Space researchers illuminate 'one of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science'

Discovery of Saturn’s auroral heartbeat

Saturn's ultraviolet auroras are visible over each pole in this image obtained in 2009 using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: Jonathan Nichols, NASA, ESA, University of Leicester

An international team of scientists led by Dr Jonathan Nichols of the University of Leicester has discovered that Saturn’s aurora, an ethereal ultraviolet glow which illuminates Saturn’s upper atmosphere near the poles, pulses roughly once per Saturnian day.

The length of a Saturnian day has been under much discussion since it was discovered that the traditional ‘clock’ used to measure the rotation period of Saturn, a gas giant planet with no solid surface for reference, apparently does not keep good time.

Saturn, like all magnetised planets, emits radio waves into space from the polar regions. These radio emissions pulse with a period near to 11 h, and the timing of the pulses was originally, during the Voyager era, thought to represent the rotation of the planet. However, over the years the period of the pulsing of the radio emissions has varied, and since the rotation of a planet cannot be easily sped up or slowed down, the hunt for the source of the varying radio period has become one of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science.

Now, in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters (August 6), Nichols et al. use images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of Saturn’s auroras obtained between 2005-2009 to show that, not only do the radio emissions pulse, but the auroras beat in tandem with the radio.

Dr Nichols said: “This is an important discovery for two reasons. First, it provides a long-suspected but hitherto missing link between the radio and auroral emissions, and second, it adds a critical tool in diagnosing the cause of Saturn’s irregular heartbeat.”

Auroras, more commonly known as the “northern lights” on Earth, are caused when charged particles in space are funnelled along a planet’s magnetic field into the planet’s upper atmosphere near the poles, whereupon they impact the atmospheric particles and cause them to glow. This happens when a planet’s magnetic field is stressed by, for example, the buffeting from the stream of particles emitted by the Sun, or when moons such as Enceladus or Io expel material into the near-planet space.

Saturn’s radio waves were long suspected to be emitted by the charged particles as they hurtle toward the poles, but no radio-like pulsing had been observed in Saturn’s aurora, an enigmatic disconnect between the two supposedly-related phenomena.

However, Nichols et al. found that by using the clock of the radio pulsing to organise the auroral data, and stacking the results from all the Hubble Saturn auroral images obtained from 2005-2009 on top of each other, the auroral pulsing finally revealed itself.

Dr Nichols added: “This confirms that the auroras and the radio emissions are indeed physically associated, as suspected. This link is important, since it implies that the pulsing of the radio emissions is being imparted by the processes driving Saturn’s aurora, which in turn can be studied by the NASA/ESA spacecraft Cassini, presently in orbit around Saturn. It thus takes us a significant step toward solving the mystery of the variable radio period.”

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126 thoughts on “Space researchers illuminate 'one of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science'

  1. In other words, Birkeland currents are feeding solar electricity into planetary polar regions, thus making them marbles spin. Fascinating stuff. What do you think Leif?
    [REPLY: Any “electric universe”… I won’t even call it pseudoscience…. trolling beyond this point will be embargoed. – Mike]

  2. Birkeland currents seem to be quite accepted and real. Whence the connection with the “electric universe” folks would seem to be quite tenuous at best.

  3. “Auroras, more commonly known as the “northern lights” on Earth”
    Except, of course, for the aurora australis, or southern lights. 😉

  4. Yet another important step in the direction of Plasma Cosmology, a concept already known and well understood by many. Mainstream is of course lagging behind, but that’s the speed of consensus in any field, but they’ll hopefully catch up later.

  5. Honest question… why is everyone soft stepping around half of the term electro-magnetic?
    Yes, there are some wackos out there, but than everyone said that about Mr E, for a while…

  6. Anti-magneto says:
    August 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm
    In other words, Birkeland currents are feeding solar electricity into planetary polar regions
    Max Hugoson says:
    August 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm
    Birkeland currents seem to be quite accepted and real.
    Birkeland currents are real and important, but are not solar electricity. Instead they are generated locally at the planet by changing magnetic fields. And I agree with the moderator that it serves no purpose here to debate the ‘electric universe’.
    Apart from this, the Earth’s aurorae also have a ‘heartbeat’ related to rotation, because geomagnetic activity depends on Universal Time. The mechanism is, however, different from that at Saturn.

  7. Jack “In Oregon” Barnes says:
    August 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm
    Honest question… why is everyone soft stepping around half of the term electro-magnetic?
    Because there are no electric fields in the rest frame of a highly-conducting plasma, but there are magnetic fields, so the one half is duly missing, but let’s not get started on this [again].

  8. “Saturn, like all magnetised planets, emits radio waves into space from the polar regions.”
    –as do Saturn’s rings, recorded by NASA some years ago (along with the moons Miranda and Io, and other gas giants. But the “Voice of the Earth” is most beautiful.).
    “Cassini’s Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument takes high-resolution measurements that allow scientists to convert the radio waves into audio recordings by shifting the frequencies down into the audio frequency range.”
    Saturn’s Rings

  9. What an impressive picture!
    Love a good scientific mystery! Makes your mind spin.
    (Hope it doesn’t make some science minds out there spin off into nana land).
    Keeping this on pure physics, it first brings to mind some anisotropy in the magnetic field of Saturn but with no such map at hand that’s just a first probability. How else could the pulse be so close to daily? For a symmetric field should show no daily differences therefore no pulse nature. Surely Cassini was to map the magnetic field, hope so.
    Next it seems to imply that for some reason Saturn’s magnetic field may not be firmly bound to the rotation but move with its non-solid nature, once again ,just a most obvious observation. Do flows of the gases and liquids on the near surface affect or even control Saturn’s magnetic field itself which makes the daily timing float? In that manner weather or currents on the surface or near surface could modify the magnetic field throwing off the timing. Seems feasible.
    Intriguing questions.

  10. Vlad the Impaler says:
    August 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm
    The Music of the Spheres. Do you hear them? They make such beautiful music.
    “all the arts lose virtue”
    R. Jeffers

  11. Ah, real data from real scientific hardware…. I get annoyed when I think of all the money that was wasted on the pseudoscience of climate modeling along with the politicization of the AGW hypothesis….. A lot more scientific hardware could have been built with that money…. Real things that measure and observe.
    Ah well. It’s never too late. Onward and forward.

  12. Claim: “Birkeland currents are real and important, but are not solar electricity. Instead they are generated locally at the planet by changing magnetic fields.”
    But Los Alamos National Laboratory states, quote: “The plasma universe consists of swirling streams of electrons and ions flowing in filaments. Where pairs of these spaghettilike structures interact, the particle gain kinetic energy and at narrow ‘pinch’ regions produce the entire range of galaxy types as well as the full spectrum of cosmic electromagnetic radiation. Thus galaxies must lie ‘like pearl beads on a necklace’ along filaments, much as they are observed to do on a large scale. The bulk of the filaments are invisible from a distance, much like the Birkeland currents that circle the Earth but are invisible from its surface. In space, these currents are called Birkeland Currents, in honor of the 19th century physicist who suggested their existence. In the laboratory, they are called Bennett-pinches, Z-pinches, or ‘Zed’ pinches. In 1934 W. H. Bennett discovered that streams of electrons flowing in the axial or Z-direction, self pinch from the magnetic field they generate around themselves.”
    http://public.lanl.gov/alp/plasma/elec_currents.html
    So, according to Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the most respected scientific laboratories in the world (if not the most credible), Birkeland currents are not just a local phenomenon generated by planetary magnetic interaction with the solar wind. Electric Birkeland Currents – flowing in space – could also pinch and form galaxies due to self-generated magnetic fields. And how about star formation and planets? It certainly looks like there’s more to these electric currents than first thought.
    Very interesting indeed.

  13. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm
    ……………. “Apart from this, the Earth’s aurorae also have a ‘heartbeat’ related to rotation, because geomagnetic activity depends on Universal Time. The mechanism is, however, different from that at Saturn.”
    ________________________________________________________
    ” because geomagnetic activity depends on Universal Time”…… Intriguing. Could you elucidate further Leif?

  14. It is ironic indeed that the promoters of one brand of pseudoscience get distressed when another brand creeps into their discussions.

  15. It is hard enough to challenge scientific consensus in one field, i.e. climate and CO2 which WUWT does magnificently, attempting another challenge, EU or PU is likely to bring more derision from another mainstream orthodoxy, which will dilute the results achieved here.
    Sites such as Thunderbolts .info or Plasma Universe have sites devoted entirely to these fields and IMHO discussions would be more fruitful in the long run if they are discussed there.

  16. Well NASA says we have “Flux Transfer Events” that connect the Earth to the Sun periodically… So we have a “magnetic universe”?
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/30oct_ftes/
    Somehow I don’t feel any better from calling the electromagnetic force by one half of it’s name over the other…
    But in either case, there is “stuff” flowing in space from the Sun to the Earth and it does “stuff” when it gets here:

    Several speakers at the Workshop have outlined how FTEs form: On the dayside of Earth (the side closest to the sun), Earth’s magnetic field presses against the sun’s magnetic field. Approximately every eight minutes, the two fields briefly merge or “reconnect,” forming a portal through which particles can flow. The portal takes the form of a magnetic cylinder about as wide as Earth. The European Space Agency’s fleet of four Cluster spacecraft and NASA’s five THEMIS probes have flown through and surrounded these cylinders, measuring their dimensions and sensing the particles that shoot through. “They’re real,” says Sibeck.

    So I don’t know what to call it when you have charged particles flowing inside a conduit from one place to another, but it happens from the Sun to the Earth.
    And NASA said so, so it must be right 😉

  17. Moderator Mike
    You mention “electric Universe ” trolls – sounds a bit closed minded to me. Surely you should be applying the old Scottish approach – “not proven”? Or maybe plasma physics is outside your area of specialism?

  18. Julian Braggins says:
    August 5, 2010 at 1:32 am

    It is hard enough to challenge scientific consensus in one field, i.e. climate and CO2 which WUWT does magnificently, attempting another challenge, EU or PU is likely to bring more derision from another mainstream orthodoxy, which will dilute the results achieved here.

    The two orthodoxies are in fact intimately intertwined, through the name James Hansen. Velikovsky was the first to predict in the 1950s that Venus was a very hot planet and had a retrograde rotation (under the hypothesis that Venus was a young planet), and everyone laughed at him, with official estimates at the time that the temperature of Venus was similar to that of Earth. Once probes sent to Venus showed that in fact Velikovsky was right, it was a certain James Hansen who saved orthodoxy, with the idea of a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus with his 1967 PhD at Iowa State University.
    Hansen has never given up on the idea of the runaway greenhouse effect, and has contributed enormously to the idea of the runaway greenhouse effect on Earth, i.e., global warming, now renamed to climate change.
    Perhaps it is time to realize that the problem of “climate science” is in fact part of a much bigger problem in physics.

  19. For some of us who interested in the planetary magnetic fields and general Electro-Magnetic interactions within solar system, this is a bit of old hat.
    On numerous occasions I have said in my posts that interaction between solar magnetic ‘rope’ (cloud) and planetary magnetospheres depends on planets heliocentric longitude (nose or tail of heliosphere).
    More about this puzzle here:
    http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_23-3-2007-11-2-7
    IC’s graphic is not there but you can see it here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SatMf.htm
    There are two solutions proposed:
    – Saturn geysers are more active than in the 1970s, throwing out more mass into the atmosphere.
    – variations along the Saturn’s 29+ year orbit depending on its heliocentric position.
    Of course I would favour the second, but no resolution may come for another 20+ years, when the planet will retrace its path.

  20. Galactus says:
    August 4, 2010 at 11:18 pm
    But Los Alamos National Laboratory states…
    It does not. Some guy who used to work there claims…
    J.Hansford says:
    August 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm
    ” because geomagnetic activity depends on Universal Time”…… Intriguing. Could you elucidate further Leif?
    In Northern Hemisphere summer the Earth’s axis is tilter towards the Sun and the magnetic pole rotates around the axis such as to be ‘into the solar wind’ at 16:30 UT. This diminishes geomagnetic activity because the solar wind sees a stronger geomagnetic field. The same is the case for the Southern Hemisphere during its summer, except at 4:30 UT. The last page of http://www.leif.org/research/geoact.htm has more.
    E.M.Smith says:
    August 5, 2010 at 1:38 am
    Well NASA says we have “Flux Transfer Events” that connect the Earth to the Sun periodically… So we have a “magnetic universe”?
    Indeed we do.
    So I don’t know what to call it when you have charged particles flowing inside a conduit from one place to another, but it happens from the Sun to the Earth.
    A stream of charged particles is not an electrical current. To be that, the charges will have to be of the same sign, and the solar plasma is electrically neutral, i.e. has the same number of positive and negative charges. When those charges encounters the strong magnetic field of the Earth, they are separated: positive charges are diverted into one direction and negative charges into the opposite direction. In this way local electric currents are created, which can now enter the atmosphere as Birkeland currents.
    Louis Hissink says:
    August 5, 2010 at 3:43 am
    Moving electrically charged particles is “Electricity”
    No, see my response upthread. To be electricity the charges will have to be of the same sign.
    vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2010 at 5:44 am
    On numerous occasions I have said in my posts that interaction between solar magnetic ‘rope’ (cloud) and planetary magnetospheres depends on planets heliocentric longitude (nose or tail of heliosphere).
    That you say it multiple times does not make it so. There is no evidence [or reason] for any of this.

  21. ok, my question, borne of ingnorance, is this:
    “Saturn, a gas giant planet with no solid surface for reference”
    The Earth has an iron core to create a magnetic field, or so is my understanding. How does a gas giant with no solid surface accomplish this?

  22. Steve M. from TN says:
    August 5, 2010 at 7:45 am
    The Earth has an iron core to create a magnetic field, or so is my understanding. How does a gas giant with no solid surface accomplish this?
    That the [liquid] core is iron is not important. Any conducting liquid or gas will do. E.g. the Sun has a magnetic field too.

  23. Now, in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters (August 6), Nichols et al. use images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of Saturn’s auroras obtained between 2005-2009 to show that, not only do the radio emissions pulse, but the auroras beat in tandem with the radio.
    So perhaps Saturn is our cosmic subwoofer? (boom-pa-boom-pa-boom)

  24. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am
    “[…]A stream of charged particles is not an electrical current. To be that, the charges will have to be of the same sign, and the solar plasma is electrically neutral, i.e. has the same number of positive and negative charges.[…]”
    Leif, do the positive and negative charges in the solar plasma move synchronously, or do their speeds differ from each other?

  25. Leif Svalgaard says: August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am
    There is no evidence [or reason] for any of this.
    You may think so. But there is a good reason and evidence, it is the asymmetry of heliosphere, its anisotropy increases with the distance from the sun (10 AU).
    Hey, know it all doc, ESA scientists differ, here is direct quote:
    Based on the new observations, scientists now think there are two possible reasons for the change in radio period.
    The first theory is that the geysers on Enceladus could be more active now than in Voyagers’ time. The second is that there may be seasonal variations as Saturn orbits the sun once every 29 years.

    http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM1KTS4LZE_index_0.html
    It appears your views are frozen in some long gone decade, together with your one legged ‘magnetic universe’.
    Universe is not ‘magnetic’ not ‘electric’ but both electro-magnetic and electromagnetic.

  26. Where can we get that radio-transmitter that works withour electrical power, just with a fridge’s magnet?
    Saturn, like all magnetised planets, emits radio waves into space from the polar regions.

  27. DirkH says:
    August 5, 2010 at 8:36 am
    Leif, do the positive and negative charges in the solar plasma move synchronously, or do their speeds differ from each other?
    They move together. Now, there are a very small flux of high-energy particles that move independently, but they make no significant contribution to the overall neutrality of the plasma. Look at it this way: the [mass] bulk of the solar wind is positive protons. The matching electrons can’t move far away from the protons because the electrical attraction between the two opposite charges is so enormous.

  28. For the FLINTSTONES’ UNIVERSE believers ions are not electrically charged, they are just little pebbles painted in different colors. Wow!

  29. vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2010 at 9:08 am
    The second is that there may be seasonal variations as Saturn orbits the sun once every 29 years.
    Seasonal variations, like summer and winter. On the Earth there are also such seasons. Nothing to do with the heliosphere. Here you can learn more about the seasons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

  30. Enneagram says:
    August 5, 2010 at 9:18 am
    Where can we get that radio-transmitter that works withour electrical power, just with a fridge’s magnet?
    Put the fridge’s magnet inside a loop of copper wire, then twirl the magnet and connect your transmitter to the wire, and it will emit.

  31. vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2010 at 9:08 am
    I just can’t believe my eyes!….now everything is possible, let’s make a “séance” to talk to spirits!

  32. Louis Hissink says:
    August 5, 2010 at 3:43 am
    Folks,
    Moving electrically charged particles is “Electricity”

    yup. plasma cosmology is so much more convincing than the sorry state of “modern” physics.
    JP says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:51 am
    Perhaps it is time to realize that the problem of “climate science” is in fact part of a much bigger problem in physics.

    bingo

  33. From the American Geophysics Union (AGU):

    Atmospheric and Space Electricity Focus Group
    This Focus Group has the responsibility for fostering a focus for atmospheric and space electricity within AGU. It is also charged with building interdisciplinary interaction, and educating AGU members about the nature and importance of problems and issues in atmospheric and space electricity. It should play a central role in attracting plasma physicists, space scientists, middle-atmosphere experts as well as traditional atmospheric electricity researchers

    If this is a more acceptable source for the moderators, it is an area of study for the AGU as well.

  34. peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:03 am
    yup. plasma cosmology is so much more convincing than the sorry state of “modern” physics.
    yup, just like it is much more convincing that the Earth is flat and that the whole universe rotates about the Earth once a day and that maggots are created spontaneously from nothing in rotten meat.

  35. Zeke the Sneak says:
    August 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm
    Vlad the Impaler says:
    August 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm
    The Music of the Spheres. Do you hear them? They make such beautiful music.

    So….what a surprise!, didn’t know Vlad the impaler had a sensible hear.
    As for the rest: Let’s get to the basic!: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Si, Do……entiende?

  36. Zeke the Sneak says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:24 am
    AGU: “It should play a central role in attracting plasma physicists, space scientists, middle-atmosphere experts as well as traditional atmospheric electricity researchers”
    If this is a more acceptable source for the moderators, it is an area of study for the AGU as well.

    Everything of interest is generated by electricity, on the Sun, in space, in the upper atmosphere. The important point is that that electricity is generated by moving conducting [but neutral] plasma across magnetic fields or induced in the conducting [but neutral] plasma by rapidly changing magnetic fields.

  37. Steve M. from TN says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:37 am
    Thanks Leif, I guess if I’d thought about it, I would have realized that 🙂
    Many people here might also benefit from a bit of thought.

  38. So Saturn now becomes the QUASAR of the neighborhood!
    So Kronos had a sensible heart too….I wonder if he is talking to us: “Hear me those who have ears to hear…”
    He had an strange predilection for eating all his deaf sons…

  39. Doc have you ever heard of an electrolyte battery or a solar electric cell, or they do not exist in ‘one-legged magnetic universe’.

  40. Vuk etc says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:08 am
    Doc have you ever heard of an electrolyte battery or a solar electric cell, or they do not exist in ‘one-legged magnetic universe’.
    Both of these devices owe their workings to the fact that there are insulators involved. In a cosmic plasma there are no large-scale insulators.
    There one-leggedness comes from the fact that it is meaningless to talk about an electric field without specifying a reference frame. One observer will measure one field in his frame, a different observer will observe a different electric field if moving relative to the first. You can always find an observer that sees no electric field in his frame. E.g. in the solar wind the electric field in the frame moving with the plasma is zero.
    However, the magnetic field does not depend on the frame of references. All observers will measure [almost] the same magnetic field. Hnece the one-legged magnetic universe.

  41. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:32 am
    peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:03 am
    yup. plasma cosmology is so much more convincing than the sorry state of “modern” physics.
    yup, just like it is much more convincing that the Earth is flat and that the whole universe rotates about the Earth once a day

    sorry leif. i guess the physics of plasma have no effect on anything. the sun is not plasma. the suns atmosphere is not plasma. planetary atmospheres have no plasma effects. there is no plasma in space, and therefore no electricity in space.
    Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:44 am
    Everything of interest is generated by electricity, on the Sun, in space, in the upper atmosphere. The important point is that that electricity is generated by moving conducting [but neutral] plasma across magnetic fields or induced in the conducting [but neutral] plasma by rapidly changing magnetic fields.

    which is it?
    and by “modern” physics, i mean BB/standard cosmology… it is prima facie preposterous. it is an obvious train wreck, and more a product of politics than even AGW/climatology.
    leif, it is not the skeptic who continuously piles on contradictory ad-hoc epicycles to save the theory from reality, and it is not the skeptic who refuses all progress by ridiculing people who are only pointing out the obvious.
    you ought to be ridiculing the bb/standard cosmology faithful – it is they who are the flat-earth-centric deniers of progress in our time. BB/standard cosmology is not empirical science, it is religion posing as science.
    let me just say, it seems naive to deny that the physics of plasma has no role in the structure of the physical reality we experience, when said plasma is ubiquitous.

  42. read this page , which i hope is noncontroversial. and everywhere substitute “plasma” for “gas” just to get an idea of how ubiquitous is plasma.
    just as every climatology paper requires a nod to AGW and CO2 to get published, everything written about cosmology must have “gas” instead of “plasma” and a mention of relativity to get published.

  43. peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:26 am
    sorry leif. i guess the physics of plasma have no effect on anything. the sun is not plasma. the suns atmosphere is not plasma. planetary atmospheres have no plasma effects. there is no plasma in space, and therefore no electricity in space.
    It seems to me that what you just said is in contradiction with what you otherwise state, so perhaps you should your concepts clear first.

  44. peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:26 am
    BB/standard cosmology is not empirical science, it is religion posing as science.
    And perhaps conflicting with other religions, hence your denial.

  45. This discussion is “mesmerizing”, or rather electromagnetizing?
    Forgot the credits: “Flintstones” is a T.M. of Hanna Barbera; however “The Flintstones Universe” not already patented but obvious.

  46. Enneagram says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:53 am
    This discussion is “mesmerizing”, or rather electromagnetizing?
    You bring nothing to the table.
    Forgot the credits: “Flintstones” is a T.M. of Hanna Barbera; however “The Flintstones Universe” not already patented but obvious.
    In the Flintstones Universe the physics is rock-solid, no?

  47. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:44 am
    “The important point is that that electricity is generated by moving conducting [but neutral] plasma across magnetic fields or induced in the conducting [but neutral] plasma by rapidly changing magnetic fields.
    Rapidly changing magnetic fields have interesting applications in brain science.
    “Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been used to investigate almost all areas of cognitive neuroscience.” The rapidly changing magnetic field is produced, as most magnetic fields are, by an electric current, in a stimulation coil.
    Good afternoon Dr. S.
    To Anthony Watts’ continued success in understanding earth’s weather and climate.

  48. Hooray! Finally a result, coined new scientific term
    One legged magnetic Universe
    And guess what, it is accepted by the ‘science supremo’ of WUWT.

  49. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 10:44 am
    “Everything of interest is generated by electricity, on the Sun, in space, in the upper atmosphere. The important point is that that electricity is generated by moving conducting [but neutral] plasma across magnetic fields or induced in the conducting [but neutral] plasma by rapidly changing magnetic fields.”
    So, electricity (leif’s preferred definition) is generated upon colliding flows of magnetized plasma, this plasma, free electrons and ions, sometimes referred to as “electrified gas” by NASA, is seperated by Electric Double Layers into streams of electrons and ions going in opposite directions.
    Scientists have empirically observed & measured these Electric Double Layers in association with Earth’s aurora.
    So, now, Saturn’s aurora is the subject of the post.
    Somewhere, it seems, electricity, plasma, and magnetism, neatly shortened to “electromagntism” comes into play in the mysteries of Saturn’s physical dynamics.
    Just as Dr. Svalgaard wrote above.

  50. Vuk etc says:
    August 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm
    Hooray! Finally a result, coined new scientific term
    One legged magnetic Universe
    Don’t declare victory yet….the other leg is made of anti-matter 🙂

  51. Zeke the Sneak says:
    August 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm
    Are you suggesting an electric shocks therapy?

  52. peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm From the link you just gave:
    Paleo-anthropologically speaking, this faculty probably had survival value as a self-defense mechanism when homo sapiens’ intellectual capacity to detect deception in others improved to the point that the only sure hope to deceive was for deceivers to be self-deceived and therefore behave as if they were being truthful.
    Morals: Lie to others if you want but never to yourselves!…

  53. Zeke the Sneak says:
    August 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm
    The rapidly changing magnetic field is produced, as most magnetic fields are, by an electric current, in a stimulation coil.
    And how do you produce the electric current?
    peterhodges says:
    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    regardless of your personal beliefs, isn’t your work independent of BB/standard cosmology?
    My beliefs have nothing to do with my work. But my work is somewhat independent of BB, but only to a point, since BB follows from observations and the same physical laws. Given the data and the physical laws you can’t get around the BB.

  54. James F. Evans says:
    August 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm
    So, electricity (leif’s preferred definition) is generated upon colliding flows of magnetized plasma
    No, that is not the way it works except in specialized circumstances. Good ole regular electricity [on Earth and in space] is generated by moving a conductor with respect to a magnet [or vice versa]. Here is how the electricity you use every day is generated: http://www.howeverythingworks.org/supplements/electric_power_generation.pdf

  55. “BB follows from observations” is a claim that is not true. Observations are curve fitted backwards to fit the BB-theory, a theory which stems from religious fantasies inside the head of a catholic priest. Even Einstein acknowledged its creationist nature, he said: “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.” It is a beautiful theory, but nothing more. There is no reason to belive it to be more true than Genesis Chapter 1. The amount of contradictions in standard BB-cosmology renders it invalid as far as science goes, but stating what should be blatantly obvious by now is of course crackpottery on the brink of devil worshipping.

  56. Big de’Bunk says:
    August 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm
    BB-cosmology renders it invalid as far as science goes, but stating what should be blatantly obvious by now is of course crackpottery on the brink of devil worshipping.
    Indeed it would be crackpottery. Are you indulging in that?

  57. Big de’Bunk says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm
    I don’t believe in creationism Mr. Svalgaard. Do you?
    Particles are created every second. We make positrons in our ‘atom smashers’ all the time. “Production: New research has dramatically increased the quantity of positrons that experimentalists can produce. Physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have used a short, ultra-intense laser to irradiate a millimetre-thick gold target and produce more than 100 billion positrons.”

  58. lief,
    Wrong.
    There is empirical observation of magnetized plasma flows “colliding” in space and generating Electric Double Layers, not just in “specialized circumstances”.
    It is true that laboratory plasma experiments can produce all these electromagnetic effects, but that is all the more evidence that the fundamental force of electromagnetism is scale independent.
    But what is so much more evidence than the laboratory plasma experiments is the empirical field observation & measurement of the electric fields consistent with the presence of Electric Double Layers in association with Earth’s aurora.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Here is how the electricity you use every day is generated…”
    NO!
    What we are discussing is how electricity is generated in space.
    And, it is generated when: “colliding flows of magnetized plasma, this plasma, free electrons and ions, sometimes referred to as “electrified gas” by NASA, is seperated by Electric Double Layers into streams of electrons and ions going in opposite directions.”
    We’ve been over this before and I’m happy to go over it, again, if need be.
    I’d be happy to go through all the links to academic papers supporting my position, but I’ve presented them before and at the end of the day, you had to agree:
    Electric Double Layers have been observed & measured in space.
    Electric Double Layers generate electric currents.
    REPLY: You might want to at least get his name spelled correctly and capitalized before you get too cocky about your “Wrong” position. – Anthony

  59. Correction: Dr. Leif Svalgaard.
    Thank you for the correction.
    But how do you know I’m wrong?

  60. James F. Evans says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Electric Double Layers generate electric currents.
    As you said, we have been over this before, and magnetic reconnection is indeed a place where electric currents are generated by magnetic fields of opposite direction being pressed together by movement of the plasma they are frozen into. But this only happens on occasions when you actually have such a configuration, e.g. briefly in solar flares, and in the generation of active aurorae. Magnetic reconnection is actually an excellent illustration of how to generate electric current from magnetic fields. Thank you for finally believing and agreeing with this. Perhaps you can then settle back in your chair with your newfound knowledge and relax.

  61. James F. Evans says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm
    But how do you know I’m wrong?
    You show that by what you say, easy as that. Perhaps ‘wrong’ is not the right word, ‘ignorant’ or ‘learning-resistant’ might be better.

  62. Everything in the Solar System has a cycle or rhythm.
    (but, shhh, don’t tell Leif that…) 🙂
    .

  63. Dr. Svalgaard:
    Please read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    “This article is about the structure in plasma physics. For other uses, see Double layer.”
    “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. Double layers are found in a wide variety of plasmas, from discharge tubes to space plasmas to the Birkeland currents supplying the Earth’s aurora, and are especially common in current-carrying plasmas.”
    The foot notes at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry for “double layer (plasma)” are very extensive.
    Please review the foot notes.
    There are 57 footnotes.
    Many cite astrophysical, field, experiments, observations & measurements, from satellite probes.
    Continuing from Wikikpedia:
    “Other names for a double layer are electrostatic double layer, electric double layer, plasma double layers, electrostatic shock (a type of double layer which is oriented at an oblique angle to the magnetic field in such a way that the perpendicular electric field is much stronger than the parallel electric field),[6] space charge layer.[7] In laser physics, a double layer is sometimes called an ambipolar electric field.[8] Double layers are conceptually related to the concept of a ‘sheath’ (see Debye sheath).
    The adopted electrical symbol for a double layer, when represented in an electrical circuit is ────DL────. If there is a net current present, then the DL is oriented with the base of the L in line with direction of current.[9]”
    Other names for a double layer are electrostatic double layer, electric double layer, plasma double layers, electrostatic shock (a type of double layer which is oriented at an oblique angle to the magnetic field in such a way that the perpendicular electric field is much stronger than the parallel electric field),[6] space charge layer.[7] In laser physics, a double layer is sometimes called an ambipolar electric field.[8] Double layers are conceptually related to the concept of a ‘sheath’ (see Debye sheath).
    The adopted electrical symbol for a double layer, when represented in an electrical circuit is ────DL────. If there is a net current present, then the DL is oriented with the base of the L in line with direction of current.[9]”
    ** note, numbers are from supporting footnotes in the linked Wikipedia entry.
    I invite readers to read & study the Wikipedia entry linked above and below:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)

  64. Mr. Svalgaard believe in “frozen-in magnetic field lines” and “magnetic merging” (reconnection). This is what Nobel Laureate, Prof. Hannes Alfvén, the “father” of plasma physics, had to say about these concepts:
    Frozen-In Field Lines – A Pseudo-Pedagogical Concept:
    “I thought that the frozen-in concept was very good from a pedagogical point of view, and indeed it became very popular. In reality, however, it was not a good pedagogical concept but a dangerous “pseudo-pedagogical concept.” By pseudo-pedagogical I mean a concept which makes you believe that you understand a phenomenon whereas in reality you have drastically misunderstood it.”
    Magnetic Merging – A Pseudo-Science:
    “The most important criticism of the “merging” mechanism of energy transfer is due to Heikkila who with increasing strength has demonstrated that it is wrong. In spite of all this, we have witnessed at the same time an enormously voluminous formalism building up based on this obviously erroneous concept. Indeed, we have been burdened with a gigantic pseudo-science which penetrates large parts of cosmic plasma physics. The monograph CP treats the field-line reconnection (merging) concept in I. 3, II. 3, and I1.5. We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.”
    Double Layers in Astrophysics
    Proceedings of a workshop held at George C. Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, Alabama, March 17-19, 1986
    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19870013880_1987013880.pdf

  65. James F. Evans says:
    August 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    I invite readers to read & study the Wikipedia entry linked above and below
    But none of this is relevant to the issue of reconnection, which requires the two plasma domains to have oppositely direct magnetic fields. The double layer is about when the domains have opposite electric fields.
    Say what? says:
    August 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm
    Prof. Hannes Alfvén, the “father” of plasma physics, had to say about these concepts
    Unfortunately for Alfvén, both reconnection and frozen in fields have now been observed directly in space. What Hannes was railing about was the notion that the field was always frozen in. Reconnection is an example of a situation where they are not frozen in on the micro-scale.

  66. Reconnection and frozen-in magnetic field lines have been observed directly in space? Yes of course, just like the numerous “observations” of black holes (underpinned by photoshop and wishful thinking). If your understanding is limited by a narrow theoretical framework you don’t observe what is, but what you belive is. An explanation is then substituted by rationalization to fill in the gaps.
    “Astrophysicists have claimed that galactic magnetic fields begin and end on molecular clouds. Most electrical engineers, physicists, and pioneers in the electromagnetic field theory disagree, i.e., magnetic fields have no beginning or end. Many astrophysicists still claim that magnetic fields are “frozen into” electric plasma. The “magnetic merging” (reconnection) mechanism is also falsified by both theoretical and experimental investigations.”
    http://members.cox.net/dascott3/IEEE-TransPlasmaSci-Scott-Aug2007.pdf
    (Yes I’m aware of the fact that this paper is written before THEMIS allegedly “observed” reconnection, but when you stand on one leg when interpreting data, the imbalance makes you reconnect with the ground rather than reality.)

  67. Say what? says:
    August 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm
    If your understanding is limited by a narrow theoretical framework you don’t observe what is, but what you belive is. An explanation is then substituted by rationalization to fill in the gaps.
    I often wonder what prevents people like you from learning about this wonderful Universe we inhabit. Often it is Religion, sometimes it is the yearning for an ‘explanation’ that is simple enough for you to understand [and modern physics and astrophysics can be complex and perhaps have a learning curve that is too steep for you], but at other times it just baffles the mind.

  68. Leif Svalgaard says: August 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm,
    “But none of this is relevant to the issue of reconnection…”
    Yes, it is relevant to the issue of “reconnection”.
    A school of astrophysics wrongly claims the physical event, which has already been quantitatively described as an Electric Double Layer is actually a so-called “magnetic reconnection” event.
    This school presists in labelling the Electric Double Layer as a so-called “magnetic reconnection event”, but a Double layer has already been quantitatively described by measuring the electric fields and magnetic fields.
    The Electric Double Layer process describes the dynamics where the electrons & ions flow in opposite directions as a result of magnetic & electric field interaction upon the collision of flows of magnetized and (yes, electrified) plasma.
    The concept and the term, “magnetic reconnection”, is an antiquated relic of 1940’s, pre-space age, astronomy, when they were searching for ideas to explain aspects of the Sun’ processes (which they didn’t understand).
    Science has proceeded a long way from the 1940’s and, today, with satellite probes measuring electric fields & magnetic fields in near space, focussing on processes of the aurora, with high resolution, Science understands & recognizes that Electric Double Layers active in the Earth’s auroral dynamics.
    Another definition from the Plasma Dictionary of a double layer:
    “A double layer is an electric charge separation region that forms in a plasma. It consists of two oppositely charged parallel layers, resulting in a voltage drop and electric field across the layer, which accelerates the plasma’s electrons and positive ions in opposite directions, producing an electric current.”
    http://plasmadictionary.llnl.gov/terms.lasso?-MaxRecords=1&-SkipRecords=16&-SortField=Term&-SortOrder=ascending&ABC=D&page=detail
    Saturn’s auroral dynamics are likely to operate along the same physical lines.
    Electromagnetism…
    And, yes, Birkeland currents.

  69. James F. Evans says:
    August 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm
    “A double layer is an electric charge separation region that forms in a plasma. It consists of two oppositely charged parallel layers”
    Such layers do not form spontaneously, but results from potential differences along a field line build up from the electric field resulting from a plasma crossing a magnetic field [E=v x B] as I have explained so many times. And this is how Birkeland currents are formed.
    The concept and the term, “magnetic reconnection”, is an antiquated relic of 1940′s
    And used almost exclusively in modern description of observations and theory. Reconnection may, in fact, result in voltage drops and double layers forming. Nothing mysterious about that.
    For the auroral case, the double layers form close to the Earth, while the reconnection event happen far out in the magnetotail. It is time you learn about the modern view of things.

  70. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 6:55 am
    Ah, thanks Leif…. Now I understand what you meant.

  71. It may be, in the fullness of time, that Cosmology and Climatology fully cross discipline into an integrated field.
    Somehow, I think thats still a ways off.
    Mean time both fields suffer from entrenched ideas, dominating personalities and personal agenda’s. I congratulate WUWT, for at least having a forum where a discussion, and not a witch hunt can take place.
    Such places are vanishingly small, despite the magnitude of the web.

  72. Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Big de’Bunk says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm
    I don’t believe in creationism Mr. Svalgaard. Do you?
    Particles are created every second. We make positrons in our ‘atom smashers’ all the time. “Production: New research has dramatically increased the quantity of positrons that experimentalists can produce. Physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have used a short, ultra-intense laser to irradiate a millimetre-thick gold target and produce more than 100 billion positrons.”
    ________________________________________________________
    Are you saying Leif, that they are “creating matter” from “nothing”?…. Or simply shattering matter in to smaller particles?

  73. Leif says,
    “Because there are no electric fields in the rest frame of a highly-conducting plasma, but there are magnetic fields, so the one half is duly missing, but let’s not get started on this [again].”
    Uhh, show me a plasma at REST!!
    If I interpret your language correctly you are trying to claim some kind of equilibria for a plasma. Not happening. Please show experimental evidence of a plasma at equilibria???

  74. J.Hansford says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm
    Are you saying Leif, that they are “creating matter” from “nothing”?…. Or simply shattering matter in to smaller particles?
    They are creating matter from light [“let there be light” 🙂 ]. When an electron and a positron meet they annihilate each other and create a MeV photon. Conversely such a photon can generate the pair of an electron and a positron.
    Now, ‘nothing’ is a slippery subject. The vacuum is seething with [virtual] particles that can pop into existence at any time. The whole universe may have been such a quantum fluctuation [BTW the energy content of the Universe is probably zero anyway, so energy is conserved]. But we are now drifting off topic a bit.

  75. kuhnkat says:
    August 5, 2010 at 11:36 pm
    Uhh, show me a plasma at REST!!
    show me anything at rest.
    The ‘rest frame’ simply means a frame of reference moving with the plasma, so that the plasma is at rest in that frame. If you are in an airplane flying at 500 mph, you can blow a delicate soap bubble, because in the rest frame of the plane, no forces are acting on bubble [except gravity which is very weak as the bubble hardly weighs anything], so the bubble is not blown to pieces by the high speed of the plane.

  76. Oh thee of no conceptual awareness.
    “Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural agency.” (Wikipedia)
    To reconfigure existing matter/energy is something completely different.

  77. Often it is Religion, sometimes it is the yearning for an ‘explanation’ that is simple enough for you to understand
    Ultimate laws and truth are by necessity simple, as simple as the calculations made by computers in the background. Of course if we deal with phantoms and disincarnated spirits we can’t figure them out easily: They do not exist.!
    All the rest is nothing else the result of our self conceit.

  78. Dr. Svalgaard: “Reconnection may, in fact, result in voltage drops and double layers forming. Nothing mysterious about that.”
    It is the physical processes of Electric Double Layers with their specific organizational structure composed of electric fields & magnetic fields emitted from the electrons & ions, themselves, as these “electrified particles” interact with each other which causes voltage drops and, resulting, particles accelerations.
    The fact that a certain school persists in calling this process “magnetic reconnection”, a 1940’s guestimation, when the process has already been quantitatively (mathematically) described & explained in the framework of an Electric Double Layer, goes a long way to demonstrating today’s hide-bound astronomy.
    Dr. Svalgaard: “And [“magnetic reconnection” is] used almost exclusively in modern description of observations and theory.”
    Science isn’t about how many people may use a term or concept…it is about correctly understanding the physical processes involved in a particlular dynamic.
    When one makes a side-by-side comparison & analysis of the peer-reviewed papers purporting to describe “magnetic reconnection” with peer-reviewed papers describing Electric Double Layers, it is clear that both these sets of papers are describing one and the same event or dyanamic: Electric Double Layers.
    And, to correctly observe & measure this process (whatever name one may choose to call it), one must observe & measure electric fields & magnetic fields and the flows of electrons & ions.
    So-called “magnetic reconnection”, in the past, did not consider or measure electric fields (because the 1940’s concept did not consider electric fields important, as there was “no electricity in space”, didn’t you know). But, now, as a result of empirical observation & measurement, electric fields are being considered and measured.
    As the proponents of the Electric Double Layer description & framework advocated all along.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “For the auroral case, the double layers form close to the Earth, while the reconnection event happen far out in the magnetotail. It is time you learn about the modern view of things.”
    No, these events “close to the Earth” and “far out in the magnetotail” are one and the same basic process…Electric Double Layer, although, the processes certainly take different morphologies and energy inputs (it is well worth understanding the differences and similarities).
    But getting back to Saturn, the point is this: Science will not understand Saturn’s aurora, unless and until, the full spectrum of electromagnetic dynamics are fully explored.
    Pretending that electric fields & electric currents are not important and can, thus, be safely ignored will keep astrophysics from reaching a better understanding of the solar system’s physical dynamics.
    The worst case scenario for the advancement of Science is that assumptions are so ingrained that no exploration & investigation is carried out by either laboratory experiments or field experiments.
    Let’s observe & measure, explore & investigate, all reasonable lines of scientific inquiry instead of resting on assumptions.
    Being satisfied (and, indeed, being defensive) about popular assumptions is not how Science advances its understanding.
    Rather, Science advances by challenging assumptions (WUWT readers are very familiar with the necessity of challenging assumptions in AGW theories), not by maintaining dogma, no matter how popular at any given moment.

  79. Thinking it deeply, that “reconnection” issue qualifies as XXX science or rather Tantric Yoga 🙂

  80. Space researchers illuminate ‘one of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science’
    ..Saturn, like all magnetised planets, emits radio waves into space from the polar regions. These radio emissions pulse with a period near to 11 h, and the timing of the pulses was originally, during the Voyager era, thought to represent the rotation of the planet. However, over the years the period of the pulsing of the radio emissions has varied, and since the rotation of a planet cannot be easily sped up or slowed down, the hunt for the source of the varying radio period has become one of the most perplexing puzzles in planetary science..
    Now, in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters (August 6), Nichols et al. use images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope of Saturn’s auroras obtained between 2005-2009 to show that, not only do the radio emissions pulse, but the auroras beat in tandem with the radio.
    Leif, do you find these findings perplexing?
    More on aurorae on Saturn
    http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/62930/1/nature02986.pdf
    An interplanetary shock traced by planetary auroral storms from the Sun to Saturn
    ..On 7 and 8 December 2000, FUV high-spatial-resolution images of Saturn were taken with the Hubble space telescope, HST (Fig. 1) with an excellent view of the southern polar region. The auroral oval morphology was very different from one day to the next. On 8 December, a narrow oval surrounding the pole at high latitude, and assigned to large-scale currrents at the boundary between open and closed field lines17, resembles the few Saturn aurorae observed
    earlier22; this configuration may be considered as a steady-state reference.
    By contrast the aurora observed on the previous day is of a kind never observed before: a similar oval is also present, but a very bright feature has transiently developed inside, on polar-cap
    open field lines. This suggests that we have witnessed for the first time an auroral storm at Saturn, which may be related to an as-yet-unknown interaction of the solar wind with Saturn’s
    magnetosphere.
    At that time, the Sun, the Earth, Jupiter and Saturn were nearly aligned (Fig. 2). Hence, any interplanetary shock would successively encounter the three planets along its radial propagation outward, even if its angular extent were small..
    http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/62930/1/nature02986.pdf

  81. James F. Evans says:
    August 6, 2010 at 10:18 am
    Rather, Science advances by challenging assumptions (WUWT readers are very familiar with the necessity of challenging assumptions in AGW theories), not by maintaining dogma, no matter how popular at any given moment.
    I don’t think you have learned anything [still being stuck in concepts 50-100 years old], and you have proven your inability to learn, so one must just leave you to chew the dust of your choosing.
    Carla says:
    August 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm
    Leif, do you find these findings perplexing?
    No, this is just the usual NASA hype. Everything is baffling, unprecedented, perplexing, etc.
    The auroral oval morphology was very different from one day to the next.
    and so it is also on the Earth.

  82. James F. Evans says:
    August 6, 2010 at 10:18 am
    Pretending that electric fields & electric currents are not important and can, thus, be safely ignored will keep astrophysics from reaching a better understanding of the solar system’s physical dynamics.
    I think you not only have a learning disability, but also a reading disability. How many times have I not said that everything interesting that happens are due to electric currents. These currents are generated by moving conductors [the plasma] across the almighty magnetic fields, e.g. by gravity [in the end, gravity is the force that determines everything]. The energy in the currents comes from the kinetic energy of the moving plasma, same way that the energy in the ordinary household current comes from the kinetic energy of falling water or turning turbines.

  83. Dr. Svalgaard presented Evans’ comment, August 6, 2010 at 10:18 am:
    “Rather, Science advances by challenging assumptions (WUWT readers are very familiar with the necessity of challenging assumptions in AGW theories), not by maintaining dogma, no matter how popular at any given moment.”
    And Dr. Svalgaard responded: “I don’t think you have learned anything [still being stuck in concepts 50-100 years old], and you have proven your inability to learn, so one must just leave you to chew the dust of your choosing.”
    My comment is a simple truism of Science.
    But Dr. Svalgaard responds to this “truism” by making a personal comment…readers of WUWT recognize that when an interlocutor resorts to personal comments…it’s a signal that the interlocutor has run out of substantive arguments (the interlocutor is attempting to cause bias & prejudice).
    And, I’m not the only commenter to receive personal comments from Dr. Svalgaard:
    Dr. Svalgaard presented peterhodges comment, August 5, 2010 at 10:03 am:
    “yup. plasma cosmology is so much more convincing than the sorry state of ‘modern’ physics.”
    And. Dr. Svalgaard responded: “yup, just like it is much more convincing that the Earth is flat and that the whole universe rotates about the Earth once a day and that maggots are created spontaneously from nothing in rotten meat.”
    That kind of response reflects more on Dr. Svalgaard than on peterhodges.
    But Dr. Svalgaard’s responses fall into a consistent pattern for him.
    Everybody who disagrees with him is to be marginalized, apparently including NASA.
    Dr. Svalgaard, what specific “concepts 50-100 years old” are you refering to?
    You mean like so-called “magnetic reconnection”, a concept you subscribe to, which is from the 1940’s before the space age and literally was nothing more than speculation? Which NASA publically states is not understood: “Something very interesting and fundamental is going on [at the alleged location of a “magnetic reconnection” event] that we don’t really understand — not from laboratory experiments or from simulations,” says Melvyn Goldstein, chief of the Geospace Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/31aug_mms/
    That NASA admits they don’t understand how “magnetic reconnection” works is, perhaps, because they are applying a faulty and inadequate concept. I suggest NASA would advance in understanding by applying the Electric Double Layer framework & description.
    It would seem Dr. Svalgaard is the one stuck on outdated concepts over 60 years old.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “How many times have I not said that everything interesting that happens are due to electric currents.”
    Yes, but seemingly, Dr. Svalgaard wants to have it both ways. When push comes to shove, Dr. Svalgaard does acknowledge “electricity is present in space”, but notice the tenor and color of his responses: Dr. Svalgaard is much more focussed on minimizing the effects of electricity in space and marginalizing anybody that disagrees with his opinion, all this reflects the school of thought Dr. Svalgaard represents, as Dr. Svalgaard stated: “in the end, gravity is the force that determines everything”.
    This is the gravity “only” school.
    Other Fundamental Forces including Electromagnetism are to be marginalized.
    Nevermind that the electric attraction force between free electrons and ions is literally billions of times stronger that the force of gravity.
    An example of Dr. Svalgaard’s, “yes, there is electricity in space, but it doesn’t do much”, attitude:
    Dr. Svalgaard’s reliance on the “frame of reference” argument. Contrary to what Dr. Svalgaard promotes, there is always electric attractive force present in plasma between free electrons and ions (an electric field between free electrons and ions), no matter what frame of reference one takes to observe the plasma.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “The ‘rest frame’ simply means a frame of reference moving with the plasma, so that the plasma is at rest in that frame. If you are in an airplane flying at 500 mph, you can blow a delicate soap bubble, because in the rest frame of the plane, no forces are acting on bubble [except gravity which is very weak as the bubble hardly weighs anything], so the bubble is not blown to pieces by the high speed of the plane.”
    This analogy is false: While it’s true, “no forces are acting on the bubble”, in contrast, in a plasma, the electric attraction between free electrons & ions is always in operation.
    Just as Dr. Svalgaard stated earlier in this thread: “The matching electrons can’t move far away from the protons because the electrical attraction between the two opposite charges is so enormous.” (Actually, depending on the energy present in the plasma, there may not be much “matching” between free electrons and ions.)
    The Coulomb attaction between free electrons and ions in a given body of plasma is always present. Actually, it is magnetisim that can be absent because if a body of plasma is stationary there will be no organized magnetic field. Plasma in motion has a magnetic field, stationary plasma has no magnetic field.
    In that respect, the force of magnetism and force of electric attraction are always present in tandem, that is why it is referred to as the Fundamental Force of Electromagnetism, not the fundamental force of magnetism or the electric fundamental force.
    The issue is not that flowing magnetized plasma, consisting of “electrified particles” has kinetic energy, the plasma undoubtedly does have kinetic energy, rather, the issue is how this kinetic energy is generated.
    It is an undeniable scientific fact:
    Electric fields cause particle acceleration in a plasma environment.
    Electric Double Layers cause particle acceleration.
    This “acceleration” is manifested as kinetic energy.
    But let’s come back to the central theme in my series of comments:
    “When one makes a side-by-side comparison & analysis of the peer-reviewed papers purporting to describe “magnetic reconnection” with peer-reviewed papers describing Electric Double Layers, it is clear that both these sets of papers are describing one and the same event or dyanamic: Electric Double Layers.”
    Dr. Svalgaard would have readers focus on my knowledge or lack, thereof, but it’s not my personal opinion about the applicability of Electric Double Layers in space environments that counts, but, rather, a whole body of scientific knowledge independent of me or my alleged lack of knowledge.
    In Dr. Svalgaard’s scheme of things, scientists, supporting the Electric Double Layer framework and its applicability to space plasma, seemingly, are only to be marginalized.
    Wikipedia entry for (Plasma) Double layer:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    I invite WUWT readers to review & study the Wikipedia link above and consider the evidence presented (notice an image of Saturn’s aurora is at the right-hand side of the Wikipedia webpage) .

  84. Temperatures on Saturn are normally −185 °C, temperatures on the North pole vortex often reach as high as −122 °C, changes in this temperature should change the rotation rate of the votex and hence the radio pulse frequency. The storm episodes that occur on Saturn roughly every 30yrs, might also have an impact on polar rotation speed (next node around 2020).

  85. James F. Evans says:
    August 7, 2010 at 11:18 am
    In Dr. Svalgaard’s scheme of things, scientists, supporting the Electric Double Layer framework and its applicability to space plasma, seemingly, are only to be marginalized.
    There aren’t any to marginalize. Note, that you have stated this so vaguely that it is devoid of meaning. There are no active scientists today who doubt that electric currents are formed by dynamo action on an existing magnetic field. There are no active scientists today who doubt that magnetic reconnection is a universal process that generates in the end the electric currents that are the cause of almost anything interesting.

  86. James F. Evans says:
    August 7, 2010 at 11:18 am
    In Dr. Svalgaard’s scheme of things…
    Just like ID is a front for religion, EU and Double Layers are just a front for the notion that the Sun is not powered by nuclear fusion, but by electric currents from the Galaxy. So, what is your stance on this? Nuclear fusion exclusively? right?

  87. This is the assertion:
    “When one makes a side-by-side comparison & analysis of the peer-reviewed papers purporting to describe “magnetic reconnection” with peer-reviewed papers describing Electric Double Layers, it is clear that both these sets of papers are describing one and the same event or dyanamic: Electric Double Layers.”
    I’ve seen no detailed attempt from Dr. Svalgaard to distinguish the two processes based on the observations & measurements of the relevant physical data.
    But that may not be necessary because NASA has a mission in the works to empirically observe & measure the physical event in question:
    From NASA:
    “NASA is going to launch a mission to get to the bottom of the mystery [of what physical processes drive the event in question]. It’s called MMS, short for Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, and it consists of four spacecraft which will fly through Earth’s magnetosphere to study reconnection [Electric Double Layer] in action. The mission passed its preliminary design review in May 2009 and was approved for implementation in June 2009. Engineers can now start building the spacecraft.”
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/31aug_mms/
    In the 1940’s, when the concept of “magnetic reconnection” was formulated, electric fields were not considered (one must question the adequacy of a theory which failed to address such an important physical factor as electric fields) . But with the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, electric fields will be considered, and, indeed, the electric fields will be empirically observed & measured in tandem with magnetic fields and the flows of free electrons & ions.
    I am confident that when detailed surveys are completed of the component parts, i.e., electric fields, magnetic fields, free electron & ion flow, and acceleration of charged particles, those surveys will reveal the structure, dynamics, and morphology consistent with Electric Double Layers.
    (Already, satellite probes have surveyed so-called “magnetic reconnection” events in space, and those surveys revealed dynamics which were consistent with the Electric Double Layer process.)
    It’s not the name or label that matters, it is the actual physical dynamics that count.

  88. James F. Evans says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:49 am
    I’ve seen no detailed attempt from Dr. Svalgaard to distinguish the two processes based on the observations & measurements of the relevant physical data.
    No need to as they are different in their very definition:
    Double layers occur between regions containing opposite electric charges, while reconnection happens between regions of opposite magnetic polarities. Reconnection is a topological rearrangement of magnetic field that converts magnetic energy to plasma kinetic energy.
    But that may not be necessary because NASA has a mission in the works to empirically observe & measure the physical event in question
    Magnetic reconnection has been studied in the laboratory since the 1960s

  89. James F. Evans says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:49 am
    I am confident that when detailed surveys are completed of the component parts
    The index of a modern text book:
    ‘Magnetic Reconnection in Plasmas’ by Dieter Biskamp
    Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching, Germany
    Cambridge Monographs on Plasma Physics (No. 3)
    Online Publication Date: December 2009
    does not contain an entry on electric double layers.

  90. Dr. Svalgaard presented Evans’ statement:
    “I’ve seen no detailed attempt from Dr. Svalgaard to distinguish the two processes based on the observations & measurements of the relevant physical data.”
    And Dr. Svalgaard responded: “No need to as they are different in their very definition: Double layers occur between regions containing opposite electric charges, while reconnection happens between regions of opposite magnetic polarities. Reconnection is a topological rearrangement of magnetic field that converts magnetic energy to plasma kinetic energy.”
    No, actually Electric Double Layers and “magnetic reconnection” are the same event.
    Dr. Svalgaard states: “reconnection happens between regions of opposite magnetic polarities.”
    When two bodies of moving plasma come into contact, each body of plasma, free electrons & ions, has its own magnetic field caused by the motion of the plasma. Many times these bodies of plasma have opposite polarities. Upon contact of the magnetic fields, the magnetic fields are compressed and the plasma begins to self-organize, where “regions containing opposite electric charge”, free electrons & ions, form. Then the electrons & ions are accelerated in opposite directions out “exhaust jets” from the “event” location.
    The “event” is not simply the contact of magnetic fields, but also, the interaction of electric fields, both emanated from the flowing “electrified particles”, it is the process of self-organization and the resultant organization & structure of the electrons & ions and their electric & magnetic fields which cause free electrons & ions to be accelerated in opposite directions.
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” (Electric Double Layers) incorporates a series of events ultimately causing particle acceleration.
    Dr. Svalgaard stated: “Reconnection is a topological rearrangement of magnetic field that converts magnetic energy to plasma kinetic energy.”
    Yes, there is a “topological rearrangement” of magnetic fields, but that is due to the movement and structure of the free electrons & ions. Magnetic fields are creatures of the movement of the charged particles.
    The “X” cross section that is part of the morphology of so-called “magnetic reconnection” is actually caused by crossed electric and magnetic fields as quantitatively described in the Electric Double Layer process.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Magnetic reconnection has been studied in the laboratory since the 1960s”
    Well, apparently, there are still many unanswered questions.
    From “Basics of Magnetic Reconnection” which Dr. Svalgaard linked previously in the thread:
    “While its effects are seen both near and far from home, reconnection is still poorly understood, making it one of the most important problems in plasma physics today.”
    So, not only does NASA acknowledge “magnetic reconnection” is not understood, but so does the very paper Dr. Svalgaard linked to — his evidence.
    More from the paper:
    “Plasma physics is an often controversial field, possibly due to its complexity, and debates over mechanisms for reconnection are far from settled.”
    “Classical reconnection theories require the poorly understood assumption of anomalous resistivity in order to achieve physically reasonable time scales, but a new theory based on decoupling of the electron and ion flows gives very promising results.”
    Ah, it seems they are getting warmer when they consider “electron and ion flows”.
    (But they are not there yet, as the paper studiously avoids mention of electric fields and the electric field’s effect on the overall process.)
    From the paper:
    V . CONCLUSION
    “As a theory, magnetic reconnection is still undergoing revolutionary changes…There is still much to be learned however, and certainly more experimental study of reconnection in natural processes is necessary.”
    http://www.phys.washington.edu/users/sharpe/486/schillacif.pdf
    Doesn’t sound like scientists know as much about so-called “magnetic reconnection” as Dr. Svalgaard would have readers believe.
    Perhaps, there is so much not understood about “magnetic reconnection” because the concept is faulty and inadequate to properly analyze & interpret the physical event at issue.
    On the other hand, the Electric Double Layer concept has the quantitative framework necessary to consider all the applicable forces and particles, i.e., electric fields, magnetic fields, and the motions of free electrons and ions.
    A double layer paper: Filamentary Structures in U-Shaped Double Layers, 2005:
    “Observations from the Polar and FAST satellites have revealed a host of intriguing features of the auroral accelerations processes in the upward current region (UCR). These features include: (i) large-amplitude parallel and perpendicular fluctuating as well as quasi-static electric fields in density cavities, (ii) fairly large-amplitude unipolar parallel electric fields like in a strong double layer (DL), (iii) variety of wave modes, (iv) counter-streaming of upward going ion beams and downward accelerated electrons, (v) horizontally corrugated bottom region of the potential structures (PS), in which electron and ion accelerations occur, (vi) filamentary ion beams in the corrugated PS, and (vii) both upward and downward moving narrow regions of parallel electric fields, inferred from the frequency drifts of the auroral kilometric radiations.”
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=2005AGUFMSM41C1202D&db_key=AST&data_type=HTML&format=&high=42ca922c9c05019
    By the way, there are plenty of plasma scientists that are familiar with Electric Double Layers:

  91. James F. Evans says:
    August 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    And Dr. Svalgaard responded: “No need to as they are different in their very definition: Double layers occur between regions containing opposite electric charges
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    “A double layer is a structure in a plasma and consists of two parallel layers with opposite electrical charge”
    “while reconnection happens between regions of opposite magnetic polarities. Reconnection is a topological rearrangement of magnetic field that converts magnetic energy to plasma kinetic energy.”:
    http://www.phys.washington.edu/users/sharpe/486/schillacif.pdf
    (also no mention of Double Layers)
    Enough said.

  92. James F. Evans says:
    August 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    By the way, there are plenty of plasma scientists that are familiar with Electric Double Layers:
    I’m one. I have discussed this often with Hannes Alfven. It is quite clear what the concepts are. That you don’t get it is your problem. Now, you avoided to answer my question about what generates the Sun’s energy. So, now is another chance…

  93. Dr. Svalgaard:
    It does not surprise me that a so-called “magnetic reconnection” paper would not mention Electric Double Layers, as demonstrated by your position, obviously, the two frameworks, “magnetic reconnection”, and, Electric Double Layers, are from rival schools of thought.
    Rival schools of thought rarely mention a bitterly opposed contrary school that has other ideas.
    This issue is not the labels, but the substance, the various physical items, that is being discussed.
    As stated from the paper, Basics of Magnetic Reconnection, you linked and I quoted: “Plasma physics is an often controversial field, possibly due to its complexity, and debates over mechanisms for reconnection are far from settled.”
    In the double layer paper, Filamentary Structures in U-Shaped Double Layers, previously linked, it was stated in the abstract, “These features include: (i) large-amplitude parallel and perpendicular fluctuating as well as quasi-static electric fields in density cavities, (ii) fairly large-amplitude unipolar parallel electric fields like in a strong double layer (DL)…”
    Now, a side-by-side comparison & analysis, of the peer-reviewed papers purporting to describe “magnetic reconnection” with peer-reviewed papers describing Electric Double Layers, is appropriate.
    The following quotes are from the peer-reviewed paper: Magnetopause reconnection impact parameters from multiple spacecraft magnetic field measurements published 30 October 2009.
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040228.pdf
    (Dr. Svalgaard, thank you for providing this paper, it’s instructive.)
    “Discrepancies between the measured components of E [electric field] and the corresponding components of v  B [magnetic field] after a careful error analysis signify a nonideal electric field. We intend to show in a subsequent paper that the Cluster electric field and particle flow data for this event satisfy the criteria for a parallel electric field.”
    “With the instantaneous coordinate system and the parallel electric field established, one can place particle moments, such as velocities, pressures, and temperatures, as well as magnetic and electric field measurements…”
    “Sufficiently accurate ion and electron moments and electric field measurements within this coordinate system delineate ion and electron diffusion regions.”
    These statements from the so-called “magnetic reconnection” paper mesh nicely with the abstract from the double layer paper.
    Both papers state “parallel electric fields” are important to the physical process described, respectively in the Electric Double Layer paper and the “magnetic reconnection” paper.
    Nice.
    The description in the paper puts this “parallel electric field” right at the heart of the process, the “X-line”.
    Another double layer paper:
    Parallel electric fields in the upward current region of the aurora: Indirect and direct observations, published 2002 Physics of Plasma
    http://www.space.irfu.se/exjobb/2003_erik_bergman/articles/PHP03685_ergun.pdf
    Authors:R. E. Ergun,a) L. Andersson, D. S. Main, and Y.-J. Su
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80303
    C. W. Carlson, J. P. McFadden, and F. S. Mozer
    Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
    Abstract (partial): “In this article we present electric field, magnetic field, and charged particle observations from the upward current region of the aurora focusing on the structure of electric fields at the boundary between the auroral cavity and the ionosphere. Over 100 high resolution measurements of the auroral cavity that were taken by the Fast Auroral Snapshot ~FAST! satellite are included in this study. The observations support earlier models of the auroral zone that held that quasi-static parallel electric fields are the primary acceleration mechanism…)
    And, here, is another so-called “magnetic reconnection” paper for comparison & analysis to put it in clearer relief. The following is the caption for a schematic of “magnetic reconnection” from the peer-reviewed paper, Recent in-situ observations of magnetic reconnection in near-Earth space, published 11 October 2008:
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL035297.pdf
    Figure 1. “(bottom [schematic, page 2 of 7] ) : “Zoom-in on the region around the X-line, with the ion and electron diffusion regions indicated by the shading and the rectangular box, respectively. The quadrupolar Hall magnetic field is pointing in and out of the plane of the figure. The Hall electric field is shown by the red arrows, while the blue arrows mark the oppositely directed jets in the outflow regions. Note that entry and acceleration occur all the way along the current sheet. Figure courtesy of Marit Oieroset.”
    To see the schematic in Figure 1. it is on the second page of seven of the PDF, please go to the link above of the paper:
    You’ll see that the “Hall electric field is shown by the red arrows” surrounds the X- line at the heart of the “reconnection” structure”.
    Electric fields are certainly not periphery. Actually, the “parallel electric fields”, where double layers get their name are right on both sides of the X – region.
    Dr. Svalgaard presented this index of a modern text book:
    ‘Magnetic Reconnection in Plasmas’ by Dieter Biskamp
    Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching, Germany
    Cambridge Monographs on Plasma Physics (No. 3)
    Online Publication Date: December 2009
    It’s an excellent example of the crisis in astronomy:
    This is a 2009 book on “magnetic reconnection” but it doesn’t have an index heading for “electric fields” in contrast to the two “magnetic reconnection” papers I’ve presented (with thanks to Dr. Svalgaard) which do discuss “electric fields” and make clear that “electric fields” are a central component of so-called “magnetic reconnection”.
    How complete is a text book on a subject that doesn’t discuss a central physical component of the physical process under discussion?
    Although, the text book does have a heading for “Debye Length”, which is a central issue for Electric Double Layers:
    Wikipedia entry for Debye length: “In plasma physics, the Debye length (also called Debye radius), named after the Dutch physicist and physical chemist Peter Debye, is the scale over which mobile charge carriers (e.g. electrons) screen out electric fields in plasmas and other conductors. In other words, the Debye length is the distance over which significant charge separation can occur. A Debye sphere is a volume whose radius is the Debye length, in which there is a sphere of influence, and outside of which charges are screened. The notion of Debye length plays an important role in plasma physics, electrolytes and colloids (DLVO theory).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debye_length
    So, I invite readers to engage in their own side-by-side comparison & analysis of “Electric Double Layer” papers (two) and so-called “magnetic reconnection” papers (the two papers I link in this comment) and it becomes apparent the two processes are actually one and the same process.
    Not withstanding Dr. Svalgaard’s protests to the contrary.
    Facts are inconvenient things.

  94. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 11:18 am
    the two frameworks, “magnetic reconnection”, and, Electric Double Layers, are from rival schools of thought.
    There are no rival schools of thought. I do not know of ANY practicing plasma physicist who claims the EDL and MR are the same thing.
    There is no rivalry, no schools of thought, no two frameworks. No bitter dispute between people who know what they are talking about.
    Rival schools of thought rarely mention a bitterly opposed contrary school that has other ideas.
    Scientists actually do this all the time. It is part of publishing a scientific paper [and peer-review helps to enforce this] that the paper references opposing views. Now, people with an agenda are the ones that do not mention rivals.
    Facts are inconvenient things.
    As I have said so many times, magnetic reconnection often results in EDLs, but can also proceed without any electrical effects: just twirl a toy magnetic in free air and you have reconnection going on all the time. Reconnection is about changing magnetic topology. If a conductor is present, electric currents may result. Perhaps you could make a little drawing of a reconnection region and put the EDL on it so it is clear what you are talking about.
    The important issue is that magnetic fields and moving neutral plasma are the ingredients in magnetic reconnection. Electric effects follow.
    And you still avoid to answer my simple question: what powers the sun? the answer to that may show your agenda and that may be why you avoid the question.

  95. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 11:18 am
    Your wiki link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debye_length has this quote:
    Hannes Alfven pointed out that: “In a low density plasma, localized space charge regions may build up large potential drops over distances of the order of some tens of the Debye lengths. Such regions have been called electric double layers. An electric double layer is the simplest space charge distribution that gives a potential drop in the layer and a vanishing electric field on each side of the layer.
    In the solar wind the Debye length is 10 meters and in the magnetosphere it is 100 m, so fro space plasma the region with the potential drop [the EDL] is of the order of a kilometer or less. Outside of that region there is a no electric field according to Alfven [and everybody else].
    And how does “localized space charge regions build up large potential drops”? By that action of the magnetic field in those small regions. This is the fundamental process.

  96. Dr. Svalgaard states: “Reconnection is about changing magnetic topology.”
    And, to come to a full understanding of the underlying causes of that “changing magnetic topology” one must investigate the movements of the “electrified particles”, and the electric fields, just as the two “magnetic reconnection” papers I presented show.
    But let’s stick to the facts.
    What about the fact that the text book’s index you linked doesn’t have a heading for “electric fields” when it is clear that electric fields are central to the “magnetic reconnection” process as described in the two “magnetic reconnection” papers I presented?
    What about the fact that “parallel electric field” described in both the double layer papers and the “magnetic reconnection” papers?
    What about the “transverse” or ‘perpendicular” electric fields discussed in both sets of papers?
    What about the “X” cross section where electric and magnetic fields cross, and, seems to be central to the acceleration of the particles in both sets of papers?
    What about the crossed electric and magnetic fields as quantitatively described in the Electric Double Layer process and evidently also important to the “magnetic reconnection” as demonstrated by the two “magnetic reconnection” papers where they discuss the “X” cross section and present it in schematic form?
    What about the fact that both sets of papers talk about “pressures” (“magnetic reconnection” paper) and “density cavities” (Electric Double Layer paper)?
    What about the paper you presented, Basics of Magnetic Reconnection, that stated magnetic reconnection is “poorly understood”, “controversial”, “far from settled”, and “undergoing revolutionary changes”?
    Dr. Svalgaard, we are not discussing “toy magnets” that don’t do anything (is any energy focussed or transferred anywhere by spinning your toy magnet), we are discussing space phenomenon where large amounts of energy are focussed and transferred via “electrified particles”.
    I bring facts & evidence via presentation of peer-reviewed published scientific papers…but Dr. Svalgaard wants to focus on whether or not there is any rivalry.
    Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether there is a rivalry or not.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Perhaps you could make a little drawing of a reconnection region and put the EDL on it so it is clear what you are talking about.”
    Obviously, this is not the forum for “little drawings”, but the so-called “reconnection” region with its “X” cross section is the Electric Double Layer region with crossed electric fields and magnetic fields.
    Dr. Svalgaard quoted the Wikipedia entry for Debye Length: “Hannes Alfven pointed out that: ‘In a low density plasma, localized space charge regions may build up large potential drops over distances of the order of some tens of the Debye lengths. Such regions have been called electric double layers. An electric double layer is the simplest space charge distribution that gives a potential drop in the layer and a vanishing electric field on each side of the layer’.”
    And, for proper context, the rest of the Hannes Alfven quote: “In the laboratory, double layers have been studied for half a century, but their importance in cosmic plasmas has not been generally recognized.”.
    And Dr. Leif Svalgaard is doing his best to keep it that way in spite of the mass of facts & evidence stacked against his position.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “In the solar wind the Debye length is 10 meters and in the magnetosphere it is 100 m, so fro space plasma the region with the potential drop [the EDL] is of the order of a kilometer or less. Outside of that region there is a no electric field according to Alfven [and everybody else].”
    But there is an electric field in that region and it is central to both Electric Double Layers and so-called “magnetic reconnection”…wonder why?
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “In the solar wind the Debye length is 10 meters…”
    That would necessarily mean that there is an Electric Double Layer in the solar wind, which means there are electric fields in the solar wind and that electric currents are generated in the solar wind.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “…in the magnetosphere it [Debye Length] is 100 m…”
    That would necessarily mean that there are Electric Double Layers in the magnetosphere, which means there are electric fields in the magnetosphere and that electric currents are generated in the magnetosphere.
    This I have already stated: Colliding flows of plasma (and their attendant magnetic fields) will give rise to electric currents.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “And how does ‘localized space charge regions build up large potential drops’? By that action of the magnetic field in those small regions. This is the fundamental process.”
    It is the combination of magnetic fields and the “electrified particles” and their self-organization ability as Irving Langmuir described in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Remember, anyplace a plasma is present by definition there will be Coloumb attraction between the free electrons & ions (“electric” attraction). Now, that doesn’t have to be an organized field, per se, but that is why NASA sometimes refers to “electrified gas”. In that sense, plasma is “electrified”.
    So, in space, anyplace there is plasma, there will be “electrical attraction”.
    Upon collision of two bodies of flowing plasma (and the attendant magnetic fields) electric currents are generated and energy is transferred via those electric currents.
    Electric Double Layers are important in plasma dynamics and is an important dynamic where bodies of space plasma come into contact.
    It is the obfiscation of the concept & term, “magnetic reconnection”, which prevents astronomy from fully appreciating the central role the Fundamental Force of Electromagnetism has in space dynamics.

  97. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm
    So, in space, anyplace there is plasma, there will be “electrical attraction”.
    Not at all, as there is an equal amount of charges moving at high thermal speeds.
    Mozer has a good description of the process:
    “Magnetic field reconnection is defined as the process that occurs when magnetized plasmas with different magnetic field orientations flow together to alter the connectivity of the magnetic field.”
    http://solarmuri.ssl.berkeley.edu/~welsch/brian/FSL/2006/mozer_reconn_v4.pdf
    Note there is no mention of Electric Double Layers, as there aren’t any.
    The situation Mozer describes is what happens when the solar wind meets the magnetosphere. In the solar wind there is no electric field, but in the frame of the Earth there is an electric field E = V x B [V=solar wind speed, B=magnetic field]. The changing magnetic field generates the necessary currents. What you get wrong is the direction of causality: The magnetic field and the kinetic energy of the moving plasma is what generates all the electric fields and accelerations.
    And again: what powers to Sun? To get some credibility, you should not continue to evade this question.

  98. Dr. Svalgaard:
    I want to thank you for the Mozer paper. The paper is very enlightening.
    Some quotes from the paper:
    “The physics of reconnection depends on the electric field component out of the plane of Fig. 1 at the center of the figure, which is sometimes called the tangential electric field.”
    “If it is zero [the Electric field], the two plasmas flow around each other into or out of the plane of the figure because there is no ExB/B2 flow in the plane of the figure in this central region.”
    So, no electric field — then, there is no “reconnection”.
    Continuing from the Mozer paper:
    “On the other hand, if the tangential electric field is non-zero, the plasmas continue flowing towards each other into the central region of the figure and magnetic field reconnection occurs as discussed below.”
    The Mozer paper asks the question: “Why has there been so much theoretical interest in making Eo large?”
    And, then, the Mozer paper answers the question:
    “Consider the current out of the plane in the central region of Fig.1, which is required by the curl of the magnetic field. A non-zero electric field results in a positive value of j·E in the central region of the figure and conversion of electromagnetic energy into particle energy, which is what magnetic field reconnection is all about.”
    Please focus on and highlight: “conversion of electromagnetic energy into particle energy [kinetic energy], which is what magnetic field reconnection is all about.”
    Seems the author of the paper, F. S. Mozer, considers electromagnetic energy central to this process, whether the process is called Electric Double Layers or “magnetic reconnection”.
    The Mozer paper asks the question: “Where does the energy associated with this positive j·E originate?”
    “To answer this question, an analogy will be made with the electric circuit of Fig. 2, consisting of a battery and a resistor. From freshman physics, the electromagnetic energy conversion rate is VI where V is the battery voltage and I is the current.”
    Ah, an “electric circuit”, much as Hannes Alfven theorized and demonstrated empirically in the laboratory.
    “If the EMF [electromotiveforce] (in the case of Fig.2, a battery) is constant, the energy conversion rate is constant.”
    “This is just one example of problems arising from misinterpretation of the concept of moving magnetic field lines.”
    One of the prior commenters spoke to this “misinterpretation of the concept of moving magnetic field lines.”
    The Mozer paper asks the question: “Where does the converted electromagnetic energy go?”
    And, then, answers: “It accelerates the plasma in the central region of Fig. 1 just as the resistor in Fig. 2 warms up due to energy conversion from the battery.”
    More language consistent with an “electric circuit” model just as Hannes Alfven advocated.
    “The flux, not the energy, of the ions emerging from the diffusion region increases with the increasing magnitude of the reconnection electric field, Eo.”
    The Mozer paper asks the question: “What happens to the plasma that is accelerated by the electromagnetic energy conversion?”
    The author, Mozer, makes explicit reference to Maxwell’s equations:
    “…the magnitude of the magnetic field evolves as is required by Maxwell’s equations if magnetic field lines move with the ExB/B2 velocity.”
    And everybody knows that Maxwell’s equations describe a reciprical relationship between magnetic fields & electric fields. In other words, you can’t have magnetic fields without the presence of the Coloumb attraction, the attraction between opposite charges due to Coulomb force, in a plasma where there is the presence of free electrons & ions.
    Further from the Mozer paper: “This violation of Maxwell’s equations means that there must be a parallel electric field in the central region such that the magnetic field evolution in this region cannot be obtained by any means other than solving Maxwell’s equations.”
    There’s that pesky “parallel electric field”, right at the heart of the so-called “magnetic reconnection”, just as I have repeatedly asserted.
    Further from the Mozer paper:
    “The discussion thus far has left many unanswered questions. For example:
    • How do the ions and electrons move to create the current, j?
    • How are the ions accelerated to the Alfven speed?
    • How is the parallel electric field in the central region generated?
    These questions will all be discussed through application of the Generalized Ohm’s Law as derived from the two-fluid equations of motion for a unit volume of plasma, which are (Spitzer, 1956):”
    The framework used to understand so-called “magnetic reconnection” is an electromagnetic framework.
    Further from the Mozer paper:
    “This requires an electric field, En, perpendicular to the magnetic field and pointing towards the center of Fig. 8 from both sides in the ion diffusion region.
    Figure 8”
    Ah, mention of “perpendicular electric field”.
    This is a critical paragraph from the Mozer paper:
    “The electric field, En, existing along the dashed X in Fig. 8 over a scale size of c/ωpi, has a non-zero divergence so it must result from charge separation. This requires that electrons move along the magnetic field lines into the dashed box to create the charge separation. The parallel (to B) electric field in the dashed box accelerates these electrons to the outgoing ion bulk velocity, after which they are ejected into the upper and lower central regions. Thus, the average parallel electric field in the dashed box must be downward (upward) in the upper (lower) part of the dashed box.”
    “Parallel electric field” same as in an Electric Double Layer.
    “Charge seperation” same as in an Electric Double Layer.
    The side-by-side comparison & analysis between this “magnetic reconnection” paper and the full length Electric Double Layer paper, previously linked, strongly suggests the authors of the respective papers are discussing the same physical event.
    The Mozer paper asks the question: “What is the nature of the parallel electric field inside the dashed box of Fig. 8?”
    And, then, answers:
    “The right side of equation 11 must differ from zero in this region because of the parallel electric field on the left side. Thus, the parallel electric field must be associated with the time derivative of j (inertial effects), the divergence of the pressure tensor, or finite resistivity. Experimental data suggests that it is associated with the pressure tensor (Mozer et al, 2002; Mozer, 2005), but this is an important issue that remains to be fully resolved.”
    This paper supports my assertions about the relationship or reality that so-called “magnetic reconnection” is the same “event” as an Electric Double Layer.
    True, the author doesn’t use “Electric Double Layer”…he doesn’t have to, all the constituent processes he outlines are consistent with physical processes associated with Electric Double Layers.

  99. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm
    again: what powers the Sun? That you continue to evade this question shows your reluctance to expose your agenda.
    I want to thank you for the Mozer paper. The paper is very enlightening.
    If was supposed to, but, alas, you completely misunderstand almost every sentence. I was hoping you would react extensively so that your misunderstanding would become evident, and you nicely obliged.
    True, the author doesn’t use “Electric Double Layer”…he doesn’t have to, all the constituent processes he outlines are consistent with physical processes associated with Electric Double Layers.
    Except that you have cause and effect reversed. Mozer does not.
    About ‘no electric field – no reconnection’: the E = V x B electric field in the frame of the magnetosphere is generated by the neutral plasma streaming into a [stationary] magnetic field, so the electric field owes its existence to the magnetic field, here and everywhere else in the cosmos. Charge separation is due to the magnetic field [deflecting opposite charges in opposite directions].
    again: what powers the Sun? That you continue to evade this question shows your reluctance to expose your agenda.

  100. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm
    again: what powers the Sun? That you continue to evade this question shows your reluctance to expose your agenda.
    I want to thank you for the Mozer paper. The paper is very enlightening.
    If was supposed to, but, alas, you completely misunderstand almost every sentence. I was hoping you would react extensively so that your misunderstanding would become evident, and you nicely obliged.
    Here is something on laboratory evidence of reconnection:
    http://www.pppl.gov/pub_report/1997/PPPL-3236.pdf
    The thnig you have to learn is that everything interesting is due to electric currents and that electric currents are due to dynamo processes where a neutral plasma is driven across a magnetic field. If two plasmas with opposite magnetic fields are driven together, magnetic reconnection greatly enhances their interaction.
    again: what powers the Sun? That you continue to evade this question shows your reluctance to expose your agenda.

  101. Dr. Svalgaard:
    The Mozer paper speaks for itself, and, no, I haven’t misunderstood the paper.
    It is you, who can’t accept that the presented scientific papers contradict your world-view.
    From the Mozer paper:
    “The physics of reconnection depends on the electric field component out of the plane of Fig. 1 at the center of the figure, which is sometimes called the tangential electric field.”
    “If it is zero [the Electric field], the two plasmas flow around each other into or out of the plane of the figure because there is no ExB/B2 flow in the plane of the figure in this central region.”
    It’s straightforward, “The physics of reconnection depends on the electric field component…”
    No electric field, no “reconnection”. In other words, the presence of the “tangential electric field” is a necessary prerequisite.
    The author, F. S. Mozer, even provides an example of where there is no “tangential electric field” and, thus, no “reconnection”. I don’t know how the author could make it any clearer or more explicit.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “I was hoping you would react extensively so that your misunderstanding would become evident, and you nicely obliged.”
    Actually, primarily, I let the paper speak for itself by simply quoting the Mozer paper with minimal additional comments.
    I submit the only thing evident is Dr. Svalgaard’s unwillingness to acknowledge the obvious, hoping that some readers would accept his pronouncements.
    The problem is that the scientific papers presented don’t support Dr. Svalgaard’s prouncements.
    No, I don’t have cause & effect reversed and nether do the scientists that authored the Electric Double Layer papers.
    You see, Dr. Svalgaard, your problem is not with me, it’s with any Science that contradicts your world-view. You have demonstrated this many times.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “…the E = V x B electric field in the frame of the magnetosphere is generated by the neutral plasma streaming into a [stationary] magnetic field, so the electric field owes its existence to the magnetic field…”
    Can you point to where the Mozer paper agrees with the above comment.
    Evans wrote: “…you can’t have magnetic fields without the presence of the Coloumb attraction, the attraction between opposite charges due to Coulomb force, in a plasma where there is the presence of free electrons & ions.”
    If there is plasma, then there is Coulomb attraction between opposite charges, this Coulomb attraction can be called “electric force”.
    The definition of plasma: Free electrons & ions.
    You see, Dr. Svalgaard, an equally valid world-view is that everything started as plasma, with free electrons & ions, as Hannes Alfven postulated, “in the beginning was the plasma”.
    And, with plasma there must be “electric force” or Coulomb attraction between the free electrons & ions (opposite charges), or there wouldn’t be plasma — it would be neutral matter with no magnetic or electric fields.
    Dr. Svalgaard’s assertion, “charge seperation is due to the magnetic field” is an assumption. It’s equally valid to assert that magnetic fields are due to charge seperation. Maxwell’s equations assert that magnetic & electric fields are reciprical — there is no hiarchy to be derived from Maxwell’s equations.
    But Science does know that a stationary body of plasma will not have an organized magnetic field.
    But, obviously, Dr. Svalgaard will not accept my assertions, even if I said the sky is blue, Dr. Svalgaard would disagree.
    So better to let the scientific papers do the talking:
    The full, complete, and unabridged double layer paper:
    Parallel electric fields in the upward current region of the aurora: Indirect and direct observations, published 2002 Physics of Plasma
    http://www.space.irfu.se/exjobb/2003_erik_bergman/articles/PHP03685_ergun.pdf
    Authors:R. E. Ergun,a) L. Andersson, D. S. Main, and Y.-J. Su
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80303
    C. W. Carlson, J. P. McFadden, and F. S. Mozer
    Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720
    Abstract (partial): “In this article we present electric field, magnetic field, and charged particle observations from the upward current region of the aurora focusing on the structure of electric fields at the boundary between the auroral cavity and the ionosphere. Over 100 high resolution measurements of the auroral cavity that were taken by the Fast Auroral Snapshot ~FAST! satellite are included in this study. The observations support earlier models of the auroral zone that held that quasi-static parallel electric fields are the primary acceleration mechanism…These observations suggest that the parallel electric fields at the boundary between the auroral cavity and the ionosphere are self-consistently supported as oblique double layers.”
    The full, complete, and unabridged F. S. Mozer “magnetic reconnection” paper:
    http://solarmuri.ssl.berkeley.edu/~welsch/brian/FSL/2006/mozer_reconn_v4.pdf
    It needs to be noted and it supports my position: F. S. Mozer is also one of the authors of the Electric Double Layer paper linked to above.
    Readers, review the two papers and decide for yourself.

  102. James F. Evans says:
    August 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “…the E = V x B electric field in the frame of the magnetosphere is generated by the neutral plasma streaming into a [stationary] magnetic field, so the electric field owes its existence to the magnetic field…”
    Can you point to where the Mozer paper agrees with the above comment.

    Right off the bat in Figure 1, where the E = – V x B electric field is shown. Mozer does not need to specify the formula because every plasma physicist knows it by heart.
    Read the ‘Discussion’ part of http://www.leif.org/EOS/2001GL013014.pdf to learn what drives what.
    You seem to ignore that I have told you again and again that electric fields are of utmost importance and that they are generated by neutral plasma moving with respect to magnetic fields. Electric Double Layers can form when conditions are right, but have nothing to do with magnetic reconnection.
    Again: it is telling that you duck the question: what powers the Sun?

  103. This post is about Saturn’s aurora.
    Electric Double Layers have been identified in Earth’s aurora. It’s reasonable to postulate that Saturn’s aurora has similarities to Earth’s aurora (as well as differences).
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” has been claimed as also being associated with Earth’s aurora, but I have demonstrated by presenting both Electric Double Layer papers and “magnetic reconnection” papers that the physical processes occuring during the events are the same, and, just as important, are consistent with a full spectrum ELECTROMAGNETIC framework.
    Concepts & terms that fail to address electric fields, magnetic fields, motions of “electrified particles”, electric currents, and the free electrons & ions physical configurations are inadequate analytical tools.
    Failure to consider or observe & measure all aspects of the electromagnetic dynamic, including the electric field, the magnetic field, the motions and configurations of charged particles is negligent scientific conduct and won’t provide useful scientific data.
    What passes today as so-called “magnetic reconnection” is actually the Electric Double Layer physical process, an electromagnetic process.
    Thus, the key to understanding Saturn’s aurora is applying an electromagnetic framework, more specifically, the Electric Double Layer physical structure & process that has been studied in the laboratory for 50 years.
    The Fundamental Force of Electromagnetism is known to be scale independent and fractal.
    It is now apparent that when flowing currents of plasma, charged particles, collide with each other, in space, an Electric Double Layer is formed and electric currents are caused.
    In study of solar system dynamics, it is essential to consider all electromagnetic dynamics and the processes that are known to be associated with an electromagnetic framework.
    The Electric Double Layer is one of those processes:
    What has been claimed as so-called “magnetic reconnection” is actually an Electric Double Layer.
    The term & concept “magnetic reconnection” is an antiquated, pre-space age (1946), incomplete analytical tool, which did not consider electric fields or electric currents or the motions and configurations of charged particles. This failed analytical tool has been superceded by the full spectrum electromagnetic concept (if not yet term), Electric Double Layer.
    Scientific papers presented:
    Filamentary Structures in U-Shaped Double Layers, 2005
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=2005AGUFMSM41C1202D&db_key=AST&data_type=HTML&format=&high=42ca922c9c05019
    Parallel electric fields in the upward current region of the aurora: Indirect and direct observations, published 2002 Physics of Plasma
    http://www.space.irfu.se/exjobb/2003_erik_bergman/articles/PHP03685_ergun.pdf
    Magnetopause reconnection impact parameters from multiple spacecraft magnetic field measurements published 30 October 2009
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040228.pdf
    Recent in-situ observations of magnetic reconnection in near-Earth space, published 11 October 2008
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL035297.pdf
    Collisionless Magnetic Field Reconnection From First Principles: What It Can and Cannot Do
    http://solarmuri.ssl.berkeley.edu/~welsch/brian/FSL/2006/mozer_reconn_v4.pdf
    Readers review & decide.

  104. James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 9:50 am
    This post is about Saturn’s aurora.
    Electric Double Layers have been identified in Earth’s aurora.
    What has been claimed as so-called “magnetic reconnection” is actually an Electric Double Layer.

    Electric Double Layers often form in aurorae [near the Earth and Saturn], but the magnetic reconnection that helps create the conditions for their formation happen way out in the magnetotail, hundreds of times further out than the aurorae, so is clearly not the same thing, no matter how many times you misunderstand a paper I provide you with a link to.
    Again: what powers the Sun? This you dare not say for fear of exposing your agenda.

  105. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    Double layer (plasma):
    “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. Double layers are found in a wide variety of plasmas, from discharge tubes to space plasmas to the Birkeland currents supplying the Earth’s aurora, and are especially common in current-carrying plasmas. Compared to the sizes of the plasmas which contain them, double layers are very thin (typically ten Debye lengths), with widths ranging from a few millimeters for laboratory plasmas to thousands of kilometres for astrophysical plasmas.”
    The following is the caption for the image of Saturn’s aurora presented on the right-hand side of the Wikipedia webpage for the Double layer (plasma) entry:
    “Saturnian aurora whose reddish colour is characteristic of ionized hydrogen plasma.[1] Powered by the Saturnian equivalent of (filamentary) Birkeland currents, streams of charged particles from the interplanetary medium interact with the planet’s magnetic field and funnel down to the poles.[2] Double layers are associated with (filamentary) currents,[3][4] and their electric fields accelerate ions and electrons.[5]”
    ** numerals stand for footnotes of authorities in the Wikipedia entry, Double layer (plasma).
    Readers are invited to review the Wikipedia entry for Double Layers and compare & constrast the Wikipedia entry with the presented scientific papers for both Electric Double Layers and so-called “magnetic reconnection”.

  106. James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm
    “A double layer is a structure in a plasma and consists of two parallel layers with opposite electrical charge…
    Absolutely, but that has nothing to do with reconnection that occurs when you have two parallel magnetic fields being pressed together by neutral plasmas.
    Again: what powers the sun? This should be easy for you to demonstrate with your superior knowledge of the Electric Universe. I urge readers to ponder your reluctance to respond.

  107. Leif Svalgaard says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    August 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm
    James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm
    “A double layer is a structure in a plasma and consists of two parallel layers with opposite electrical charge…”
    Absolutely, but that has nothing to do with reconnection that occurs when you have two parallel magnetic fields with opposite polarities being pressed together by neutral plasmas.

  108. The peer-reviewed, published scientific papers say otherwise.
    “Neutral plasma” = Free electrons & ions subject to Coulomb attraction.
    Plasma:
    Free negative electron — Coulomb attraction — Positive ion
    Free negative electron — electric attraction — positive ion
    Plasma by its very nature is dynamic.
    The EMF (electromotiveforce) is billions of times stronger than gravity.
    Coulomb’s law is a law of physics describing the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles. It was studied and first published in 1783 by French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb and was essential to the development of the theory of electromagnetism. Nevertheless, the dependence of the electric force with distance (inverse square law) had been proposed previously by Joseph Priestley and the dependence with both distance and charge had been discovered, but not published, by Henry Cavendish, prior to Coulomb’s works.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coulomb's_law
    The “electric force” between free electrons & ions is present in plasma.

  109. James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm
    The “electric force” between free electrons & ions is present in plasma.
    No, in your own link to Debye Length: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debye_length
    It states [correctly] “In plasma physics, the Debye length (also called Debye radius), named after the Dutch physicist and physical chemist Peter Debye, is the scale over which mobile charge carriers (e.g. electrons) screen out electric fields in plasmas and other conductors.” This means that charges do not feel any electric force outside of the Debye radius. In the solar wind and interstellar space the Debye radius is only 10 meter.
    Again: what powers the Sun? This you dare not say for fear of exposing your agenda.

  110. “At the International Space Station, roughly 350 kilometres away from the surface of the Earth, there are around 10 trillion particles per cubic meter. 100,000 kilometres from the Earth (over a third of the way to the Moon, where there is absolutely no influence from the Earth’s atmosphere), there are around seven million particles per cubic metre. At the edge of the Solar System, the density is down to about a thousand atoms per cubic metre.”
    It would seem the density per cubic meter of charged particles, plasma, is enough for free electrons & ions to exert Coulomb force on each other.
    So, no, your response is false.

  111. James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    It would seem the density per cubic meter of charged particles, plasma, is enough for free electrons & ions to exert Coulomb force on each other.
    But since there are equal number of both charges they all cancel out.

  112. James F. Evans says:
    August 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    It would seem the density per cubic meter of charged particles, plasma, is enough for free electrons & ions to exert Coulomb force on each other.
    And you evaded to answer what powers the Sun?

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