Snowstorm on a Comet

From Science@ NASA

NASA has just issued a travel advisory for spacecraft: Watch out for Comet Hartley 2, it is experiencing a significant winter snowstorm.

Deep Impact photographed the unexpected tempest when it flew past the comet’s nucleus on Nov. 4th at a distance of only 700 km (435 miles). At first, researchers only noticed the comet’s hyperactive jets. The icy nucleus is studded with them, flamboyantly spewing carbon dioxide from dozens of sites. A closer look revealed an even greater marvel, however. The space around the comet’s core is glistening with chunks of ice and snow, some of them possibly as large as a basketball.

Comet Snowstorm (snowstorm, 550px)

This contrast-enhanced image obtained during Deep Impact’s Nov. 4th flyby of Comet Hartley 2 reveals a cloud of icy particles surrounding the comet’s active nucleus. [larger image]

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” says University of Maryland professor Mike A’Hearn, principal investigator of Deep Impact’s EPOXI mission. “It really took us by surprise.”

Before the flyby of Hartley 2, international spacecraft visited four other comet cores—Halley, Borrelly, Wild 2, and Tempel 1. None was surrounded by “comet snow.” Tempel 1 is particularly telling because Deep Impact itself performed the flyby. The very same high resolution, high dynamic range cameras that recorded snow-chunks swirling around Hartley 2 did not detect anything similar around Tempel 1.

“This is a genuinely new phenomenon,” says science team member Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland. “Comet Hartley 2 is not like the other comets we’ve visited.”

The ‘snowstorm’ occupies a roughly-spherical volume centered on Hartley 2’s spinning nucleus. The dumbbell-shaped nucleus, measuring only 2 km from end to end, is tiny compared to the surrounding swarm. “The ice cloud is a few tens of kilometers wide–and possibly much larger than that,” says A’Hearn. “We still don’t know for sure how big it is.”

Data collected by Deep Impact’s onboard infrared spectrometer show without a doubt that the particles are made of frozen H2O, i.e., ice. Chunks consist of micron-sized ice grains loosely stuck together in clumps a few centimeters to a few tens of centimeters wide.

Comet Snowstorm (spectra, 550px)

This plot compares the infrared spectra of particles surrounding Comet Hartley 2 (black crosses) to spectra of pure water ice grains in the laboratory (purple lines). Micron-sized grains provide the best match. What it means: Hartley 2’s snowballs are made of small bits of H20.

“If you held one in your hand you could easily crush it,” says Sunshine. “These comet snowballs are very fragile, similar in density and fluffiness to high-mountain snow on Earth.”

Even a fluffy snowball can cause problems, however, if it hits you at 12 km/s (27,000 mph). That’s how fast the Deep Impact probe was screaming past the comet’s nucleus. An impact with one of Hartley 2’s icy chunks could have damaged the spacecraft and sent it tumbling, unable to point antennas toward Earth to transmit data or ask for help. Mission controllers might never have known what went wrong.

“Fortunately, we were out of harm’s way,” notes A’Hearn. “The snow cloud does not appear to extend out to our encounter distance of 700 km. Sunlight sublimates the icy chunks before they can get that far away from the nucleus.”

The source of the comet-snow may be the very same garish jets that first caught everyone’s eye.

The process begins with dry ice in the comet’s crust. Dry ice is solid CO2, one of Hartley 2’s more abundant substances. When heat from the sun reaches a pocket of dry ice—poof!—it instantly transforms from solid to vapor, forming a jet wherever local topography happens to collimate the outrushing gas. Apparently, these CO2 jets are carrying chunks of snowy water ice along for the ride.

Comet Snowstorm (jetmodel, 550px)

An artist’s concept of Comet Hartley 2 shows how CO2 jets drag water ice out of nucleus, producing a ‘comet snowstorm.’ [larger image]

Because the snow is driven by jets, “it’s snowing up, not down,” notes science team member Peter Schultz of Brown University.

Ironically, flying by Hartley 2 might be more dangerous than actually landing on it. The icy chunks are moving away from the comet’s surface at only a few m/s (5 to 10 mph). A probe that matched velocity with the comet’s nucleus  in preparation for landing wouldn’t find the drifting snowballs very dangerous at all–but a high-speed flyby is another matter. This is something planners of future missions to active comets like Hartley 2 will surely take into account.

Comet snowstorms could be just the first of many discoveries to come. A’Hearn and Sunshine say the research team is only beginning to analyze gigabytes of data beamed back from the encounter, and new results could be only weeks or months away.

Stay tuned for updates from Comet Hartley 2.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

 

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56 thoughts on “Snowstorm on a Comet

  1. I suspect that the reason the ‘waist’ emits water vapor, and the two nodes have jets and snowballs has to do with the theory that these are two nuclei stuck together, and also that the ice needles and snowballs that don’t achieve the very low escape velocity, will tend to fall back towards the barycenter – the waist – and they’ve already lost most of the C02 which they might have had. As a result you have ‘snowfall’ at that location, so naturally when warmed, it emits primarily water vapor. This fallback may also explain the appearances of comet nuclei which almost have a ‘weathered’ look to them.

  2. OK. So far it seems everything takes “scientists” by surprise. Hey, I’m a pilot and lots of things took me by surprise , but I never said I was a”pilot scientist” or professed what I saw or observed was a fact or made up some fiction as to what I observed. I am completely saturated with this crap. Not all comets are a dirty snowballs. What a bunch of crap! It is as stupid as saying Columbus discovered N. America after seeing the artifacts from S. America , Canada , Alaska, Greenland, etc, etc. There is more to it than a dirty snowball.

  3. As a young lad, I naively believed that by now (2011) mankind could rope one of these bad boys and space-based robotic mining units retrieve and separate all minerals and water.

  4. I think many people don’t watch the weather and have no idea what is coming from week to week.
    I’m a pretty good news hound but from the news programs you watch on TV you wouldn’t have any idea a cold front is on its way down. A big change is on the way.
    I’m guilty of not knowing what the weather was going to be for the past 6 weeks or so. I was interested in different things
    The news I got about this big cold front was right here on WUWT. Tonight I turned on the Weather Channel to see what is was all about.
    All I’m saying is, a lot of people for whatever reason have no idea it’s going to be getting a lot colder.

  5. [probably the worst, most off topic comment ever, TSA and Janet Napalitano have nothing to do with this story…..SNNNNNIP!]

  6. This whole body scanner thing is like a science experiment. You should look at it from it’s inception to what we have today. It’s quite fascinating. I’m sure the psychology community will make a must review case study of it in the future.

  7. Even now there are teams of environmental lawyers and scientists trying to figure out how to bring Hartley 2 within a global emissions trading scheme …

  8. Beautiful … utterly amazing.
    Even better, just 1 of these is all that’s needed to rubbish all 100 year climate forecasts … if it were closer we’d have something to really worry about, instead of computer models.

  9. Beautiful, and a great post, thank you!
    I’ve always been curious just how much the random jetting can impact a comet’s delta-v. From what I understand, it’s enough to alter their course slightly in some case, enough to make one predicted be be an earth-grazer on the outbound leg from the sun problematic to predict precisely. (There was a very entertaining Sci-Fi book called Lucifer’s Hammer based roughly on that theory).
    However, given the main topic of this blog, I shocked that none of you see the real danger here; clearly, this comet is melting. Therefor, it can only be due to global warming…

  10. Arizona CJ says:
    November 19, 2010 at 12:27 am

    I shocked that none of you see the real danger here; clearly, this comet is melting. Therefor, it can only be due to global warming…

    And it is obviously due to all that CO2 being released – my model told me so when I programmed it to say that.

  11. ‘NASA has just issued a travel advisory for spacecraft: Watch out for Comet Hartley 2, it is experiencing a significant winter snowstorm.’
    Is Al Gore riding on the comet?

  12. When heat from the sun reaches a pocket of dry ice—poof!—it instantly transforms from solid to vapor, forming a jet wherever local topography happens to collimate the outrushing gas. Apparently, these CO2 jets are carrying chunks of snowy water ice along for the ride.

    Give me a minute… let me get my ducks in a row on this one.
    1) Heat from the sun is warming the surface of the comet.
    2) The comet has an atmosphere full of two greenhouse gases: CO2 and H2O.
    3) The comet’s atmosphere is so cold that H2O is in the form of snow and ice.
    Conclusion:
    NASA Climatologists need to talk with professor Mike A’Hearn – left hand meets right hand – and agree a common line regarding Greenhouse Gases.
    jack morrow says:
    November 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm
    professed what I saw or observed was a fact or made up some fiction as to what I observed. I am completely saturated with this crap…. There is more to it than a dirty snowball.

    I am with Jack Morrow on this one… they make up so many stories… you never know whether to believe them… it’s the Cry Wolf syndrome… but I will go with there is more to it than a dirty snowball.

  13. Comment: The Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 was perhaps the most successful space mission for confirming Electric Universe predictions and confounding the consensus view of comets as inert, primordial icy bodies. If the scientific method were truly applied, the puzzles from Deep Impact 1 should have been cause for a review, not just of the current paradigm but also of every choice that led up to it.
    Of all the forces we know, there is none stronger than a paradigm.
    – Robert Stirniman.
    I am grateful for WUWT and the many contributors as there is always 2 or more ways of observing things and This site being a weather watch dog with lots info has me stooping by and growing .I thought I would post this link above as they also provide a different opinion that allows me to escape from the power of the old paradigm ….peace

  14. > There is more to it than a dirty snowball.
    The dirty snowball concept was derived from Earth-based observations and was never meant to be the bottom line, hence the interest in sending actual probes to comets. I think the biggest problem with this article come from the author, it seems influenced from reading tabloids in the grocery store check out lane. Instead of filtering inane statements from scientists giddy from some great data and lack of sleep, they form the core of the press release. Combined with uncredited statements like “When heat from the sun reaches a pocket of dry ice – poof! – it instantly transforms from solid to vapor” it’s time to abandon the text and concentrate on the photos.
    The similar story at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-387 is much better and could readily replace this post.
    I’d post it here, but the link has extra photos of the comet, so if you’ve made past some of the inane comments to this post, check out the NASA page.

  15. As an astronomy buff, that’s an astonishing photo — it goes into my archive.
    We need to find a way to grab some pristine comet fragments & return them to earth for study.

  16. Malaga View says:
    November 19, 2010 at 2:14 am
    When heat from the sun reaches a pocket of dry ice—poof!—it instantly transforms from solid to vapor, forming a jet wherever local topography happens to collimate the outrushing gas. Apparently, these CO2 jets are carrying chunks of snowy water ice along for the ride.
    Give me a minute… let me get my ducks in a row on this one.
    1) Heat from the sun is warming the surface of the comet.
    2) The comet has an atmosphere full of two greenhouse gases: CO2 and H2O.
    3) The comet’s atmosphere is so cold that H2O is in the form of snow and ice.
    Conclusion:
    NASA Climatologists need to talk with professor Mike A’Hearn – left hand meets right hand – and agree a common line regarding Greenhouse Gases.
    —————————–
    The comet is composed on H2O and CO2, it doesn’t have an atmosphere of those compounds. It’s much like the moon, where the temperature can range from -153 to +107 degrees C depending on whether you’re on the sunny side or not.
    It sounds like your ducks are in the same shape as the Monty Python Parrot on that one I’m afraid!

  17. The Lucifer’s Hammer comment touched on what I was thinking.
    What happens when a “dirty” comet strikes Earth. Suppose there are really BIG comets out there, that only come around every 10K or so years. If the Warmistas want to worry about climate change, they can have it all, GHG, eruptions, radiation (x-rays and better from ionized molecules during atmospheric transit.
    I’d want a distant seat – say Mars – and some popcorn.

  18. In the weird conception of the “Flintstones’ Pebbles Universe” theorists, comets are made of ICE-CREAM. Plasma and electricity does not plays any role in the universe, and they are all the time running after phantoms created by their own imagination,
    As we are living in “interesting times”, where ALL nanny paradigms, concocted by a fantastic “post normal science” will inevitably die, the same as the French Revolution’s circle of 400 degrees or the square angle of 100 degrees, all these devised and invented with the sole purpose of making the peoples of the world ignorant of the laws transmitted from old, by all sages from the past, as Pythagoras and others, in order to build a complete secular society, where there would not exist anymore any references that anyone could relate with the laws really governing the cosmos, where there were no “laws” whatsoever, no “canon”, nothing but “chaos”.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/43332150/Unified-Field-Explained-9

  19. Let me get MY ducks in a row. We are constantly searching for water and carbon in our universe. So here we have a comet filled with the stuff. So where did the water and carbon based lifeforms that resulted in an abundance of CO2 in this comet come from? Is it debris from our own planet collisions ejected out to an orbit? Or is it debris from another planet? If it’s from another planet is it one of ours from our Solar system, or one of “theirs”?

  20. The EU model predicts that all active comets will exhibit frequent, short outbursts in different spots on their surface. The outbursts happen because they are electrical discharge phenomena, known technically as (cold) cathode jets. Their onset will be as sudden as an electric spark (described in one report as “nearly instantaneous”) and their duration extended only because space plasma has a limited current carrying capacity. The jets will focus on an extremely small bright area generally situated on a raised point or edge of the comet surface. In July 2004, I wrote in relation to Comet Wild 2: “In the electric theory, unresolved bright spots are to be expected where the cathode arcs impinge on the nucleus and give rise to the cathode jets. What do we find? “The most significant albedo, or at least brightness, features are rare small bright spots that occur in multiple images at different phase angles …ruling out the possibility that it is a phase effect or image artifact. In stereo images, it [a <50-m bright spot at the edge of a flat-floored depression] has no height. There is an adjacent shadow-like dark spot that could be the shadow of an optically thick jet… The bright spots are small and rare, suggesting that they may be short-lived.” Some of the jet sources are reported as tending “to coincide with the locations that are brighter than average.” The jets will form on the comet nucleus closest to its plasma sheath and where the electric field is strongest. Since the plasma sheath is generally closest in the solar direction, it has given rise to the notion that solar heating is responsible for comet jets. However, the solar wind strongly influences the comet’s plasma sheath, which may give rise to jets occurring on unlit areas of the comet.
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=nq9zna2m
    No need to say we need an “Astrophysical Gate” now…… Buy more popcorn!

  21. Pamela Gray says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:57 am
    Let me get MY ducks in a row. We are constantly searching for water and carbon in our universe. So here we have a comet filled with the stuff. So where did the water and carbon based lifeforms that resulted in an abundance of CO2 in this comet come from? Is it debris from our own planet collisions ejected out to an orbit? Or is it debris from another planet? If it’s from another planet is it one of ours from our Solar system, or one of “theirs”?
    ———————
    Not sure your ducks are looking that healthy either…
    Why do you need life forms to have made the CO2 in this comet? Venus’ atmosphere is 96.5% CO2 and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t made by any life forms. The same is true of Mars. Volcanoes spew out about 300 million tons of CO2 a year (about a hundred times less than humans emit though) and none of that is from life forms.

  22. 2km from end to end and how long would it take to evaporate giving off basketball sized chunks?
    quite unlike the phenomenon of snow, isnt it?

  23. SteveE says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:08 am
    It sounds like your ducks are in the same shape as the Monty Python Parrot on that one I’m afraid!

    Precisely my point… I don’t think many people do have their
    ducks in a row… but the plasma guys seem to be getting their cathode jets in a row.

    Pamela Gray says:
    November 19, 2010 at 6:57 am
    We are constantly searching for water and carbon in our universe.

    They didn’t bat an eyelid on that one… so best not to play poker with them… or is it just a case of Light On – Nobody Home… my guess is that they are just trying to bluff it out knowing full well that they hold a busted flush.

  24. I have a stupid question. If so many comets are releasing CO2, and those comets continue to fly in our general direction,….
    Would our gravity attract those CO2 molecules and increase our CO2 PPM density?

  25. tallbloke says:
    November 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm
    Interesting its “Tidal heating” (gravity turned back to IR radiation). But that’s contrary to the view of airtight compartments between different forms of energy(wrongly called “mass”) held by post normal science, where only LWR from the Sun warms up planets…
    That would enrage some known friars of the “holy astrophysical inquisition”. 🙂

  26. ….perhaps they will explain it by their current model, which by “reductio ab absurdum”, use imaginary numbers, obtained by reducing the two fundamental forces to just one vector: sq.root of -1.

  27. Could “snowstorm on a comet” be another phrase like “tempest in a teapot”?
    An analogy for something interesting, but of not much consequence, perhaps.
    Not unlike Cancun.

  28. In a world full of scientific chicanery, are we absolutely sure that’s an image of Hartley 2? It looks more like my dog’s tongue after slurping dropped hamburger off the patio!

  29. Quoting jack:
    November 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm
    OK. So far it seems everything takes “scientists” by surprise…What a bunch of crap! …There is more to it than a dirty snowball.
    Commenting:
    Speaking as a Scientist, “Lighten up, fly-boy!” D0 pilots have all the answers on incomplete data? Scientists observe and try to explain what they see. The better they see, the better they explain. Sometimes they don’t get it right and that makes hot dog pilots laugh. Most times they get it right and you airheads ignore it!

  30. Breckite says:
    November 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm
    > I want to ski the comet.
    Prepare to be rather disappointed. You’ll want to ski at a speed less than escape velocity. The orbital velocity for an object as dense as Earth is about 90 minutes, size cancels out in the math. Comets are much less dense, and the post’s “The icy chunks are moving away from the comet’s surface at only a few m/s (5 to 10 mph)” must be well above escape velocity.
    Even a “real” moon like Deimos has challenges to turn it into an exciting sporting event. I made a stab at writing an April Fool’s Day story about it, but I couldn’t find Deimos’ density and used Earth’s. Even with that I figured I’d leave the time aspect out of my description. Turned out pretty well, though. See http://wermenh.com/deimos.html . I updated the photo of Deimos a few years ago.
    Now, a jet pack and a mesh bag, and a goal of collecting the biggest volume of snowballs without them breaking up and pieces drifting through the mesh, that might be a bit of fun.

  31. From Science@ NASA article:
    “Data collected by Deep Impact’s onboard infrared spectrometer show without a doubt that the particles are made of frozen H2O, i.e., ice. Chunks consist of micron-sized ice grains loosely stuck together in clumps a few centimeters to a few tens of centimeters wide.”
    Regarding the “frozen H2O”, for anyone that may not have read it the link posted by Malaga View it says:
    “Most of the volatiles detected in cometary coma are formed not by solar heating but by electrical ‘cathode sputtering’ of the high-temperature minerals on the comet surface. The evidence for this comes from the ‘puzzling’ abundance (densities at least 100 times greater than expected) of negative ions near the nucleus. The negative ions combine with the positive hydrogen ions from the solar wind to give, amongst other things, the OH radical, which is then misinterpreted as signaling the presence of water ice on the comet. That is why all other means of detecting significant water ice on comets have generally failed.”
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/thunderblogs/thornhill.htm
    There is also this link on Hartley 2
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2010/arch10/101105hartley.htm

  32. Someone want to explain the difference between confirmation bias and what we have here?? I don’t see ice and snow. Why do they???

  33. One question.
    Isn’t this comet too far from the sun, according to their models of comet behavior, to have this type of jet action????

  34. A skeptic is someone who requires strong proof before they will accept strong claims. Judging by some of the comments in this thread there are a lot of non-skeptics here who apparently believe the most bizarre rubbish on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.
    Electric universe cultists. Please go away. Your theory is a bunch of incoherent drivel. What – you think a website full of diehard skeptics is going to give your pseudoscientific claptrap an uncritical reception? Go found your own website and leave us alone or we will mock you mercilessly at every opportunity.

  35. >Electric universe cultists. Please go away.
    Your knee jerk reaction sounds like some of the more extreme AGW people who refuse to consider another point of view.

  36. Gavin says:
    November 20, 2010 at 3:08 am
    Electric universe cultists. Please go away.

    That´s chemically pure fanaticism. It´s over buddy!. As the great George Carlin said:
    Pack you sh**s folks, WE are leaving”!!

  37. @Enneagram
    I think you’re pointing your finger at the wrong person. I was quoting Ian H’s comment at 11:58pm.
    I am open to the idea of an electric universe because the guys who research it can explain a lot of stuff that mainstream science can’t.

  38. Where is the data from the computer models?
    You know, the ones that’ll show exactly how many degrees Earth will warm up if the comet should enter the Earth’s atmosphere and dump all that carbon dioxide pollution.
    Come on, this is NASA! Where are Hansen and Gavin when you need them? This could toss Earth’s climate over a catastrophic tipping point and into a full-blown runaway greenhouse condition!

  39. From Ian H on November 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm:

    Electric universe cultists. Please go away. (…) Go found your own website and leave us alone or we will mock you mercilessly at every opportunity.

    Do you mean another website besides thunderbolts.info?

  40. Ian H says:
    November 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm
    Electric universe cultists. Please go away. Your theory is a bunch of incoherent drivel.

    Translation: The science is settled!
    Response: Roll eyes 🙂

  41. Ian H.,
    The observations & measurements of the physical perameters, the facts & evidence, support an electromagnetic analysis & interpretation.
    But at the very least, these observations & measurements require a critical comparison between the electromagnetic model versus the “dirty snowball” model — not a dismissive rejection.
    Interplanetary space (within the solar system) is a world of plasma (free electrons & ions) and with that plasma come magnetic & electric fields.
    Failure to acknowledge or take into account that physical fact dooms the validity of any model.
    A model to have any validity must take into account all physical dyamics present within the system being studied.
    The “dirty snowball” model is a gravity “only” model — that simply doesn’t account for all the physical dynamics we know are present and active within interplanetary space.

  42. Re: “Electric universe cultists. Please go away. Your theory is a bunch of incoherent drivel. What – you think a website full of diehard skeptics is going to give your pseudoscientific claptrap an uncritical reception? Go found your own website and leave us alone or we will mock you mercilessly at every opportunity.”
    It truly saddens me to see such uninformed hostility on the Internet. Let’s review some of the critical points that are being made by the EU theorists …
    EU Theory derives directly from plasma cosmology, which was once considered a direct competitor to the now-conventional Big Bang Theory. There was actually a time when these current conventional theories were ridiculed — and it is from one of these statements of ridicule that the term “Big Bang” was coined.
    Plasma cosmology remains a peer-reviewed subject. Papers are regularly published in IEEE’s Transactions on Plasma Sciences. And to the apparent dismay of many astrophysicists, IEEE remains the largest scientific institution in the world. It’s understood within cosmological circles that Big Bang Theorists generally refuse to read IEEE.
    Plasma cosmology’s “shocking” claim is that we can understand cosmic plasmas by studying laboratory plasmas. The reason why this is important is because most astrophysical textbooks readily admit within the introduction that 99% of the observable matter in space is matter within the plasma state.
    Now, up until 1986, the consensus view was that there existed no observational evidence for large-scale electromagnetic fields in space. All of that changed in 1986, when a magnetic field was for the first time observed to be associated with a galaxy at Germany’s Effelsberg. Since then, magnetic fields have also been observed to permeate intergalactic space as well, all the way up to the largest scales that we can observe on.
    The thing that all of the plasma cosmology critics need to own up to is this: In an observational sense, magnetic fields and electric currents tend to go hand-in-hand. Where you see one, within the laboratory at least, there is little doubt that you’ll see the other. However, what’s been going on in cosmology and astrophysics recently is that theorists are insisting that they retain a right to propose exotic “new physics” causes for these large-scale magnetic fields. It appears that they will accept virtually ANY unusual explanation for the magnetic fields SO LONG AS IT IS NOT ELECTRIC CURRENTS. To be clear, there exists no philosophy in this approach. It is not in the least scientific.
    The situation gets much worse though.
    As of the last decade or two, radio astronomers like Gerrit Verschuur — one of the world’s most famous — have been studying these interstellar structures called “anomalous high-velocity clouds.” They are anomalous because they exhibit redshifts which are extraordinary for their locations. And they are called “clouds” by astronomers and conventional theorists even as maps of these structures demonstrate, with little doubt, that they are HIGHLY FILAMENTARY. Verschuur is very clear on this.
    Now, the thing about these redshifts is that they are of course typically inferred to be the result of a motion relative to the observer. The thing is, the speeds have no satisfactory explanation within the conventional gravity-centric view. But, more than that, these filamentary structures exhibit very particular redshifts frequently observable in all-sky surveys of hydrogen (21-cm wavelength) at 50 km/s, 35 km/s, 13 km/s and 6 km/s.
    For those who have studied plasma cosmology — like Verschuur — these are very special redshifts because they are the critical ionization velocities for the universe’s dominant elements. A CIV occurs when charged particles are slammed into a neutral cloud of gas. The CIV emission depends upon the elemental makeup of the neutral cloud of gas. So, in a universe filled with hydrogen, any charged particles slamming into that cloud of neutral hydrogen will tend to emit hydrogen’s CIV. And in the process, the neutral cloud of gas will become ionized.
    Hannes Alfven predicted many years ago that these CIVs would be observed in space, just as they are observed in the laboratory. And to be clear, any observation of CIV’s affiliated with interstellar filaments would be a slam-dunk for plasma cosmology proponents, as it would demonstrate that the filaments are most certainly FLOWS OF ELECTRICITY.
    Verschuur is trying to tell the world — with great difficulty — that these “clouds” are not clouds at all — but rather interstellar flows of charged particles. The Big Bang Theory has no need for such an observation, nor any need for CIVs in space, so not surprisingly, these findings have failed to inspire much further investigation.
    And, instead, what we tend to get on the forums is a lot of misinformed talk about how the Electric Universe is so pseudo-scientific by people who haven’t even spent the time necessary to actually check on what it says and the status of its predictions.
    And every single one of you guys who clings to the Big Bang model need to realize that you are going along with this idea that astrophysicists and cosmologists can invent their own causes for the galactic-scale magnetic fields. This is the real pseudo-science, guys. Clearly, this approach is intended to suit the conclusions of the Big Bang Theory — which proposes that electromagnetism is subservient to gravity in this universe, even as the electric force is on the order of 10^36 times more powerful than the gravitational.
    It helps to go back to the 1950’s, before we sent probes into space. The timeline really does matter in cosmology, because at that time, as the Big Bang was gaining in credibility, everybody thought that the matter in space had to be the same state as the matter we observe here on Earth: gases, liquids and solids.
    But, the observation that space is populated instead by matter in the plasma state above all others as the universe’s preference, should have had more impact upon cosmological thinking. After all, to think that we can change the state of matter for the entire universe, and not have any profound effects upon our cosmological beliefs as a result, is really quite extraordinary.
    But, sure enough, within time, the mathematical models for cosmic plasmas would diverge from the models which worked in the laboratories. It was alleged that cosmic plasmas were like superconductors, and that they could instantaneously charge-neutralize over great distances; that they could not support electric fields; and that they could possess frozen-in-place magnetic fields. All of these mathematical tricks had one goal in mind: Deprive the plasmas of the electromagnetism which we observe them to possess within the laboratory.
    And to this day, believe it or not, these modeling techniques continue on. Hannes Alfven would try to warn the astrophysicists time and time again — and even as he was receiving the Nobel physics prize for his creation of magnetohydrodynamics — and the astrophysicists just refused to take advice from this “outsider.”
    To be clear, Verschuur’s findings indicate the presence of an additional electrical power input which is clearly not being considered by climate change modeling techniques. And were scientists to study these electrical flows in depth, they’d suddenly find that they could predict the behavior of the Sun.
    This is not “fringe” science, guys. The real fringe science is astrophysics and the Big Bang Theory. This is merely the application of laboratory plasma physics to our observations of space. This is how the scientific method was intended to work.

  43. I should also add the following:
    Some years ago, when a smooth bell curve shaped microwave emission was observed to be coming at the Earth from all directions, Big Bang cosmologists — interestingly enough — smelled blood and successfully convinced the world that this observation represented the end of plasma cosmology.
    It turns out that, rather than being some sort of pinnacle of proof for the Big Bang, the conclusions reached by these cosmologists clearly indicate a lack of familiarity with what a plasma is, and how they tend to behave in the laboratory.
    The pronouncements were dramatic. Some cosmologists even claimed that there could not be any other possible explanation for this signal other than a relic of a primordial explosion which created both time and space itself! In terms of scientific inferences, this was clearly a rather metaphysical explanation. And yet, many fell for it because few people actually know what plasmas are, or how they behave in the lab.
    As these dramatic pronouncements were being made, all that one had to do to undermine such claims was to talk to a plasma physicist. Microwave emissions from plasma beams are in fact so common that there is a saying in the laboratory that plasma beams ALWAYS create microwaves.
    Now, to be fair, these emissions are spikey in nature. They are technically called “synchrotron.” And the CMB, by contrast, is a bell curve shape. So, plasma cosmologists have a burden to explain how it is that the synchrotron becomes “thermalized.” And papers are indeed written on this subject. There are numerous possible explanations — and each of these possible explanations are based upon laboratory plasma physics principles. It is not an exercise in metaphysics in the least to explain this.
    In fact, Verschuur would go on to identify MANY DOZENS of correlations between WMAP hotspots in the CMB with the filaments he has studied in his HI hydrogen all-sky surveys. The gist? That the CMB is in fact an electromagnetic fog created as a byproduct of these interstellar filaments of moving charged particles.
    Now, I get that a lot of people are highly dubious of these things. I totally get it. It is really quite fantastic if true. It’s such an embarrassing oversight. We’d have to go back very far in time to correct all of the mistakes that have been made, and accepting Verschuur’s claims are basically an admission that all of the astrophysicists and cosmologists are basically wrong — and not even the experts we should be consulting.
    What I don’t get is this notion that people erroneously cling to that we should not look further into these topics with serious sums of money. Verschuur is one of the world’s premier radio astronomers. Hannes Alfven basically invented plasma cosmology, and received the Nobel physics prize for his creation of the plasma models. Anthony Peratt is a former advisor to the Department of Energy and a researcher on the world’s largest plasma laboratory, the z-machine. Wal Thornhill was the ONLY theorist to accurately predict two separate flashes in the Deep Impact mission, and this prediction was based upon fundamental plasma physics principles.
    I’ve studied the EU theory for several years now. I’ve spent much time debating Tom Bridgman and APODNereid on this subject. There has been a coordinated campaign to convince the public that there is nothing of any worth to see here. One over-the-top activist named Leroy Ellenberger has actually written letters to Peratt’s superiors in an attempt to interfere with his work on the Electric Universe.
    At one point, Peratt’s plasma-universe website was hacked by some kids who thought it might be funny to ridicule the EU crowd. Peratt needed only to walk down the hallway to the CIA’s office to spawn an investigation which landed at least one hacker in jail.
    These are not “fringe” scientists. They are making accurate predictions. They deserve to be heard out. This debate is incredibly complex and long, and it must be treated with the highest respect and objectivity that we afford any scientist doing important work. There’s just no philosophy in favoring the Astrophysical Journal over IEEE in a knee-jerk fashion, given that Einstein himself was an outsider.
    I now firmly believe that we will, within the next 20-30 years, see all of our views on space and the Sun overturned. And people will be shocked once they learn of the Sun’s true energy source.

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