NASA Rocket, Satellite Tag-Team to View the Giant Electric Current in the Sky


Some 50 miles up, where Earth’s atmosphere blends into space, the air itself hums with an electric current. Scientists call it the atmospheric dynamo, an Earth-sized electric generator. It’s taken hundreds of years for scientists to lay the groundwork to understand it, but the principles that keep it running are only just now being revealed in detail. 

Following up on its predecessor’s 2013 flight, the Dynamos, Winds, and Electric Fields in the Daytime Lower Ionosphere-2, or Dynamo-2, sounding rocket mission will soon pierce the atmospheric winds thought to keep the dynamo churning. With the sounding rocket’s launch timed as NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite passes nearby, these two space missions will combine their perspectives to advance our understanding of the giant electric circuit in the sky. See below for information on how to stream the launch and where it will be visible in person.

The Dynamo mission

The atmospheric dynamo is a pattern of electrical current swirling in continent-sized circuits high above our heads. Driven by the Sun, it migrates across the planet, centered wherever the Sun is directly overhead. It comes alive in Earth’s ionosphere, a layer of the atmosphere where the Sun’s intense radiation separates electrons from their atoms, allowing electricity to flow.

graph showing current strength and direction in the ionosphere

A map of the ionospheric currents at the time of Dynamo 1’s launch on July 4, 2013. Currents – whose intensity is marked by red and blue coloring – travel in opposite directions on either side of the magnetic equator, marked with a pink line. The yellow dots are magnetometer readings from the ground.Credits: NASA/JAXA/R. Pfaff et al

Most measurements of the dynamo come from magnetometers on the ground, which monitor how that current disturbs Earth’s magnetic field (think of them as souped-up compasses). Ground-based measurements have their advantages – they can monitor one location for long periods of time, for instance. But to really see what’s going on in detail, you have to make measurements from inside the ionosphere, right where the electric current flows.

“It’s a really tricky part of space to get measurements, because the air is much too thin for an aircraft, and yet it’s still too dense to fly most spacecraft,” said Scott England, space physicist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and collaborator for the upcoming Dynamo-2 campaign. “So one way of making these measurements is to fly a rocket through it.”

Sounding rockets, named for the nautical term “to sound,” meaning to measure, launch to make brief measurements in space before falling back to Earth a few minutes later. They excel at reaching hard-to-access regions of space that are too low for satellites to measure and too high to reach with scientific balloons – and they’re ideal for comparing wind speeds at different altitudes, since they slice through the atmosphere near-vertically.

image of rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility
A picture of the rocket plumes shortly after the launch of both Dynamo rockets from Wallops Flight Facility on July 4, 2013.Credits: NASA/JAXA/R. Pfaff et al/Ken Kramer

“While ground-based methods can provide large-scale, integrated measurements, sounding rockets give us local, fine-scale data on the ionospheric current,” said Takumi Abe, space physicist at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and collaborator for the Dynamo missions. “That’s when we use sounding rockets – when we’d like to see the small-scale physics.”

The first Dynamo mission – comprising scientists from NASA, JAXA, and several U.S. universities – launched their rockets on the 4th of July, 2013, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The team divided their instruments between two rockets, the first measuring electric fields while the second, launched just 15 seconds later, traced the winds, leaving behind a cloudy plume that glistened red in the sunlight similar to those observed in firework shows.

Observing from the ground and from a NASA aircraft, the team watched the crimson clouds morph in the wind as simultaneous electric field measurements were beamed back to the ground.

The vapor trail teased about in the wind, twisting and curling into a spiraling zig-zag. The telltale shape meant the winds were changing direction along the rocket’s flight path.

“They moved first to the east, and then a few miles above, they’re all moving to the west, and a few miles above, they’re all moving back to the east,” England said.

The zig-zag confirmed one aspect of the theory of atmospheric tides, which create high-altitude winds thought to drive the atmospheric dynamo. Heat from the ground below radiates up in waves, forcing parts of the atmosphere to move back and forth like the ebb and flow of ocean waves as they hit the beach.

“The zig-zag is the signature of this huge wave moving through this region,” England added.

Though the winds were expected by theory, their strength was not.

Based on magnetometer readings from the ground at the time, the team expected a weak current and mild winds above. Indeed, things were calm below the ionosphere’s base. But right where the reddish cloud trail pierced the lower parts of the ionosphere, where the dynamo is strongest, it was rapidly smeared across the sky.

“Just in the dynamo region, the wind suddenly takes off and gets very fast, over 150 meters per second (335 miles per hour),” said Rob Pfaff, space physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and principal investigator for both Dynamo missions. “It’s much stronger than what’s predicted.”

These oppositely directed, high-speed winds were too fine-grained to be detected from ground-based measurements.

“It might look from the ground like the wind is going east at a very low speed,” said England. “But it turns out that’s a very high speed to the east and a slightly lower speed to the west, averaged together.”

A satellite and rocket tag-team

Though the 2013 observations from the Dynamo rockets were surprising, they jibe with newer measurements from NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite.

ICON, a satellite mission launched in October 2019, flies at an altitude of about 360 miles, looking down on the same ionospheric winds that Dynamo rockets measured from within. Lately, ICON had also observed much faster winds than expected by theory, and the team didn’t know what to make of them.

“Having the verification by these rocket results that what we’re seeing with ICON is real – it’s even sharper than what we can see,” said England, who is the project scientist for the ICON mission.

ICON’s wind measurements aren’t as high resolution as the Dynamo rockets’ were, but it can see much broader swaths of space, and can repeat those observations on each orbit. The Dynamo-2 mission campaign will combine their strengths.

“We are going to time it so that ICON is flying past around the same time that rocket is launching,” England said. “That way we can really combine all the amazing strengths in the data that’s highlighted in this paper with the larger picture view from ICON.”

illustration of ICON

Illustration of NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON. ICON explores Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere, a region influenced by both terrestrial weather and changes in near-Earth space.Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

The first Dynamo rockets launched together around noon, when the current was flowing from east to west. This time, the Dynamo-2 rockets will likely launch at different times, in the morning and afternoon, to capture the current when it is flowing in different directions.

“We’re going to take measurements in the morning and in the afternoon to complete the circle, so to speak, and see how all this comes together in one big picture,” Pfaff said.

However, Pfaff may instead launch one rocket during geomagnetically “quiet” times and one during “disturbed” times, when the ionosphere’s activity is especially complex, which would provide equally valuable insight. Which plan they follow will depend on how solar activity and the dynamo currents themselves are looking in real time once the launch window opens.

The Dynamo-2 rockets will also use a novel instrument developed by co-investigator Jim Clemmons at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The instrument measures winds by monitoring pressure gradients in the air around the rockets instead of releasing clouds that must be tracked from the ground or sky.

“And the beauty of that is we don’t have to rely on clear skies and we don’t have to get an airplane in the air – we can just do it,” Pfaff said.

Pfaff hopes the new results will help the team understand what’s driving the unduly fast winds, and what the consequences are for understanding the atmospheric dynamo.

Discovering the dynamo in the sky

The atmospheric dynamo is so named because it operates with the same principles as the electric dynamo, a kind of electric generator. The first dynamo was not found in nature but rather constructed in a lab.

In the early 1800s, on the cusp of the Victorian era in Britain, fascination with electricity was reaching a fever pitch as reports of fundamental discoveries arrived from across Europe. The invention of the battery, the discovery of electrical current, and several puzzling effects relating electricity to magnetism were related on a nearly monthly basis.

Michael Faraday – a bookbinder’s apprentice turned self-taught experimentalist – was toiling in his London lab, working on a strange new device that, though he didn’t know it, would eventually change the world.

engineering diagram of Faraday's first dynamo machine

Faraday’s sketch of his first dynamo machine.Credits: © The Royal Society

It consisted of a copper disc, mounted like a bicycle wheel so as to spin between two magnets. He connected the disc to an instrument that measured electric current, invented just 10 years earlier.

Faraday rotated the disc and the needle on his instrument wiggled – a small electric current was beginning to flow. Historians would later identify this moment – October 28, 1831, according to his diary – as the first time humans turned motion into electricity. Faraday had discovered electrical induction, and as a bonus, built the first dynamo, or electric generator. It was the prototype of a technology that today keeps our lights on, our computers running, and the entire modern economy afloat.

What made Faraday’s device work were three key ingredients: a magnetic field (created by the two magnets), a conductor (the copper disc), and motion. Combining those three, he had discovered that moving a conductive material within a stationary magnetic field – or moving a magnetic field around a stationary conductor – will start an electric current flowing.

Eventually, scientists discovered each of those three ingredients operating on Earth at a much larger scale.

The atmospheric dynamo, one piece at a time

Of the three components of the atmospheric dynamo – a magnetic field, a conductor, and motion – Earth’s magnetic field was discovered first.

By the early 1100s, Chinese seafarers were already using magnetic compasses to navigate on cloudy, starless nights, though the reason for their reliable alignment wasn’t known. William Gilbert’s De Magnete, published in London in 1600, was the first to explain this behavior with the idea that the Earth itself was a giant magnet.

Astronomers began mapping Earth’s magnetic field, and by 1701, English astronomer Edmond Halley, charting the Atlantic with his compass, produced the first map of Earth’s magnetic field.

Halley's first map showing where compasses had same pointing direction

First map of Earth’s magnetic field based on compass readings, by Edmond Halley, after sailing the Atlantic Ocean on the Paramore. Since we now know Earth’s magnetic pole shifts over time, these lines are not stable – scientists update the World Magnetic Model every five years. As of 2019, the magnetic north is moving towards Siberia at a rate of about 34 miles (55 km) per year.Credits: E. Halley/Princeton Library Historic Maps Collection

As compasses gained wider use for scientific purposes, some observers noticed an irregularity: compass readings seemed to flicker on a daily schedule.

“Ever since the 19th century, people would observe, particularly near noon, this little wiggle on these really big compasses,” said Pfaff.

The wiggling compass needles fit well with new findings on the relationship between electricity and magnetism. In 1820, Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted had observed that running an electric current through a conductive wire deflected the needle of a nearby compass, effectively “wiggling” the magnetic field it sensed. Faraday’s dynamo machine, constructed 11 years later, showed how a wiggling magnetic field could induce a current. Magnetic fields, motion, and electricity – the three went together. If that was right, then the wiggling compass needles on Earth might mean that somehow, an electric current was running overhead. But where that current was coming from, and the conductor it was traveling through, was far from clear.

In 1882, English scientist Balfour Stewart penned an Encyclopedia Brittanica entry that correctly identified the source, though it was conjecture at the time. A part of the upper atmosphere itself, he wrote, might be conductive – the air above us could become electrified.

That conductive part of the atmosphere was eventually discovered through practical experience. As World War I created a need for long-distance radio communication, experimenters discovered that radio signals could travel between continents – around the curvature of the Earth – by somehow bouncing off of the sky. The only viable explanation for their success was a reflective – that is, conductive – layer of the atmosphere.

Appleton's diagram of the ionosphere reflecting radio waves

Figure 1 from Appleton’s Nobel Prize lecture in 1947, demonstrating how a radio wave can travel long distances by reflecting off an ionized layer of the atmosphere.Credits: ©The Nobel Foundation

In 1927, English physicist Edward Appleton studied those radio signals to confirm that there was indeed an electrically conductive layer of the atmosphere. (He called it the “E-layer,” for “electrically conductive”.) Over the following decades, several more sublayers of what became known as the ionosphere – where Earth’s atmosphere contains substantial populations of charged particles, ions and electrons – would be discovered and characterized. The second component of Earth’s atmospheric dynamo, the conductive ionosphere, had been found.

Still, the current didn’t seem to be flowing constantly. The wiggling compass needles only twitched occasionally, most strongly at noon. Something must be moving the ionosphere strongest when the Sun was right overhead.

The discovery of the final component of the atmospheric dynamo, the source of motion, would have to wait for the space age, when rockets, balloons, and early satellites could measure atmospheric winds. In 1970, systematizing two decades of data, space physicists Sydney Chapman and Richard Lindzen developed the theory of atmospheric tides, the key to the ionosphere’s pulsing currents.

The idea was that as the Sun beats down on Earth, its heat radiates back upwards. In response, the entire atmosphere expands. A high-flying observer would experience this expansion as strong gusts of wind.

When those winds reach the base of the ionosphere, where the Sun’s radiation separates neutral particles into electrically charged ions and electrons, they push them along too. As a result, the ionosphere – a conductor – moves against Earth’s magnetic field, swishing to and fro with the wind.

“With these key ingredients together, the force of the wind pushing on those ions and electrons in the presence of Earth’s magnetic field, we can get a current flowing in the Earth’s upper atmosphere,” said England. “That’s what we call the dynamo.”

“We’ve come a long way since Faraday’s time,” Pfaff said. “After two centuries of research, it is exciting to journey into space and observe dynamos that are part of our natural environment.”

The Dynamo-2 rockets will launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia between July 6-20. The two rockets will not be launched on the same day. The launch window on July 6 runs from 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. On July 7-13, the launch window runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT and from 8 a.m. to noon EDT on July 14-20. Live coverage of the launches will begin 20 minutes before the opening of the launch window on the Wallops YouTube site. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for this mission. The launches may be visible in the mid-Atlantic region.

By Miles Hatfield
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.Last Updated: Jul 2, 2021Editor: Miles Hatfield

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July 4, 2021 2:10 am

Interesting article. It just goes to show how little we really know of our earth. We had the discovery of the jet stream, atmospheric rivers, heat plumes and heat domes, that there were millions more underwater volcanoes than we thought.

Our knowledge of how the climate works is similarly still being discovered


Interested Observer
Reply to  tonyb
July 4, 2021 5:55 am

I’m currently reading “The Electric Sky” by Donald Scott (no pun intended). While the book is about electromagnetism and plasma physics, a lot of the book is devoted to the idea that much of modern cosmology is built on “unfalsifiable” hypotheses; a trait it shares with climatology. They are both built on mathematical models that can’t be tested in the real world and, when their adherents are confronted with evidence that their models are wrong, they cling to their models and claim the evidence “must be wrong”.

Fortunately, some of the next generation of space probes seem to be oriented towards discovering the truth about cosmological plasma physics. I hope this mission will be one of many that probe the mysteries of the electromagnetic nature of the universe.

Reply to  Interested Observer
July 4, 2021 7:13 am

First you say that modern cosmology can’t be tested, then you state that the next generation of space probes are going to be testing modern cosmology.

Which is it?

Reply to  MarkW
July 4, 2021 8:00 am

He said current cosmological models can’t be tested, not that cosmology itself can’t.

Reply to  Archer
July 4, 2021 11:06 am

And there where in principle he is wrong.

Through proper testing of the cosmological models we have discovered anomalies like “dark matter”,
the anomaly of Jupiter,
the anomaly of asteroid belts,
the anomaly of Earth-Moon spatial position and relation…etc..

Yes, the article in question is very Interesting, but the language and pomposity is like an introduction to an “Electrical Universe”.

Electricity in the air, there above in atmosphere is not a discovery.
Is as old as our knowledge about electricity.
Well, we just rediscovering that water is wet… again.

Still electricity exist outside the dynamo concept.
For once, static electricity does not have anything to do with a dynamo, as it is non dynamic.

Ok, nough for now.

And by the way, the ‘scientists’ cosmology models are basically firmly tested by Newtonian Physics, and not scientists physics.
Big difference there.


James F. Evans
Reply to  MarkW
July 4, 2021 9:52 am

Over time & technological advance, our satellites & space probes have increased their ability to observe & measure electric fields, electric currents, the reciprocal & concurrent magnetic fields that reflect those electric currents (the movement or flow of electrons & ions) [Somewhere engineers, scientists in their own right, knew that the data in terms of electromagnetism would increase our understanding of Earth, space, other planets, & the universe, to their great credit.], in other words the movement & actions of plasma in space.

Keep up our quest to understand the stars and the forces of our universe.

William Astley
Reply to  Interested Observer
July 4, 2021 2:42 pm

The ‘Electric’ Universe book writers …. Need some help.

I would start with Halton Arp’s book.

This is a better book written by the late German astronomer Halton Arp.

Arp discovered that the massive object that is found in every spiral galaxy and every elliptical galaxy, from time to time, ejects an object.

Arp’s discover was an observational discovery, not a theory. The Big Bang theory does not have complex active objects. The big bang theory assumed all of the matter creation in the universe, happened only once, 13.8 Billion years ago.

Complex objects produce matter and shoot out stuff. The complex objects which produce matter also produce massive magnetic fields.

Astronomers call the Halton object that is ejected out of galaxies a ‘knot’.

Halton Arp’s discovery astronomical observations that showed there is a ‘knot’ shaped object that is in a jet of highly ionized gas. The jet of gas points towards the pole of the galaxy that ejected both gas and object.

Arp found a line of objects that had been ejected out of a very active galaxy. Arp found the redshift of the ejected objects had changed with time.

The ‘knots’ have been found to emit massive amounts of x-rays. The Big Bang theory cannot explain the x-ray emission from the ‘knots’.

Halton Arp’s theory is that the ‘knots’ become ‘quasars’.

Quasars are strange objects that produce a massive magnetic field out of their poles and from time to time eject massive amounts of gas.

Arp found galaxies which where emitting massive amounts of radio wave (Radio Active Spiral Galaxies….. Arp used a radio telescope and found the radio ‘waves’ came from a line in space that ended in a ‘knot’ and pointed back at the active galaxy that ejected it.

The spiral galaxy ejected objects become ‘dwarf’ galaxies.

Dwarf galaxies have been found to be extremely active. In the local region of space where we live, some of the dwarf galaxies are currently producing massive amounts of gas and dust, and are shooting out star like objects.

This is one of a couple of thousand observations that supports Apr observation that there is a complex object in the center of the every galaxy and that object from time to time shoots out complex objects and massive amounts of gas and dust…

The complex object in the center of the Milky Way has shoot out stuff that has become Globural Clusters and Dwarf Galaxies, streams of stars, and streams of gas.

This same polar structure of ‘dwarf’ galaxies has been found around all galaxies which can be observed.

The VPOS: a vast polar structure of satellite galaxies, globular clusters and streams around the Milky Way

It has been known for a long time that the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way (MW) show a significant amount of phase-space correlation, they are distributed in a highly inclined Disc of Satellites (DoS). We have extended the previous studies on the DoS by analysing for the first time the orientations of streams of stars and gas, and the distributions of globular clusters within the halo of the MW.

It is shown that the spatial distribution of MW globular clusters classified as young halo clusters (YH GC) is very similar to the DoS, while 7 of the 14 analysed streams align with the DoS. The probability to find the observed clustering of streams is only 0.3 per cent when assuming isotropy.

The MW thus is surrounded by a vast polar structure (VPOS) of subsystems (satellite galaxies, globular clusters and streams), spreading from Galactocentric distances as small as 10 kpc out to 250 kpc.

These findings demonstrate that a near-isotropic infall of cosmological sub-structure components onto the MW is essentially ruled out because a large number of infalling objects would have had to be highly correlated, to a degree not natural for dark matter sub-structures.

Philip Rose
Reply to  tonyb
July 4, 2021 8:02 am

In a recent fervid debate on GHG & GHE I ironically referred to the ionosphere as the glass in the earth’s greenhouse to the main protagonist, with, afraid, no response. Boy!, maybe there’s truth to it.

Reply to  tonyb
July 4, 2021 4:36 pm
Reply to  tonyb
July 5, 2021 7:02 am

I just finished reading yet another interesting article, on this site, discussing how strong El Nino events abruptly step up the global temperatures. Between each strong El Nino, global temperature gradually declines. With a few recent strong El Nino events being frequent, the global temperature, taken over a number of decades, increases.

A take-away from that step business is that the possibility of a human influence on global warming seems to be quite remote.

But there is an elephant in the room: What is the powerful energy source of these strong El Nino events? Is it geological; your undersea volcanos. vents, even powerful earthquakes at the margin of ocean basins, electrical events, fluctuations in strength and type of the Sun’s output?

It is overwhelming to me how little we know about anything! This article is one indication.

We have so much more to do than waste or time on political orthodoxy and reactions to it.

AC Osborn
July 4, 2021 2:24 am

Science in the true sense of the word, but it has taken a long time to get here.

Jean Parisot
Reply to  AC Osborn
July 4, 2021 7:14 pm

But no mention of CO2?

Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 4, 2021 2:34 am

There is still so much to learn! We don’t even know what questions to ask let alone know the answers. Science is a perpetual quest for knowledge and there is no telling what secrets are still concealed from us. I pity those who blindly insist that “the science is settled” and nothing remains to be discovered.

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 4, 2021 3:43 am

There can be little or no doubt that climate hoax science is settled, the two hacked email batches released around the time of the UN IPCC Copenhagen Conference is the evidence, the email authors settled the science their way, it’s called creative accounting.

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 4, 2021 11:58 am


From my point of view,
the proper initial condition in scientific endeavor, or search for better understanding or better knowledge starts with formalizing the proper question or the main backbone query, at the best possible concise manner that we can, by weighting with an open mind all possible angles of approach… there… with no biases.

This in my understanding is what we call Philosophy.


Tom Abbott
July 4, 2021 5:54 am

From the article: “the magnetic equator”

The magnetic equator! That’s a new one on me. Don’t you love science! 🙂

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 4, 2021 11:57 am

My exact thought. Given the physical north pole, south pole and equator, coupled with the existence of the magnetic north and south poles, the existence of a magnetic equator should seem obvious, yet I hadn’t heard of it before. Maybe there should be some weird ceremonies when one first crosses the magnetic equator.

Carlo, Monte
July 4, 2021 6:35 am

“The wiggling compass needles only twitched occasionally, most strongly at noon” — who writes this stuff?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 4, 2021 7:03 am

“The wiggling compass needles only twitched occasionally, most strongly at noon” — who writes this stuff?

Someone who was making direct observations that they didn’t understand the cause that led to science breakthrough. Who writes what you did?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  eyesonu
July 4, 2021 7:12 am

This is tech-writer pap, its repeated a bunch of times.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
July 4, 2021 7:13 am

A science PR sort of person, who also botched the history of the E-layer discovery in this write-up. NASA is largely a science and technology management organization, and is becoming more ponderous with staff assigned to write PR materials, or to do accounting about how many people of minority status are supported by its grants. Most of the real work is done by contractors.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 4, 2021 8:12 am

Exactly right, Mission #1 is to preserve the organization.

July 4, 2021 6:36 am

When I was a pup, short wave radio was an important communications medium. The ability to communicate between two distant points depended on the ability of the ionosphere to reflect radio waves.

The ionosphere is constantly changing and your choice of radio frequencies would depend on what it was doing at that moment. For example, between North Dakota and Texas on July 4, 1962 at noon you might have chosen 5 MHz which would bounce off the ionosphere F2 layer. (made up example)

Since it was important to know how it would reflect radio waves, the ionosphere was measured by transmitting signals upward and measuring the reflections. The data was used by boffins to create propagation forecasts much in the same way a meteorologist might create a weather forecast.

Apparently the infrastructure and boffins still exist. link

Oh yeah, Happy July 4. Up here, some folks want to cancel Canada Day (July 1) because of the supposed sins of our ancestors. By many metrics Canada is the best place to live in the whole world but that’s not enough for the social justice warriors.

Last edited 1 year ago by commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
July 4, 2021 7:16 am

According to the left, Europeans, no matter when they lived, are to be judged by the strictest of today’s standards.
On the other hand judging non-Europeans of any time, is an act of colonialism and just proves how much of a racist you are.

Abolition Man
Reply to  MarkW
July 4, 2021 8:20 am

Yeah, those damned Europeans again! Not only did they force modern civilization on numerous Stone Age cultures, they also insisted on the cessation of slavery and human sacrifice! How can we appease the climate gods without vestal virgins?

Reply to  Abolition Man
July 4, 2021 10:09 am

The people doing the complaining are among the most privileged who have ever walked the surface of the planet. Where’s the gratitude? link

Last edited 1 year ago by commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
July 4, 2021 3:58 pm

the very spoiled prats… at large.

Reply to  Abolition Man
July 4, 2021 12:17 pm

Abolition do not mean to be nitpicking,
but according to records,
actually Biblical,

Ancient Izrael, happens to be the first nation proper with no slavery.

A nation that came to be ~ a thousand years before Spartacus or Julius Cesar.

Which in its stand may brink to a different addressing the Juresalem in King(s) Herod time, as in proposition;
“having or not slavery there and then”… according to evidence.

I, know this maybe not of much interest to you,
but you brought up the ‘slavery,
and I think one or two friends of ours here may not mind this ‘interpolation’ of mine here.

Thanks Abolition, and please hold your ‘gunns.



Last edited 1 year ago by whiten
Abolition Man
Reply to  whiten
July 4, 2021 12:50 pm

I try to rein in any discomfort or anger from being wrong; it gets easier with time. Nits are meant to be picked, so I won’t argue your point; most primates do practice social grooming, after all!
Do you have a version of the Old Testament that you would recommend? I would love to read more about the early prophets, as I feel they are being proven right in our chaotic “modern” age!
Maybe they weren’t the first, but the Abolition Movement that arose out of European ancestry Christian churches was the only one that was able to end slavery in wide swathes of the world; only to have the process reversed by the Socialist/Communist movement that sprang up as religiousity became less fashionable!

Reply to  Abolition Man
July 4, 2021 1:22 pm

According to your question asked, and my understanding, the point I raised, is equally the same in all versions of Holy Bible, including New Testament, also same as for Torah.

As the saying may go;

“The opening move decides the outcome.”

Like for example;
“If the opening move happens to be ‘Perl Harbor’ than the outcome will be ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki”.

Kinda of the main point of New testament.

I know this kinda of weird , but that’s my answer to your question, query.

You already know most of it. before me telling you.


James Charles
Reply to  MarkW
July 17, 2021 1:23 am

“On the other hand judging non-Europeans of any time, is an act of colonialism and just proves how much of a racist you are.”
Total rubbish from a shill for the plutocrats and the M.I.C..

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  commieBob
July 4, 2021 8:57 am

Just as ‘the science is settled’, so from our perfectly accurate current perspective in the flow if history, ‘the ethical standards are settled’. How will our decisions/values be judged by future generations? What sins are we oblivious to?

Stephen Philbrick
Reply to  commieBob
July 4, 2021 12:02 pm

Oh yeah, Happy July 4. Up here, some folks want to cancel Canada Day (July 1) because of the supposed sins of our ancestors. 

I’d say, remember the past but live in the present. If there are sins in the present, work to fix them.

Reply to  commieBob
July 5, 2021 2:48 am

That would have been a 5 khz frequency otherwise known as HF radio. Used extensively in aviation in those days.

Reply to  R K
July 5, 2021 5:11 pm

Just for amusement, calculate the length of a quarter wave dipole for 5 kHz.

Thomas Edwardson
Reply to  commieBob
July 6, 2021 6:31 pm

Ok, I’ll bite. Formula for wavelength is λ = v/f. λ = wavelength. v = velocity. f = frequency.
velocity 300,000 km/s (Speed of light), divided by 5,000 Htz (frequency) = 60 km (wavelength)

So, a quarter wave dipole would be 15km high. (49,000 ft)

What did I win?

July 4, 2021 6:39 am

Thanks for the very interesting and well presented article.

Maybe some of the instruments can be adapted to a smaller version of rocket and be fired/deployed thru the leading region of a developing thunderstorm. That as well as deployment of neutral buoyancy balloons carrying compatible instrumentation would be most interesting. A lot of tracking and instrumentation results could be done with standard aircraft.

Rich Davis
July 4, 2021 6:51 am

That’s “our” Richard Lindzen whose contributions they’re touting. But I thought his ideas were all discredited and thoroughly debunked?

Richard Page
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 4, 2021 7:04 am

Somebody obviously didn’t get the memo! It is refreshing to see a scientist acknowledging the work of previous scientists that helped get them to this point, rather than regurgitate the belief that no proper research was ever done before the advent of supercomputers.

Kevin kilty
July 4, 2021 7:08 am

Why did Mr. Hatfield write Heaviside and Kennelly out of the discovery of the E-layer? They knew of it, for exactly the reasons he describes (long distance radio propagation), long before 1920. In fact, it was known as the Heaviside-Kennelly layer until people discovered that it had more structure than just a single layer. This is an easily researched fact.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kevin Kilty
John Robertson
July 4, 2021 7:13 am

But I thought “Electric Universe” discussions were discouraged here.?

There is something missing in the article,when we consider the Earth as a iron cored object rotating on its own axis and orbiting a huge Magnetic source,the sun..
Seems to me the “motion” here attributed to wind,would be more likely due to earths rotation.
As a man who has spent 40 + years manipulating electricity,the mental exercise of modelling our planetary system as a electro-magnetic system is interesting and some what mind boggling.

Every conductor passing through a magnetic field produces an induced electro magnetic force,each varying in strength and complexity and inducing a counter effect,depending on the nature of the materials.

Water,particularly salt water is a conductor,the ocean has layers of differing salinity.
Soil conducts, again dependant on its make up and moisture content.
Much of the surface soils are in layers as well.

Even Granite will conduct at high enough power, make your own lava.
Lightning Sprites are indicators of some large powers in motion.
Lightning itself demonstrated massive electrical forces at work.

So while I am encouraged to see research begin mapping what is happening on high,I am lead to wonder if what is being measured is a derivative or a cause.

Rather like receiving the static and ignoring the radio signal.

That said this is science at its finest,we know our ignorance is enormous and must start somewhere.
Hopefully some defined terms will be used,that others can duplicate this work and follow along.

For it would be areal crime if such investigation when the way of Climatology,where there can be no understanding as the “Definition of terms” is considered hostile thought..
The Red Queen rules.

July 4, 2021 7:15 am

Nice article. Yesterday SC25 produced it’s first X-flare, which ionized the upper atmosphere:
comment image

…and induced geomagnetic currents:
comment image


h/t Dr. Tony Phillips

Reply to  Bob Weber
July 4, 2021 11:06 am

Indeed, a good article.
The magnetic effect of the dynamo current was discovered 300 years ago by George Graham in London.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
July 4, 2021 3:33 pm


Do you really see the complications of what this article offers?

I think you do not.

It is very much biasing the paradigm and the plethora of an orthodox narrative offered…
very much swayed towards dogma… by the superficial approach of the author.

One thing in basics, as per electrical engineering, as far as dynamos concerned.

Dynamos, electrical generators, or electrical motors, there as standing, in and as per electrical engineering, are in the indisputable clause of rotor versus stator motion coupling.

In the consideration of this natural, Earth electric
“dynamo” claimed or shown here, the mechanism there, as considered, as it simply is served, it stands as in the observed proposition of multi layer rotors, with no stator, in a perpetual motion, in a perpetual ‘electrical’ energy generation…

something we do not actually have yet… by any means.

We better get to figure it out… don’t you think!

Nature, has, and already always had, much better than what we think we have.

Oh, well maybe just me, imagining things.

But still, we, humanity with all our achievements, we still do not have dynamos, electrical generators or electrical motors based in a multi layer rotor perpetual motion, with no stator.

Oh well, a very very interesting subject, but not much consideration about it!

Only very few comments there.



Reply to  whiten
July 4, 2021 6:35 pm

The dynamo in the E-layer is not in doubt. We can shoot rockets up into the layer and directly measure the current and everything fits and is well understood.

Reply to  Bob Weber
July 4, 2021 10:37 pm

That caused an increase in signal strength at 60kHz (WWVB) on West coast of Northern Calif. It went up about 9dB in the space of 3-4 minutes, at the same time shown on the graph above. There was another jump at about 17:00 UTC … probably related but any connection is beyond my understanding of these events.

John Robertson
July 4, 2021 7:19 am

A exiting thought,the expansion of the upper atmosphere as solar output waxes and wanes,will change what we measure there.
Just the change in Sol’s output would induce electromagnetic reactions right through this system.
Just trying to imagine what we can learn by studying the skin ….

July 4, 2021 7:42 am

Interesting post. Could this electrical current be measured in absolute terms (i.e. volts/amps/watts) such as a dynamo here on earth could be measured? I assume it must be DC power and why can’t we tap into this as a source of power? I realize the copper windings would have to be very

I often think of Nikola Tesla and his ultimate dream to harvest electricity out of thin air. Was he a genius to a certain level with his invention of the first alternating current (AC) motor and his development of AC generation and transmission, or was he off his rocker thinking we could tap into this giant source of electrical potential out of thin air? And the transmission of wireless electricity, which is a thing, but still very short range. Fascinating subject, and one I don’t think we know all the answers to yet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Earthling2
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Earthling2
July 4, 2021 3:24 pm

I watched a tv program about UFO’s just now, and they were talking about Tesla and his ideas for getting electricity from the Earth’s atmosphere, and they speculated that Tesla may have been in contact with alien beings and that’s where he got his ideas.

Talk about unsubstantiated speculation!

I don’t mind the study of UFO’s, in fact, I would like to learn more, but when they go attributing all kinds of things to aliens with no evidence whatsoever, it gets frustrating to watch. It’s no wonder many UFO “experts” are thought of as a little nutty.

I do like some of the pictures they show of UFO’s. I saw one design tonight that I have never seen before.

I think UFO speculation and Human-caused Climate Change speculation are equally bad and are not science. They are too quick to make connections.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 4, 2021 7:17 pm

Tucker Carlson has featured so many accounts now of UAP (UFO’s) that I am starting to worry for him. Or perhaps it is like Reagan’s Star Wars program that sank the Soviets, in that this is a sophisticated psyops program being run by some alphabet agency to fool the Russians and Chicom’s why these things always following the USA military around. Seems to be a bit over the top, especially all the grainy images, like Bigfoot. Would be nice to find out that these are our assets, if worst comes to worst. Or if they are real, hopefully they are the ‘good’ guys.

Reply to  Earthling2
July 5, 2021 8:49 pm

TRUE? Navy Shell game ? This triangular shaped object bears a striking similarity to the one featured on one of the “top secret ” videos “leaked”, or intentionally released by someone in the US with access to video recordings of these “anti-gravity ” crafts. But where is the Flux Capacitor?

Reply to  Earthling2
July 5, 2021 12:20 am

You were the only commenter to mention N.Tesla, & he was the very first thing I thought of when I began reading the post. Agree, puzzling & fascinating indeed!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jjk500
Abolition Man
July 4, 2021 8:43 am

Thanks, Charles!
It is SOOO refreshing to see some science being written about that doesn’t try to squeeze in some Climastrology! There is still so much to learn about our little planet and the infinite universe around us, that it should take the breath away from a thinking, sentient being!

I remember vividly being in college, thinking that I often knew more than the professors; only to discover later that I was merely a mushroom of the first order, and that I would have to spend my life completing my education! I’m still not done forty-plus years later, but I feel really sorry for the current and recent college students; as they are no longer mushrooms but have been transmogrified into toadstools! We will not advance as a civilization until we get the religion of Progressivism out of our schools!

Believing that Man is God, and that government bureaucracy is part of the Kingdom of Heaven, has to be one of THE most pernicious beliefs ever invented! Can we leave religion out of our education system? I don’t know, but maybe getting back to teaching the kiddies science, facts and data would be more beneficial that the feelings and victimhood that they now learn! Let’s try giving them some knowledge; some may inadvertently acquire wisdom as well!

July 4, 2021 9:04 am

My heroes in electromagnetism are James Maxwell and Heinrich Hertz.

Fields of endeavor making the discoveries possible. Mining would be one of them to produce the metals used in experiments. My image of the first miner is a guy digging in the dirt and the tribe thinking he was crazy or worse possessed by an evil spirit and was either driven out or burned at the stake. In movies where humans are leaving a dying earth they are sending all the great minds, except farmers.

The article is excellent.

Shudong Zhou
July 4, 2021 9:19 am

A great 👍article 👏👍.current on the sky!
But no one can understand very good because no electrical machinery this science in university. Just electrical engineering who knows how to work in grid,not manufacture for generator or transformer.

Lee Z
July 4, 2021 11:54 am

Is the radio wave reflected or refracted ?

July 4, 2021 1:48 pm

Faraday was the first person (recorded) to create current electricity through motion. But Francis Hauksbee the Younger created static electricity through motion in 1704 , though at the time he was studying the electric light, which he called the “mercurial phosphor”. (He was repeating the observations of the astronomer Jean Picard in the previous century.) “The effect of this concussion was the appearance of a light, bright enough to render the Receiver and the included Glass plainly visible and distinguishable ….” (pg 12 of reference)

In short, Hauksbee had created a very early glow-lamp. If he’d had neon in his apparatus instead of air, it would have glowed orange. (Neon had not yet been discovered, so air had to do.) In operating his apparatus, he also discovered electrostatic effects much stronger than commonly found. He had, in fact, created the first purpose-made electrostatic generator which gave rise to a whole lineage of machines for the making of static electricity, and a whole array of instruments for studying it.

July 4, 2021 2:39 pm

“Lately, ICON had also observed much faster winds than expected by theory, and the team didn’t know what to make of them.”

Conservation of angular momentum as the atmosphere shrinks/sinks towards the earth?

July 4, 2021 3:24 pm

This is a must watch for all that post here.

Lectures by Walter Lewin. They will make you ♥ Physics.

What holds our world together? Electric Charges (Historical), Polarization, Electric Force, Coulomb’s Law, Van de Graaff, Great Demos
8.02x – Lect 1 – Electric Charges and Forces – Coulomb’s Law – Polarization – YouTube

Robert Alfred Taylor
July 4, 2021 6:47 pm

Anyone else remember Murry Leinster’s “landing grids” powered by high atmosphere electric currents?

July 5, 2021 2:19 pm

The leakage from this dynamo is what creates life as we know it on Earth , Electricity followed by magnetism. that’s why its called electroooomagnetic field lines . Electricity IS when the electron is in motion. This process from within protects us from the solar wind by deflecting it around Earth starting at the Bowshock.
Basic Physics of the Bow Shock (

Earth’s magnetic field is vital to life on our planet. It is a complex and dynamic force that protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles from the Sun. The magnetic field is largely generated by an ocean of superheated, swirling liquid iron that makes up the outer core around 3000 km beneath our feet. Acting as a spinning conductor in a bicycle dynamo, it creates electrical currents, which in turn, generate our continuously changing electromagnetic field.

Swarm probes weakening of Earth’s magnetic field (

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