Charged planets

Newton’s Electric Clockwork Solar System

Astronomy magWe are told that gravity rules the cosmos. The story of the big bang, the origin of galaxies and stars, and our ultimate fate are founded on this belief. But the March 2009 Astronomy magazine carries the surprising headline, “Is there something we don’t know about gravity?” The question should be, “why do we think that physicists know anything about gravity beyond mathematical descriptions of its observed effects?” All that modern physics has done is to obscure the need for serious investigation of an unsolved problem. Even some effects attributed to the action of gravity, like the bending of light, need not have anything to do with gravity. Indeed, we are so far from understanding gravity that we don’t know the right questions to ask.

For example, orbital dynamicists have long known that Newton’s law of gravity applied to the solar system displays chaos in the short-term—perhaps a few tens of millions of years—not aeons-long clockwork stability. So the first question that must be asked is why does the solar system appear to run like clockwork? This is not done in the usual history of the solar system. A strict application of Newtonian dynamics would render retro-calculation of planetary histories impossible. How can you concoct a history if you have no idea where the group of actors were in the past? Without understanding the cause of stability of the planetary system, the foundation of geology and planetary science is missing! We cannot explain the origin of the solar system.

Origin of the Solar System

To provide clockwork stability there must be a feedback mechanism to control orbital spacing. That requirement can be met if the gravity (mass) of a planet is variable. I have argued in Electric Gravity that this is possible by changing the electrical charge state of a planet. In summary, the Earth’s gravity and surface charge causes radially oriented electrostatic dipoles to be formed by most atoms inside the Earth with the inner pole positive and the outer pole negative. This effect is due to the almost 2,000-fold more massive nuclear particles compared to the orbiting electrons. If all subatomic particles are composed of a resonant system of positive and negative charges they are also subject to distortion in the radial electric field to form an electric dipole. Since the particles are free to rotate, their dipoles will line up and the weak dipole force of each particle will add up to produce the effect of gravity.

Charged planets

If the electric field within the Earth changes, the amount of this dipolar distortion will change and the force of its gravity will change. Charge exchange among planets is the key to the orbit stabilizing mechanism in an electric solar system. The ‘clockwork’ of the solar system is governed by gravity and its stability provided electrically.

What we need to find is a means of transferring charge between planets that may provide an orbit stabilizing influence.

Electrically Modified Newtonian Dynamics (EMOND)

In 1983 Mordehai Milgrom of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel proposed a modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) to describe galactic motions. As explained in Electric Galaxies, the motion of galaxies is not gravity dominated. MOND may not be necessary for galaxies. However, some form of MOND is needed to explain stable planetary motion within the solar system.

Conventional celestial mechanics never thinks of the mass of a planet as a variable. However, if the electrical charge on a planet can directly affect its apparent mass to a significant degree, a new and important consideration is introduced to celestial mechanics. Newton’s well-known gravitational equation has the force (F) between the Sun and a planet as:

F = GMm/r2 where
G = the ‘constant’ of gravitation,
M = mass of the Sun,
m = the mass of the planet, and
r = the distance of the planet from the Sun.

However, G is measured at the Earth’s surface and used in this equation for the Sun and every other planet. It is simply assumed that G is universal and has the same value for all celestial bodies.

G has the peculiar dimensions of length cubed, divided by mass and by time squared ([L]3/[M][T]2). A. K. T. Assis argues that dimensional constants like G should not appear in the laws of physics. They “must depend on cosmological or microscopic properties of the universe.” [1] Garcia-Berro et al state, “Questioning the constancy of fundamental parameters is essentially trying to understand a more fundamental theory behind.” [2]

We conceal our ignorance of any underlying physical mechanism by tolerating dimensional constants. If mass is an electrical variable, G cannot be constant. Assuming G to be universal as well gives rise to calculated masses and densities of celestial bodies that lead to further conjectures cantilevered upon the already dubious assumptions. Stellar and planetary structure and composition are based upon this erroneous conviction. For example, by using G, measured on Earth, the planet Saturn appears to have a lower density than water!

Strong circumstantial evidence for a different gravitational ‘constant’ for each body at different times comes from the difficulty of establishing its value on Earth. ‘G’ is the most inconstant of physical constants. [3] The small variations in measurements in modern times are dwarfed by evidence from prehistory. Early dinosaur discoveries forced scientists to conclude that the gigantic animals must have been waders to offset their crushing weight with the buoyancy of water. However, fossil footprints show them as fleet-footed land animals — an impossibility in Earth’s present gravity. “The force of gravity at the surface of the earth must have been very much lower than it is today.” [4] Whatever happened to the dinosaurs was far more dramatic than climate change from a puny asteroid impact.

The ELECTRIC UNIVERSE® concept of gravity illustrates this “more fundamental theory behind” the conceptual curtain of G. The Electric Sun is a positively charged anode and the focus of a galactic glow discharge. Most of the voltage difference between the Sun and its interstellar environment occurs at the ‘virtual cathode’ — the solar wind boundary known as the heliopause. The heliopause is not simply a supersonic shock boundary but a thin protective plasma sheath or ‘double layer.’ The double layer boundary accelerates solar wind ions into deep space at cosmic ray energies. So cosmic rays give a useful measure of the driving potential of the Sun, estimated to be of the order of 10 billion volts. The order of magnitude and direction of the electric field inside this double layer boundary fits the electric model of interplanetary space as the ‘positive column’ region of a glow discharge. It is characterized by a weak but constant electric ‘drift field.’ [5]

The tail of Venus

Each planet acts as a small secondary cathode in this solar glow discharge and develops an invisible cometary plasma sheath, the tail of which stretches away from the Sun in the plane of the ecliptic. The cometary plasma sheath of Venus was found to stretch as far as the Earth during inferior conjunction. Researchers were puzzled by the coherent “stringy” nature of the Venusian plasma tail. [6] The stringiness is confirmation of Birkeland currents stretching between Venus and the Earth, which transfer charge between the planets. The same kind of electrical exchange takes place between Earth and Mars during opposition, giving rise to the ‘blue clearing’ of the Martian atmosphere and the electrically driven global dust storms on that planet. Many planetary plasma tails have been found to brush across the plasma sheath of the planet in the next outer orbit. This brushing constitutes an intermittent circuit for transferring charge between adjacent planets when they are aligned with the Sun.

It suggests the following mechanism for orbital adjustment and stabilization:

The total orbital energy of a planet about the Sun is the sum of the planet’s kinetic energy (KE) and its gravitational potential energy (PE). That is, if

KE = 1/2mv2 and
PE = -GMm/r,

using the earlier notation and where v is the velocity of the planet in its orbit, then the total energy (E) of a planet in orbit about the Sun is:

E = 1/2mv2 – GMm/r.

For the simple case of a circle,

v2 = GM/r so that
E = 1/2m(GM/r) – m(GM/r) or,
E = -m(GM/2r) and
r = m(-GM/2E), that is (assuming the mass of the Sun (M) remains constant),

The orbital radius of a planet (r) is directly proportional to the planet’s mass (m) for a given orbital energy (E).

[Note that the mass of an electrically shining Sun does not steadily diminish at the calculated rate of 4.38 x 109 kg/sec by converting mass into radiant energy—as the standard model assumes. However, the Sun does lose mass in the solar wind at about 30% of that rate. It is a trivial rate of change in M. But a more significant and sudden change in M may occur in response to variations in the local galactic electrical environment].

Orbital enerby

If the mass of an inner planet is reduced by charge exchange with the next outer planet, which changes the subatomic dipole distortion, the orbital radius of the inner planet must decrease proportionally to conserve energy. Similarly, the outer planet must gain mass and its orbit expands to conserve energy. The closer the encounter between two planets the more substantial the charge exchange and the greater the resultant orbital adjustments. It seems a highly effective means for collision avoidance and for quickly spacing the planetary orbits to minimize interactions—provided the inner planet diminishes its charge polarization (reduces its mass) in the exchange and the outer planet increases its polarization (increases its mass). Is this possible?

A substantial transfer of electrons from the inner planet to the outer planet along a (visible or invisible) cometary tail may produce the effect we require. Gravitationally induced charge polarization in neutral atoms forms a weak radial electric field inside celestial bodies. Planets behave like spherical electrets with a radial electric dipole polarization. If we remove some of the surface electrons the internal polarization is diminished causing a proportional diminution of the apparent mass and gravity of that body. Conversely, if electrons are added to a body its internal polarization increases, causing a proportional increase in mass.

Comet accelerations

As a secondary cathode in the solar discharge, each planet normally supplies some electrons to the solar wind. In the case of an intense cometary discharge, like that memorialized for Venus, the continuous discharge can circularize and shrink the planet’s orbit. It is an effective capture mechanism that is unavailable under Newton’s gravitational law. Venus now has the most circular orbit of any planet. And as the plasma tail of an inner planet sweeps across the plasma sheath of an adjacent outer planet, electrons are transferred via Birkeland current filaments. The inner planet loses mass and its orbit shrinks toward the Sun. The outer planet gains mass and its orbit expands away from the Sun. Orbital eccentricity is damped by ‘cometary’ charge exchange with the solar wind, which varies with distance from the Sun. The eventual result is that all planets settle into low eccentricity orbits where they disturb each other the least.

This is an Electrically Modified Newtonian Dynamics (EMOND). It is distinct from MOND which merely twiddled Newton’s law to match the observations. MOND is NOT a theory. EMOND is a theory that requires no new physics.

Gravitational Mysteries Noted in Astronomy Magazine

Astronomical Unit (AU) Inflation

”The latest measurements by Pitjeva and Standish suggest the AU is increasing about 23 feet (7 meters) per century. But the AU should not change at all! EMOND provides a mechanism that can be tested because the Earth’s orbit expansion should be a discontinuous function with discrete ‘jumps’ following major solar storms and at Venus’ inferior conjunction. At present the measurements have only been done between the Earth and Mars, which doesn’t rule out the possibility that the Sun’s mass (M) is changing. In that case, all planetary orbits should change proportionally and simultaneously. This is an important experiment to carry out when a radio transponder is placed on another body in the solar system (other than the Moon).

Mercury’s Perihelion

Newton’s laws do not explain the rate of precession of Mercury’s perihelion. It is offered as ‘proof’ of the validity of Einstein’s theory of gravity. However, Einstein’s theory does not explain gravity so we must ask if EMOND can provide the answer. Perhaps so, since subtle changes in the orbit of Mercury will occur as a result of variable charge transfer from the solar wind due to the planet’s eccentric, tilted orbit. (See More on Mercury’s Mysteries). Mercury is close to the Sun and should experience a decreasing orbital eccentricity by charge exchange with the solar wind.

Lunar Eccentricity

The Moon’s orbit is becoming more elliptical at a rate three times faster than can be explained by tidal factors. The Moon is at the solar wind plasma potential, judging by its lack of any substantial plasma sheath. So it has no significant damping of eccentricity via charge exchange with the solar wind. Meanwhile, for some months each year at full phase the Moon passes through the Earth’s plasma sheath, which will give a nudge to the Moon’s orbit by transferring charge from the Earth. The repeated electrogravitic ‘nudge’ in the same region of the Moon’s orbit will cause an unaccounted for increase in eccentricity.

The ‘Pioneer Anomaly’

Tracking data has shown that both Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft have slowed at a constant rate while travelling out of the solar system in opposite directions. I solved this anomaly in 1999 in terms of the Electric Sun model. It is the only model that explains why the decelerating force remains constant with distance from the Sun, something that gravity or any other diminishing inverse square law force cannot do.

Oddball Orbits

It has long been known that comets have “oddball orbits” that do not obey Newton’s law of gravity. The anomalous accelerations are due to the motion of an electrically discharging body in the Sun’s weak, radial electric field. In recent years “anomalous orbital energy changes” have also been observed for spacecraft that flew by the Earth for a gravity assist. In their time away from the Earth, the spacecraft establish a charge polarization with respect to the solar wind. When they again encounter the Earth, their masses will have changed. The effect on spacecraft acceleration with respect to the Earth is of the same variable nature as the “non-gravitational” acceleration of comets with respect to the Sun.


The modern knee-jerk response to anomalous data is to propose “a new physics.” That way, the belief goes, fame and fortune beckons. “New physics” is the main proposition in the Astronomy article. It shouldn’t be. Surprise results are a signal that our understanding of the problem is faulty. We should be re-examining the assumptions that underpin our models rather than adding more complexity to patch over the cracks. The vital requirement in this case is to understand gravity!

We observe falling and orbital motions and describe them with equations that we call gravitation laws. We think that we understand gravity because the equations seem to work. [7] But our celestial observations span a very brief and recent interval of human experience. At the same time, scientists regard global legends about bellicose activities of planetary gods in the heavens as ‘myth’—read ‘fiction.’ The stories tell of battles in the skies between planetary gods hurling thunderbolts. The thunderbolts depictions bear no relationship to the puny sparks we call lightning. Instead, the ‘thunderbolts of the gods’ find their morphology duplicated in the highest energy electric discharges generated in plasma laboratories. The remarkable juxtaposition of planets with the thunderbolt as their ‘weapon’ goes unremarked. Furthermore, the mythmakers described the planets as spheres, which calls for close encounters with the Earth in prehistory. It is not the myths but the modern story of the clockwork Newtonian solar system that is fiction.

Thunderbolts of the Gods

The confusion about any role for electricity in celestial dynamics has come about because of our ignorance of the electrical nature of matter and of gravity. The classical signposts to an understanding of gravity were in place at the beginning of the 20th century, but after the terrible world wars it seems people were looking for heroes with a new vision. Einstein became an overnight idol of genius and his geometric metaphysics the new fashion in science. The dedication to the Einstein mythology has become so entrenched that to say “the emperor has no clothes” invites ridicule. But over almost a century there has been an astronomical price to pay for adulatory adherence to dogma.

A recent review of the history of astronomy concludes:

“The inability of researchers to rid themselves of earlier ideas led to centuries of stagnation. An incredible series of deliberate oversights, indefensible verbal evasions, myopia, and plain pig-headedness characterize the pedestrian progress along this elusive road for science. We must be constantly on our guard, critically examining all the hidden assumptions in our work.” [8]

The public must be made aware how science actually operates and is protected from scrutiny. It will require the kind of fearless investigative journalism we often see in politics. Science reporters must refuse to bow to the expert and the lazy dissemination of academic propaganda.

Newtonian dynamics does not guarantee stability in a many-body gravitational system; quite the reverse in fact. The electrical nature of mass and gravity simply adds a new dimension to Newton’s celestial mechanics. No ‘new physics’ is required.

“History serves as an appellate court, ready to reverse the judgments of the lower courts, which are limited by the myopia of contemporaneity.” [9]

Wal Thornhill


[1] A. K. T. Assis, The Principle of Physical Proportions, Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie, Volume 29 no 1-2, 2004, p. 152.
[2] E. García-Berro et al., Astronomical measurements and constraints on the variability of fundamental constants, Astronomy & Astrophysics Review (2007) 14:113–170, p. 115.
[3] Earth’s magnetic field ‘boosts gravity’ New Scientist, 22 September 2002, “Newton’s constant, which describes the strength of the gravitational pull that bodies exert on each other, is the most poorly determined of the constants of nature. The two most accurate measurements have experimental errors of 1 part in 10,000, yet their values differ by 10 times that amount. So physicists are left with no idea of its absolute value.”
[4] L. Endersbee, A Voyage of Discovery: A history of ideas about the earth, 2005, p. 208.
[5] C. Lacombe et al., Evidence for the interplanetary electric potential? WIND observations of electrostatic fluctuations, Annales Geophysicae (2002) 20: 609–618.
[6] Planet’s tail of the unexpected, New Scientist, 31 May 1997, p. 18.
[7] Op. cit., L. Endersbee, p. 107. “The question of the physical basis of the force of gravity is quite profound, and continues to be studiously avoided by most of the physicists and astronomers. We are all aware of the consequences of the force of gravity, but the cause of the force of gravity remains a mystery.”
[8] Simon Mitton, reviewing The Milky Way by Stanley L. Jaki, New Scientist, 5 July 1973, p. 38.
[9] Robert K. Merton, The Matthew Effect in Science: The reward and communication systems of science are considered, Science, Vol. 159, pp. 56-63.

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