a magnetic field, “…the motion of charged particles produces a self-magnetic field…”, does not express an electric current, rather, the contact of “plasma clouds” with differing physical properties causes electric currents, which in turn will effect the “contacting” plasma regions, “clouds” because of the generation of electric currents.
    I was in error.
    However, Dr. Peratt points out, “The acceleration of a charged particle is achievable only by means of an electric field.”, this would suggest that the electric field is the driver of so-called “magnetic reconnection.
    Magnetic fields increase the current density and presumably plasma flow velocity (which would seem to contradict the above statement).
    Dr. Anthony Peratt, per the website, “Except in very limited circumstances, all cosmical plasmas carry electric currents that constitute the sources of the magnetic field.”
    This seems contradictory.
    But perhaps, this phrase needs to be looked at: “All plasma clouds may be considered a system: they are coupled by electrical currents (charged particles beams) they induce in each other.”
    Almost all plasma regions are “coupled” with other plasma regions with differing physical properties, therefore, there will be electrical currents in the plasma regions as a result of their interaction at the point of physical contact.
    And these induced electrical currents can have wide-ranging impacts far from the source of the induced electrical currents.

  110. Tenuc (02:04:49) :
    “Entrenched positions in science never lead to progress, instead belief systems take over and each side defends their model violently as if they were defending some sort of quasi-religious cult.
    This thread is a classic example of two entrenched positions being defended. The laws af physics are clear. a conductor moving through a magnetic field produces an electric current, conversely an electric currant moving through a conductor produces a magnetic field. Both aspects need to be considered before any physical process can be understood. A blinkered approach will always fail – as in all areas of science, the observers position is crucial to a full understanding of events.
    However, we still have much to learn about magnetism and electricity. We still have no real understanding of the mechanism of gravity, and I have a hunch that only by understanding how these three forces interact will real progress be made.”
    tenuc, I associate with your comment and to the extent that I fell afoul of its injuctions, I was in error.

  111. Addendum:
    Generation of large scale electric fields in coronal flare circuits
    Submission August 6, 2009
    “A large number of energetic electrons are generated during solar flares. They carry a substantial part of the flare released energy but how these electrons are created is not fully understood yet. This paper suggests that plasma motion in an active region in the photosphere is the source of large electric currents. These currents can be described by macroscopic circuits. Under special circumstances currents can establish in the corona along magnetic field lines. The energy released by these currents when moderate assumptions for the local conditions are made, is found be comparable to the flare energy. ”
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0908.0813

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