The Black Hole at the Heart of Astronomy

“Astronomical fads have always involved miracle working to some degree, and their discussion in so-called workshops and in the streams of papers that pour into the journals have affinities to the incantations of Macbeth’s witches on the blasted heath.”
—Fred Hoyle, Home is where the wind blows.

The so-called “queen” of the sciences, cosmology, is founded upon the myth that the weakest force in the universe—gravity—is responsible for forming and shaping galaxies, stars and planets. But even if this were true, gravity remains unexplained. How it works is a mystery.

Newton gave us a mathematical description of what gravity does. Einstein invoked an unreal geometry to do the same thing. Newton had the sense to “frame no hypotheses” about how gravity worked. Einstein made it impossible to relate cause and effect—which means that the theory of general relativity is not physics! How, precisely, does matter warp empty space? The language is meaningless. But this hasn’t stopped scientists declaring a law of gravitation with a ‘universal’ physical constant—‘G.’

For many years now, astronomers have been reporting that supermassive black holes — several million times the mass of the Sun — exist in nearly every galaxy.

Galactic centre radio arc.

This image, taken by the Very Large Array of ground based telescopes at radio wavelengths, shows a bright source at the centre of the Milky Way that is thought to surround a black hole. From observations of stars in orbit around the Galactic Center it is concluded that there is indeed a supermassive black hole in this region, approximately 4,000,000 times the mass of the Sun. The structure known as the Galactic Centre Radio Arc (upper left) is described as “hot plasma flowing along lines of magnetic field.”

The thoughtless followers of Einstein have fashioned God in their own image as a mathematician but “He” is much smarter and avoids high school howlers like the gravitational “black hole.” Yes, a theoretical “black hole” exists—and it sucks the very heart out of astronomy and astrophysics. The astronomer Halton Arp articulated the math howler of dividing by zero to give a near infinite concentration of mass in a hypothetical black hole:

“Since the force of gravity varies as the square of the inverse distance between objects why not make the ultimate extrapolation and let the distance go to zero? You get a LOT of density. Maybe it goes BOOM! But wait a minute, maybe it goes in the opposite direction and goes MOOB! Whatever. Most astronomers decided anyway that this was the only source that could explain the observed jets and explosions in galaxies.”

Precisely! And when the gravitational force is as close to zero as doesn’t matter, in comparison to the electric force, you must be very careful (as any high school student knows) to not divide by zero, otherwise you introduce infinities. What does it mean for the radius of a physical object to tend to zero?

In the face of discordant data, a scientist is required to check the original works and assumptions that lead to the theory under test. But there are very few such scientists in this modern age. As Sir Fred Hoyle put it, today the pressure is on to “do what aging gurus tell them to do, which is nothing” and simply build on the consensus those gurus have established. A fellow Australian, Stephen Crothers, has shown mathematical theorists to be remarkably unintelligent and sloppy in the application of their talent to physical problems. It seems that most of them don’t really follow the mathematical arguments anyway (which is not surprising) but are happy to extol the results of others, based on reputation, regardless of the principles of physics or commonsense. Crothers has done his historical and mathematical homework and delivered a paper, The Schwarzschild solution and its implications for gravitational waves, at the Conference of the German Physical Society, Munich, March 9-13, 2009. He concludes, inter alia, that:

• “Schwarzschild’s solution” is not Schwarzschild’s solution. Schwarzschild’s actual solution does not predict black holes. The quantity ‘r’ appearing in the so-called “Schwarzschild solution” is not a distance of any kind. This simple fact completely subverts all claims for black holes.

• Despite claims for discovery of black holes, nobody has ever found a black hole; no infinitely dense point-mass singularity and no event horizon have ever been found. There is no physical evidence for the existence of infinitely dense point-masses.

• It takes an infinite amount of observer time to verify the presence of an event horizon, but nobody has been and nobody will be around for an infinite amount of time. No observer, no observing instruments, no photons, no matter can be present in a spacetime that by construction contains no matter.

• The black hole is fictitious and so there are no black hole generated gravitational waves. The international search for black holes and their gravitational waves is ill-fated.

• The Michell-Laplace dark body is not a black hole. Newton’s theory of gravitation does not predict black holes. General Relativity does not predict black holes. Black holes were spawned by (incorrect) theory, not by observation. The search for black holes is destined to find none.

• No celestial body has ever been observed to undergo irresistible gravitational collapse. There is no laboratory evidence for irresistible gravitational collapse. Infinitely dense point-mass singularities howsoever formed cannot be reconciled with Special Relativity, i.e. they violate Special Relativity, and therefore violate General Relativity.

• General Relativity cannot account for the simple experimental fact that two fixed bodies will approach one another upon release. There are no known solutions to Einstein’s field equations for two or more masses and there is no existence theorem by which it can even be asserted that his field equations contain latent solutions for such configurations of matter. All claims for black hole interactions are invalid.

• Einstein’s gravitational waves are fictitious; Einstein’s gravitational energy cannot be localised; so the international search for Einstein’s gravitational waves is destined to detect nothing. No gravitational waves have been detected.

• Einstein’s field equations violate the experimentally well-established usual conservation of energy and momentum, and therefore violate the experimental evidence.

In an audience of theoretical physicists there was stunned silence—and not a single question.

A final official word on black holes from the Astronomer Royal who follows an unenviable tradition of holders of that office being completely wrong and retarding progress:

“Black holes, the most remarkable consequences of Einstein’s theory, are not just theoretical constructs. There are huge numbers of them in our Galaxy and in every other galaxy, each being the remnant of a star and weighing several times as much as the Sun. There are much larger ones, too, in the centers of galaxies. Near our own galactic center, stars are orbiting ten times faster than their normal speeds within a galaxy.”
—Martin Rees, Our Cosmic Habitat (2001).


Electric Galaxies have Electromagnetic Hearts

The question for the Electric Universe is therefore: If black holes don’t exist, how do we explain recent observations at the center of our own Milky Way?

The well-established study of plasma cosmology shows that galaxies are an electrical phenomenon. It has been found that filaments, arcs, and shells characterize the small-scale structure of molecular gas in the Galactic Center. They are all well-documented electrodynamic plasma configurations. A single charged particle in 10,000 neutral gas molecules is sufficient to have the gas behave as plasma, where electromagnetic forces dominate. Conventional theorists admit to “no plausible explanations either for the origin of the complex kinematics or for most of the peculiar features.” In May last year I described the plasma focus phenomenon generated at the Galactic Center by filamentary helical “Birkeland” currents flowing in along the spiral arms and out along the galactic spin axis.

This image shows the form of the plasmoid at the center of the galaxy (and the particle jets created when the magnetic field begins to collapse).

This image shows the form of the plasmoid at the center of the galaxy (and the particle jets created when the magnetic field begins to collapse). Image credit: E. Lerner.

A letter to Nature provides supporting evidence for that model in the form of the infrared “double helix” nebula. The nebula is located about 100 parsecs from the Galactic Center. Its axis is oriented perpendicular to the Galactic plane and is apparently connected to the circum-nuclear disk (CND), which is conventionally thought to be an accretion disk harboring a “supermassive” black hole.

The 80 light-year long Double Helix Nebula (DHN) observed in infrared.

The 80 light-year long Double Helix Nebula (DHN) observed in infrared with the MIPS camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope. The spatial resolution is 6 arcsec. On the right we see the context of the DHN with respect to the Galactic plane taken with the MSX satellite. The spatial resolution is 20 arcsec. The relative locations and sizes of the nebula, the circumnuclear disk (CND), and the proposed channel linking them, are all shown. Credit: M. Morris et al., UCLA.

The double helix is the characteristic form of a Birkeland current filament. Like the filaments in the Galactic Center Radio Arc in the first image, it is a glowing section of the electric circuit connecting the central plasmoid to the galaxy and beyond. The CND is typical of a dusty plasma ring current circulating around a magnetized celestial object. There is no gravitational or dynamical explanation for the twin helical filaments. It has no place in black hole theory. The metaphors and language used in the scientific report are wrong and misleading. The title of the report alone highlights the problem—“A magnetic torsional wave near the Galactic Centre traced by a ‘double helix’ nebula.” As usual, there is no explanation for the presence of the magnetic field (which requires an electric current and circuit) or the source of the imagined “torsional wave.” The authors admit: “The absence of a negative-latitude counterpart is another potential weakness of the torsional wave hypothesis, inasmuch as such waves should propagate equally in both directions away from the driving disk, if that disk is symmetric about its midplane” and “One question that our hypothesis leaves unanswered is why the helical structure has two strands.”

Researchers also report that “the magnetic field in the central few hundred parsecs of the Milky Way has a dipolar geometry and is substantially stronger than elsewhere in the Galaxy.” Birkeland filaments align with the ambient magnetic field which is, in turn, generated by electric currents flowing into the central plasmoid.

The energy of the jets seen issuing from active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is attributed to conversion of gravitational energy of accreting matter into radiation. But that does not explain the character of the jets, or the puzzling “quietness” of our own hypothetical black hole. As recently as 26 March in Nature it was admitted “the mechanisms that trigger and suppress jet formation in [black holes] remain a mystery.” Meanwhile, the plasmoid is well known in the plasma laboratory as a high-density energy storage phenomenon that produces well-collimated jets after a time that depends upon particle collisions within the plasmoid.

X-ray emission is a signature of electrical activity. There is a persistent high-energy flux from the heart of the Milky Way. The spectral characteristics of the X-ray emission from this region suggests that the source is most likely not point-like but, rather, that it is a compact, yet diffuse, non-thermal emission region, which we should expect from an electromagnetic plasmoid. There is an overabundance of X-ray transients in the inner parsec of the Galactic Center compared to the overall distribution of X-ray sources. Recent observations show that X-ray flares fire roughly every 20 minutes – a regularity that is hard to explain in terms of erratic infall of matter into a black hole. But clockwork regularity of plasma discharges already explains the pulsations from other bodies in deep space. Scientists were also startled when they discovered in 2004 that the center of our galaxy is emitting gamma rays with energies in the tens of trillions of electron volts. The plasma focus is the most copious source of high-energy particles and radiation known to plasma experimenters.

Stellar orbits in the Galactic Center.

The orbits of stars in the center of the Milky Way. Credit: S. Gillesen et al., Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

The confidence of astrophysicists in their diagnosis of a “supermassive black hole” at the center of the galaxy has been boosted greatly by some brilliant observational work that has allowed the orbits of stars close to galactic center to be determined. Their motion has been used to better estimate the size and massiveness of the assumed “black hole” dwelling there. However, this brings us back to the question of what astrophysicists understand about gravity and mass.

In Electric Gravity in an Electric Universe I argue for the origin of mass and gravity in the electrical nature of matter. Mass is not a measure of the quantity of matter. The ‘universal constant of gravitation,’ G, is neither universal nor constant since it includes the mathematical dimension of mass, which is an electromagnetic variable. In the powerful magnetic field of a plasmoid, charged particles are constrained to accelerate continuously in the complex pattern of the plasmoid. Like electrons and protons in particle accelerators on Earth, the apparent masses of those particles become enormous as they approach the speed of light. So to report that the object at the center of the galaxy has the mass of 4 million Suns is meaningless in terms of the amount of matter trapped there electromagnetically. The matter there is not constrained by gravity, nor is it there as a result of gravitational accretion. Maxwell’s laws apply at the Galactic Center, not Newton’s.

The plasmoid is “quiet” while storing electromagnetic energy. The persistent high-energy flux comes from synchrotron radiation from the circulating charged particles in the plasmoid. Experiments indicate that as soon as the particle densities in the plasmoid filaments reach some critical value, collisions begin to dominate and the plasmoid begins to decay. The density is greatest in the bundle of axial filaments, so that is where the stored energy is released in the form of thin axial jets of neutrons, charged particles and radiation. In the process the axial current is “pinched off,” which could focus upon the plasmoid some of the prodigious electromagnetic energy stored in the intergalactic circuit. The plasmoid becomes an Active Galactic Nucleus.

A couple of serious problems have been found with the black hole scenario. One is called “the paradox of youth.” It is a:

“mystery surrounding the existence of massive young stars in the inner few hundredths of a parsec around the central black hole of the Galaxy. The problem is that according to standard scenarios of star formation and stellar dynamics the stars cannot be born in such an extreme environment because of the strong tidal shear, but are also too short-lived to have migrated there from farther out. None of the solutions proposed so far for the puzzle of the young stars are entirely satisfactory. Their spectral properties are identical to normal, main sequence B0-B9 stars with moderate (≤150 km/s) rotation.” “The stellar orbits appear overall random, in marked contrast to the ordered planar rotation observed for the much more luminous emission line stars farther out. In addition the stars in the central 0.02 parsec appear to have higher than random eccentricity.”

These recent discoveries demonstrate the bankruptcy of gravitational theory.

Stars are an electrical phenomenon. Stars are not formed by gravitational accretion but in the incomparably more powerful plasma z-pinch. The galactic plasmoid is a concentrated z-pinch with the complex morphology shown earlier. As a z-pinch subsides, experiment shows that a number of consolidated objects that formed along the pinch scatter like buckshot. So stars born in the plasmoid will initially have random eccentric orbits. Stellar rotation is imparted by the pinch vortex and should be similar in the group. The stars beyond 0.02 parsec from the Galactic Center show different kinematics and stellar properties from those stars inside that limit. It indicates a discontinuity in the properties of the plasma environment rather than something intrinsic to the stars.

Infrared image of the mini-spiral at the Galactic Center

Infrared image of the mini-spiral at the Galactic Center obtained with the Kuiper Widefield Infrared Camera on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. Credit: H M Latkavoski et al., Cornell U.

The hallmark of plasma phenomena is their scalability over an enormous size range, from microscopic to galactic. The natural form of the largest visible plasma discharge in the universe, the spiral galaxy, is seen repeated here at the heart of our own spiral electric galaxy.

Scientists hope that future very high resolution imaging of the Galactic Center will enable them to detect the features expected of a black hole with a “Schwarzschild radius” of 10 million miles. It is supposed to “open up a new window for probing the structure of space and time near a black hole and testing Einstein’s theory of gravity.” Given that the Schwarzschild radius “is not a distance of any kind,” I confidently predict continuing surprises, puzzlement and theoretical legerdemain in attempts to make the facts fit the unscientific black hole theory. It seems impossible for the courtiers to perceive that the emperors of science have no clothes. Reality is a shared illusion.

I suggest we stop wasting tens of billions of dollars searching for new particles and forces invented by mathematicians chasing fame and a Nobel Prize and spend one percent of that sum investigating the dense plasma focus. Science used to be about simplification. It is the way of the Electric Universe. It is the way out of science’s black hole.


Messages from some Dissident Witnesses at the Emperor’s Court

“Modern astronomers busy themselves applying accepted theories to new observations in deliberate disregard for the unexpected. They may as well reprint previous papers, close the telescopes, and save the taxpayers’ pennies. They’ve ceased looking for new ideas and have become technicians of the rote.

Astronomy has become a science of answers, of ‘secure knowledge,’ of ritual. It can be contained on a hard drive. It’s a science for robots or parrots. Answers are victories that soon become dead leaves of reminiscence, dry pages of textbooks and scriptures.

A science for humans is a science of questions, of learning, of possibilities and opportunities. Its aim is not to fold the unquestioned into the envelope of the given but to learn new words and to write new narratives.”
—Mel Acheson


“It’s all about attitude, really. There are scientists who think they may be able to derive a set of equations they boldly term “The Theory of Everything”. Then there are those, like me, who admit to themselves and others that what we don’t know will always significantly exceed what we do. So it comes down to this: Do we believe the evidence of our eyes, to the extent that it should form the basis of theories in cosmology, or do we rather depend upon our imaginations, expressed in convoluted mathematical dialects, to express our eternal optimism that some day, some how, we might persuade ordinary folk that this is how they should be seeing it.”
—Hilton Ratcliffe, Declaration of Intent: Swimming with the salmon, dining with the bears.


“The worse things get, the more scientists meet together internationally in the interest (supposedly) of progress. But, as Tommy Gold points out, perpetually meeting together locks people’s beliefs together into a fixed pattern, and, if the pattern is not yielding progress, the situation soon becomes moribund. These considerations provide ample motivation for attempts to preserve the status quo in cosmology: religion, the reputations of the aging, and money. Always in such situations in the past, however, the crack has eventually come. The Universe eventually has its way over the prejudices of men, and I optimistically predict it will be so again.”
—Sir Fred Hoyle, Home is where the wind blows (1994).

Wal Thornhill

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