Electric Galaxies

“The conformist propensity of social institutions is not the only reason that erroneous theories persevere. However, once embedded within a culture, ideas exhibit an uncanny inertia, as if obeying Newton’s law to keep on going forever until acted upon by an external force.”
—Henry Zemel.

“One fact that strikes everyone is the spiral shape of some nebulae; it is encountered much too often for us to believe that it is due to chance. It is easy to understand how incomplete any theory of cosmogony which ignores this fact must be. None of the theories accounts for it satisfactorily, and the explanation I myself once gave, in a kind of toy theory, is no better than the others. Consequently, we come up against a big question mark.”
— Henri Poincaré, at the conclusion of the preface to his book, Hypothèses Cosmogoniques.

“Space is filled with a network of currents which transfer energy and momentum over large or very large distances. The currents often pinch to filamentary or surface currents. The latter are likely to give space, as also interstellar and intergalactic space, a cellular structure.”
—Hannes Alfvén.

In an Electric Universe x-ray and radio astronomies are very important; x-ray because it reveals discharge activity that produces x-rays; and radio because it traces the cosmic power transmission lines in deep space through the polarization of radio waves from electrons spiralling in a magnetic field — known as ‘synchrotron radiation.’

The Very Large Array radio telescope.

The Very Large Array (VLA) of radio antennae in its most compact configuration ("D-array"). The VLA is 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico on U.S. Highway 60. Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and Kristal Armendariz, Photographer.

A recent report from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) highlights the usefulness of radio astronomy in discovering some of the electrical secrets of galaxies. However, it also demonstrates the “uncanny inertia” of “erroneous theories.”

New VLA Images Unlocking Galactic Mysteries

Astronomers have produced a scientific gold mine of detailed, high-quality images of nearby galaxies that is yielding important new insights into many aspects of galaxies, including their complex structures, how they form stars, the motions of gas in the galaxies, the relationship of “normal” matter to unseen “dark matter,” and many others. An international team of scientists used more than 500 hours of observations with the National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to produce detailed sets of images of 34 galaxies at distances from 6 to 50 million light-years from Earth. Their project, called The HI Nearby Galaxy Survey, or THINGS*, required two years to produce nearly one TeraByte of data. HI (“H-one”) is an astronomical term for atomic hydrogen gas.

“Studying the radio waves emitted by atomic hydrogen gas in galaxies is an extremely powerful way to learn what’s going on in nearby galaxies.”

Comment: The reference to “dark matter” in the outline of the THINGS project should be of concern to all taxpayers. The invention of undetectable “dark” matter in a gravitational model of galaxies should be ringing alarm bells and flashing warning lights for anyone with commonsense. It is saying that there may be something we don’t know about gravity or that simple Newtonian mechanics does not apply to galaxies. Perhaps both are true. Clearly, we need a better explanation than “an invisible tooth fairy did it.” To be confident we understand galaxies we need a working model that can be demonstrated in the laboratory. Is there such a model?

The Electric Galaxy

The scandalous truth is that there is a model of spiral galaxy formation that has long been demonstrated by laboratory experiment and “particle in cell” (PIC) simulations on a supercomputer. But instead of using stars, gas and dust as the particles, subject to Newton’s laws, the particles are charged and respond to the laws of electromagnetism. This seems like an obvious approach when we know that more than 99.9 percent of the visible universe is in the form of plasma. Plasma is a gas influenced by the presence of charged atoms and electrons. Plasma responds to electromagnetic forces that exceed the strength of gravity to the extent that gravity can usually be safely ignored. This simple fact alone suggests why gravitational models of galaxies must fail.

Electric galaxy

The plasma universe may be eternal and infinite, directly contradicting the Big bang model. In this picture, swirling streams of electrons and ions form filaments that span vast regions of space. Where pairs of these filaments interact the particles gain 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 along filaments, as they are observed to do on a large scale. The bulk of the filaments are optically invisible from a distance, much like the related Birkeland currents that reach from the Sun and cause auroras on Earth. —Credit: A. Peratt, Plasma Cosmology, 1992.

The simplest geometry for galaxy formation is two adjacent Birkeland currents of width 35 kiloparsecs separated by 80 kiloparsecs. The interaction region, and hence the thickness of a galaxy is 10 kpc. By scaling the current flows in astronomical objects by size, it is determined that the average flow in a galactic Birkeland current is approximately 1019 amperes; the Alfvén galactic current. The synchrotron radiated power is of the order of 1037 watts, that is, the power recorded from double radio galaxies.

Particle In Cell (PIC) Galaxy simulation

These images from a supercomputer simulation trace the development of spiral structure in two interacting plasma blobs over a span of nearly 1 billion years. At the start of the interaction at upper left the filaments are 260,000 light-years apart; all 10 panels are reproduced at the same scale. Simulations such as this can reproduce the full range of observed spiral galaxy types using electromagnetic processes rather than gravitational ones. — Credit: A. Peratt, Plasma Cosmology, 1992.

And so that there can be no objection, the computer simulations have been backed up by experiments in the highest energy density laboratory electrical discharges—the Z-pinch machine. The experiments verify each stage in development of the PIC simulations. This important work demonstrates that the beautiful spiral structure of galaxies is a natural form of plasma instability in a universe energized by electrical power.

Sandia Labs Z-machine.

Electrical discharges (Lichtenberg figures) illuminate the surface of the Z machine during a recent shot. The most recent advance gave an output power of about 290 trillion watts for billionths of a second, about 80 times the entire world's output of electricity focused onto a target the size of a cotton reel.

NGC 1097

NGC 1097

NOTE: Clearly, the production of a spiral galaxy requires the input of prodigious electrical power! But nowhere in astrophysical theory will you find any mention of electrical energy. In stark contrast, cosmologists are content to invent “dark matter” and “dark energy” on the basis of their universe built with the weakest force in the universe – gravity. Meanwhile magnetic fields are found throughout space, plainly signaling the electric currents required to sustain them.

Spiral Galaxies in THINGS

Most of the galaxies studied in the THINGS survey also have been observed at other wavelengths, including Spitzer space telescope infrared images and GALEX ultraviolet images. This combination provides an unprecedented resource for unraveling the mystery of how a galaxy’s gaseous material influences its overall evolution.

Analysis of THINGS data already has yielded numerous scientific payoffs. For example, one study has shed new light on astronomers’ understanding of the gas-density threshold required to start the process of star formation. “Using the data from THINGS in combination with observations from NASA’s space telescopes has allowed us to investigate how the processes leading to star formation differ in big spiral galaxies like our own and much smaller, dwarf galaxies,” said Adam Leroy and Frank Bigiel of the Max-Planck Insitute for Astronomy at the Austin AAS meeting.

Because atomic hydrogen emits radio waves at a specific frequency, astronomers can measure motions of the gas by noting the Doppler shift in frequency caused by those motions. “Because the THINGS images are highly detailed, we have been able to measure both the rotational motion of the galaxies and non-circular random motions within the galaxies,” noted Erwin de Blok of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Comment: The observations of ‘motions of gas’ in galaxies will be valuable to plasma cosmologists but will only serve to further confuse gravity models because it is not ‘gas’ that is in motion but plasma. And as for star formation, the same electrical plasma processes that form galaxies are involved at the stellar scale. A later article will show that astronomers’ understanding of stars is little advanced on the aboriginal ‘campfire in the sky.’ There will be no new light on astronomers’ understanding of stars until electric light dispels the darkness.

Comparison of rotational velocity with radius in a spiral galaxy versus a supercomputer simulation of the rotation of an equivalent mass object formed at the intersection of two interacting plasma filaments.

Comparison of rotational velocity with radius in a spiral galaxy versus a supercomputer simulation of the rotation of an equivalent mass object formed at the intersection of two interacting plasma filaments. No dark matter need be invented to reproduce the peculiar rotation curves of spiral galaxies because the electromagnetic forces acting on plasma are so much stronger than gravity. —Credit: A. Peratt.

There is an important lesson here. The notion that gravity governs celestial mechanics has been “embedded within our culture” for hundreds of years and is as difficult to dislodge as was Ptolemy’s epicycles. Science is essentially a cultural activity and is not as objective as we like to fool ourselves. It seems that the cultural imperative remains strong enough to deny prima facie evidence and defy logic and commonsense. As Max Planck lamented, “An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning.” But our growing generation is not being familiarized with important scientific innovation, that history shows often comes from outsiders to a discipline who have not been imbued with the culture of that discipline. Innovation from outside a discipline is actively suppressed by academia and generally ignored by a lazy media. Meanwhile there is a blizzard of high-tech computer simulations** presented to a growing generation as real science. Science has entered the age of virtual reality. And our understanding of the universe has become as contrived as a computer game.

** The PIC supercomputer simulations referred to earlier are simply based on the known behavior of charged particles obeying Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism. So it is no surprise that the simulations mimic the lab results. However, most cosmological simulations are derived from a priori mathematical theory where there are no experiments or direct observations to serve as a brake on speculation. The result is continual astonishment at new data.


Dwarf galaxies in THINGS

The new survey also showed a fundamental difference between the nearby galaxies — part of the “current” Universe, and far more distant galaxies, seen as they were when the Universe was much younger. “It appears that the gas in the galaxies in the early Universe is much more ‘stirred up,’ possibly because galaxies were colliding more frequently then and there was more intense star formation causing material outflows and stellar winds,” explained Martin Zwaan of the European Southern Observatory. The information about gas in the more distant galaxies came through non-imaging analysis.

These discoveries, the scientists predict, are only the tip of the iceberg. “This survey produced a huge amount of data, and we’ve only analyzed a small part of it so far. Further work is sure to tell us much more about galaxies and how they evolve. We expect to be surprised,” said Fabian Walter, of the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

Comment: The expectation of surprise has become a hallmark of astronomy. It is symptomatic of the non-predictive nature of astrophysical theory based on the big bang and gravitational cosmology. Successful prediction is the principal test of a good theory, not surprises.

In the Electric Universe, the lynchpin of big bang theory — the equation of redshift of stellar spectra with velocity of recession — is shown empirically to be false. The inability of astrophysicists to accept the manifest evidence of intrinsic redshift (a high-redshift quasar in front of a low redshift galaxy should be blatant enough) may be due to a reluctance to admit that modern physics has no explanation for the phenomenon of mass in matter and therefore cannot explain how subatomic particles like the proton and electron might exhibit the lower mass required to produce lower energy spectra (redshift). Observations of connections between high- and low-redshift objects requires that the redshift is intrinsic to the matter in distant quasars and galaxies and cannot be due to some modification of the light on its journey to Earth. It calls into question our understanding of quantum theory because it has been discovered that the redshift of quasars and companion galaxies is quantized!

Quantum theory has no real explanation, it is merely a set of rules that match some limited real world observations. On that basis it is a very shaky pillar to support cosmology. Quantum theory is thought to apply exclusively to the submicroscopic realm of atoms and subatomic particles. But that is not so. Redshift has been observed to be quantized across entire galaxies — no galaxy has been found in transition from one redshift to another.

Intrinsic redshift of quasars and galaxies means an end to the big bang. Instead of being seen “when the universe was much younger,” highly redshifted objects are merely young, nearby and faint. Observations show that quasars are “born” from the nucleus of active galaxies. They initially move very fast away from their parent, usually roughly along the spin axis. As they grow older they grow brighter and seem to slow down as they gain in mass and evolve into companion galaxies. This gain in massiveness points to a process whereby normal matter can pass through a number of small quantized increases in mass, which gives rise to the observed quantized decreases in redshift. This discovery points the way, at last, to an understanding of the phenomenon of mass.

The “stirred up” gas in highly redshifted objects can be simply understood as being due to unruly youthfulness and electrical hyperactivity. It has nothing to do with an imaginary early epoch of galactic collisions. In fact, “galactic collisions” are a recently popular catch-all to try to explain the formation of spiral galaxies and many of their anomalous features. Collisions are as unlikely and unnecessary as they are forbidden in an Electric Universe. The following exceptional example clearly favors the Electric Universe explanation. One simple electrical model fits all galaxies naturally.

Hoag's object

“A nearly perfect ring of hot, blue stars pinwheels about the yellow nucleus of an unusual galaxy known as Hoag's Object. This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures a face-on view of the galaxy's ring of stars. The entire galaxy is about 120,000 light-years wide, which is slightly larger than our Milky Way Galaxy. Ring-shaped galaxies can form in several different ways. One possible scenario is through a collision with another galaxy. Sometimes the second galaxy speeds through the first, leaving a ‘splash’ of star formation. But in Hoag's Object there is no sign of the second galaxy, which leads to the suspicion that the blue ring of stars may be the shredded remains of a galaxy that passed nearby. Some astronomers estimate that the encounter occurred about 2 to 3 billion years ago.” — Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: Ray A. Lucas (STScI/AURA)

Comment: In stark contrast to standard ad hoc attempts to explain Hoag’s object in terms of a collision, the Electric Universe can point to a simple explanation, which fits neatly the plasma cosmology model of formation of galaxies in a magnetic pinch at the intersection of cosmic Birkeland current filaments. Hoag’s object shows the detailed features of the ‘penumbra’ of a plasma focus discharge.

Penumbra of a dense plasma focus from a discharge current of 174,000 amperes.

Penumbra of a dense plasma focus from a discharge current of 174,000 amperes. The rotational structure of the penumbra has a periodicity of 56 as shown by the 56-dot overlay pattern. —Credit A. Peratt.

See also the earlier image of the active galactic nucleus of NGC 1097 as another fine example of a dense plasma focus penumbra. The astronomer Halton Arp has shown that NGC 1097 is one of the most compelling examples of quasar ejection from an active nucleus. He describes it as “a busy quasar factory.”

Dense plasma focus

The plasma focus is the simplest of devices. Two coaxial cylindrical electrodes have a very high voltage and current applied between them at one end. A radial discharge is initiated (shown in blue), which moves axially along the electrodes (1), under the influence of its self-generated magnetic field, until it reaches the end of the electrodes. There it balloons out in a filamentary penumbra (2). Image credit: E. Lerner.

The Birkeland current filaments are caused by the magnetic pinch effect and they space themselves evenly apart in a characteristic number of 56 filaments. With time, the 56 filaments coalesce in two’s and sometimes threes. The result is a sequence of 56 (by far the most common), 49, 47, 41, 39, 33, 30, followed by a large number of 28 filaments. The convergence continues through 20, 16, 8, 7, 6, and 4, the latter being the minimum number of Birkeland filaments recorded.

The energy of the discharge becomes focused at the center of the inner electrode (3) where a ‘kink’ plasma instability causes the filaments to form a ‘coiled coil’ like a coiled telephone cord. The kink instability twists upon itself to form a tiny donut shaped ‘plasmoid’ of extremely high energy density. Eventually, the plasmoid breaks down and electrons and ions are accelerated from the plasmoid in opposite directions along the axis in intense, narrow beams (4).

Dense plasma focus instability

The left hand image shows the kink instability at the dense plasma focus. The right hand image shows the form of the plasmoid and the particle jets created when the magnetic field begins to collapse. Image credit: E. Lerner.

The natural formation of highly focused jets from some stars and active galactic nuclei is now clear. And the rapid motion of stars close to our own galactic center may be explained by the assemblage of matter there in the form of a dusty plasmoid constrained by powerful magnetic fields.

Below is an image of the galactic jet of M87 with (by way of contrast) the best explanation that gravitational theorists can muster.

M87 jet

The jet blasting out of the nucleus of M87, a giant elliptical galaxy 50 million light years away in the constellation Virgo (false color). At the extreme left of the image, the bright galactic nucleus harboring a supermassive black hole shines. The jet is thought to be produced by strong electromagnetic forces created by matter swirling toward the supermassive black hole. These forces pull gas and magnetic fields away from the black hole along its axis of rotation in a narrow jet. Inside the jet, shock waves produce high-energy electrons that spiral around the magnetic field and radiate by the "synchrotron" process, creating the observed radio, optical and X-ray knots.

Comment: The gravitational ‘explanation’ of the galactic jet can be summarized in one word — “garbage.” The confident assertion that the galactic nucleus is hiding a supermassive black hole is nonsense. Black holes are a ‘school-kid howler’ perpetrated by top scientists. It involves taking Newton’s gravitational equation to an absurd limit by dividing by zero to achieve an almost infinitely powerful gravitational source. This is done by impossibly squeezing the matter of millions of stars into effectively a point source. And then mysteriously available magnetic fields are pressed into performing miracles to create something that approximates a relativistic jet of matter from an object that is supposed to gobble up anything that comes near.

It is very disturbing that the public accepts this blatant baloney without question. If scientists were forced to defend their statements in a court of law under the rules of evidence, most of the misbegotten ideas that make up modern science would never have survived. Physics would have remained in the classical hands of the experimentalists and the engineers who have to make things work. Countless billions of dollars could have been saved in misdirected and pointless experiments.

The experimental evidence for the electrical nature of galaxies has been available for many decades now. But who has heard anything about it? The lack of debate demonstrates the power of institutionalized science to maintain the “uncanny inertia” of the “erroneous theories” they have introduced into our culture. We have given scientists that power by trusting them more than our commonsense.

Having discovered electric power we find it indispensable. We also find that Nature does things with exquisite economy. So the commonsense question is simply, “would Nature choose the weakest force in the universe —gravity — to form and light the countless magnificent galaxies?” I don’t think so!

* The THINGS project is a large international collaboration led by Fabian Walter of the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and includes research teams led by Brinks, de Blok, Michele Thornley of the Bucknell University in the U.S. and Rob Kennicutt of the Cambridge University in the UK.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Wal Thornhill

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