The Electric Sky – Interview with the author

by Wal Thornhill | December 24, 2006 6:26 am

“If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress. “
—Carl Sagan

“The role of large-scale currents may be far more important in defining interstellar structure than has generally been recognized within the astronomical community.”
— radio astronomer Gerrit L. Verschuur

Professor Don Scott and Wal Thornhill[1]
Professor Don Scott and Wal Thornhill

“A revolution is beginning in astronomy and cosmology that will rival the one set off by Copernicus and Galileo.”
—Don Scott

A new book I recommend highly for the new year is Don Scott’s The ELECTRIC SKY. It is an important book because it encourages informed people to “demand reasonable answers to reasonable questions” from space scientists. It is easy to be intimidated by the flood of bizarre claims from astrophysicists and cosmologists and become “convinced that nonsense is ruling the world.” The ELECTRIC SKY offers a refreshing, practical alternative. This work is not “fringe” science. It is based on the work of Nobel Prize winners whose work has been selectively and incorrectly applied by theoretical astrophysicists. When viewed from a practical electrical engineering standpoint, the fog of misconceptions and misinformation clears and a new vision of the universe appears.

The ELECTRIC SKY should appeal to the informed reader. It is based upon sound electrical engineering principles and confirmed by experiment. The ELECTRIC SKY argues that the universe is utterly different from what we have been taught to believe. With this new electrical circuit diagram the universe is transformed. As Bryan Appleyard writes:

“If all that we have been doing has merely been an effective series of extrapolations on a series of assumptions that we now know to be flawed, then perhaps the truth of the world is far more radically different from anything which we have yet allowed ourselves to dream.”

The ELECTRIC SKY is easily accessible to engineers; to the informed public; to scientists who have maintained a healthy skepticism; and to students who have not been indoctrinated with a catechism of defective assumptions. There is a mountain of data to be reexamined and countless new discoveries to be made. The payoff will be an explosion of possibilities in every area of science.

The sooner the media becomes aware and allows the public to hear this new story, the sooner that public can decide to bring the scientific establishment to account. Instead of passive acceptance and waiting “until the present occupants of the astrophysics power structure have retired from the scene,” the issue should be forced. After all, it is our money they are squandering. Meanwhile, Scott has done us a service with the publication of The ELECTRIC SKY. With scientific manpower and billions of dollars being wasted every year chasing theoretical fantasies, he is right: “It’s time to decide.”

It’s Time to Decide

The main thrust of this book is that the time is ripe for informed people from outside astrophysics to evaluate what the astrophysical theoreticians have been telling us.

If, as we will claim, the causes of most of the observed phenomena of modern astronomy are electrical in nature, do you need a degree in electrical engineering before you can understand them? Indeed not. The average informed person can understand and make rational judgments about these ideas. All it requires is the time and patience to read and to think logically and critically about the issues. Some basic facts and a few new concepts will suffice. So the main goal of this work is to convince you, the reader, that you really do have both the capability and responsibility to make informed, critical judgments about the pronouncements of established scientists. A careful reading of these pages will enable you to make an informed assessment of this new plasma-based alternative cosmology.

Interested plasma scientists and electrical engineers have been thrashing out the various hypotheses of Plasma Cosmology in their conferences and publications. So far, most astrophysicists have completely ignored them. Instead of engaging in further futile attempts to persuade the astrophysical community to seriously consider these new ideas, a growing band of plasma scientists, engineers, and a few brave cosmologists and astronomers are simply bypassing them. A paradigm based on electric plasma, which does not find new discoveries to be enigmatic and puzzling but instead to be predictable and consistent, is slowly but surely gaining ground. But it may well be that general acceptance of these new ideas will have to wait until the present occupants of the astrophysics power structure have retired from the scene.

An abridged interview with Don Scott

The Electric Sky[2]

Click here for more information and to order The ELECTRIC SKY[3].

Q: Why do you feel qualified to write this book about electricity in space?

A: I have been an amateur astronomer all my life and I have a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering – I taught that subject for 39 years at the University of Massachusetts. Those are my academic qualifications; but more importantly my book, The ELECTRIC SKY, is a report about the ongoing challenge being made by other qualified scientists and engineers to the old gravity-only ideas of classical astronomical theory. We now know that space is actually filled with matter in the form of “electric plasma” – and electrical scientists and engineers know how it works. Astronomers do not and they are refusing to learn.

Q: What is the main point of your book? What are you saying?

A: My main point is that astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology have become closed fortresses, not open unbiased sciences. Astronomers have to realize that over the last century a great deal of scientific progress has been made in experimental plasma physics that they need to know about. They reject this idea totally. If we are to learn about the sky, astronomers have to lower the drawbridge of their castle and admit new knowledge.

Q: Why do you think astronomers are rejecting these “electrical ideas”?

A: Since the days of Kepler (who correctly described the paths planets take) and Newton (who described the force that keeps them on those paths) astronomers have refused to consider that any other important forces or mechanisms might also be at work out there. Astrophysicists do not study electricity in graduate school. They are unfamiliar with it – they reject it out of ignorance. But since the advent of radio telescopes, x-ray telescopes and infrared telescopes, they are seeing new things that are not explainable by their old “gravity-only” theories.

Q: Do many other engineers and scientists agree with you about there being electricity in space?

A: I’m definitely not alone. I am in very good company. Several of the leaders of what I call the Plasma Cosmology Revolution were Nobel Prize winners: Swedish electrical engineer Hannes Alfvén is often called the father of Plasma Cosmology – he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970. It always comes as a shock to me that so few Swedes know about Alfvén’s work and what a giant among scientists he was.

Kristian Birkeland (whose picture is on the Norwegian 200K note) discovered that the aurorae are due to a flow of electric charges coming from the Sun. His ideas were viciously opposed by astrophysicists for decades until space probes were able to go beyond Earth’s ionosphere – then they showed Birkeland was right. At the time of his death in 1917, he was being considered by the Nobel awards committee.

Irving Langmuir coined the word “Plasma” to describe the form of matter we see so much of in space. He discovered many of its properties, invented clever ways to measure it, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.

A year or so ago a group of well-known astrophysicists and plasma scientists published an open letter complaining about the short-sightedness of mainstream astronomers & cosmologists. It is now available at[4] so the basic ideas of plasma cosmology as presented in The ELECTRIC SKY are supported by many informed scientists.

Q: Are there such things as Black-Holes?

A: The short answer is no. Because astronomers are unable, using only Newtonian gravity, to explain various things (such as monstrously powerful galactic “jets”) that they are observing in the sky, they have invented an entire zoo of imaginary entities and forces. Black holes that emit jets of matter are among these. Their basic problem is that gravity only attracts – electromagnetic fields both attract and repel. That property is the cause of many of the new ejection phenomena we are seeing.

Q: How do you know Black Holes don’t exist? Can you prove they don’t exist?

A: The main difference between science and pseudoscience is that true scientists never propose unfalsifiable hypotheses and then challenge you to falsify them. For example there’s an old debating trick: “Prove to me there isn’t a rhinoceros under this table. It’s an invisible, unsmellable rhino, and you can’t feel it – it has no mass. But it is THERE. Prove to me it isn’t.” This kind of debating trick should not be used in science.

When this happens, a red flag should go up in our minds. We must reject quickly and forcefully any demand that we falsify a non-falsifiable theory. Non-falsifiable theories are, by definition, not scientific.

Another example just like this one occurred when the originator of the concept of black holes, said, “To me, the formation of a naked singularity [a black hole] is equivalent to jumping across the Gulf of Mexico. I would be willing to bet a million dollars that it can’t be done. But I can’t prove that it can’t be done.”

What he is actually saying is – YOU can’t prove that black holes don’t exist, so I am free to use the concept as often as I like. It is a non-falsifiable hypothesis. It is intellectually dishonest. In logic this is called the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam, meaning “argument from ignorance.” The fallacy occurs when it is argued that something must be true, simply because it hasn’t been proved false. Well-known properties of plasma are responsible for what astronomers say “black-holes” are doing.

Q: Can you tell us in just a couple of sentences the most important ideas in Plasma Cosmology.

A: Interplanetary space, interstellar space, and intergalactic space are all filled with ions and electrons (electric charges) – we call this Plasma. Our space probes have measured it. Radio telescopes tell us there are vast magnetic fields there too – and long filaments of moving charges (electric currents). These filaments make up a vast stringy spaghetti-like structure of interconnected paths upon which stars and galaxies form and which are surrounded by magnetic fields. The electromagnetic forces that exist in this environment vastly overpower gravitational forces.

Q: So you are saying that stars and planets are somehow formed by electric currents? What about the “accretion disks” that astronomers say condense down into stars and planets.

A: These long filaments are called “Birkeland currents” and they have a property of being able to squeeze clouds of matter together – this is called the “z-pinch” effect. It’s not magic – it is a well-documented phenomenon that we see in the laboratory. On the other hand, “accretion disks” are one of those off-the-cuff inventions thrown out by astronomers to a gullible public. You can’t make accretion disks accrete in lab experiments or in computer simulations. If our solar system is the result of an “accretion disk” then answer this question: Neptune’s moon Triton travels “backward” in its orbit around Neptune. In other words, if we look down on the north poles of both Neptune and Triton, the planet rotates in the usual counter-clockwise direction, but its moon travels clockwise in its orbit. Clearly, if both these bodies were formed from the same rotating “accretion disk,” their angular momentums should not be in opposite directions. At least five of the smallest moons of Jupiter also exhibit this same “strange” behavior. Venus rotates backwards on its axis. How did it get that motion from an accretion disk that made all the other planets rotate the other way? And how can a swirling cloud of dust and matter “accrete” (get smaller)? Such a shrinking process would increase its rotational velocity – just like a twirling ice skater who brings her arms in closer to her body in order to spin faster.

Q: Have plasma cosmologists such as you made any predictions that have been successful? Astronomers have made lots of successful predictions.

A: Oh really? Name one. They claim they have. But they haven’t. Take for example the results of helioseismology – astronomers claim they have “probed the Sun” and found that their models “predict” the oscillations and resonances occurring in the Sun with fantastic accuracy. Not true. First, nobody can “probe” the Sun. We can’t get at it – it’s too hot. What astronomers did is sit here on Earth and observe fluctuations in the light coming from the Sun. They then made up a set of mathematical equations that produces the same sort of oscillating signal. It is easy to make up the mathematical model AFTER you see the data. That’s not a prediction. If their equation has enough terms they can get 100% correspondence with the data. That’s a posteriori DESCRIPTION not a PREDICTION.

Do you remember the “Deep Impact” experiment a year or so ago – NASA threw a block of copper into a comet. They said this head-on collision was going to produce a crater on the comet and the photographs they would take of the shape of this new crater were going to tell us what the comet was made of. A colleague of mine, Wal Thornhill, made a real prediction: Because of the properties of the plasma surrounding the Sun (sometimes called the “solar wind”) Wal suggested that the onrushing comet would be at a different voltage from the block of copper. Therefore, just before the physical collision, there would be a spark discharge, a flash that would precede the main collision. This is exactly what happened. NASA said “What you see is something really surprising”. They could not explain it. The reaction of mainstream astrophysics – even after Thornhill’s prediction had been so singularly correct, so on the mark – was an abrupt, off-hand rejection: “It’s complete cobblers,” said Dr. David Hughes, comet expert and professor of astrophysics at Britain’s University of Sheffield. “Absolute balderdash. Electricity on the surface of a comet? Forget about it. It’s not a contender.” Those who refuse to learn are doomed to continuing ignorance.

In 1996 the European Space Agency’s ROSAT satellite observed x-rays being emitted from Comet Hyakutake. Astronomers were again “surprised.” A non-electrical “dusty snow-ball” would not do that. But x-rays are expected from a high-voltage double layer such as would enclose a comet’s plasma sheath. So we are gaining more and more evidence that comets are good examples of an electrical phenomenon – mainstream astronomers not only do not believe it – they get downright insulting to anyone who mentions the idea.

How does your dentist produce x-rays? Does he throw snowballs around his office?

Q: Well, given your feelings about accepted astronomical theories, what do you think about the Big Bang?

A: Let me return the compliment – It’s complete cobblers, it’s balderdash. One of the fundamental assumptions on which the Big Bang hypothesis is based is that if light coming from an object in deep space exhibits a property called “redshift”, then this object must be extremely distant and also be going away from us very rapidly. They say they observe this very often and this is why the universe is expanding away from the point where the Bang happened. A very well-known astronomer (he was Edwin Hubble’s assistant), Halton C. Arp, has taken dozens of images of objects that have very different redshift values that are connected together. If they are physically connected by bridges of matter, then they cannot be at vastly different distances from us. He even has an image of a high redshift quasar that is in front of a low redshift galaxy. If the high redshift object is closer to us than the low redshift galaxy, then that disproves the “redshift = distance” basis of the Big Bang.

There are many other deficiencies in the Big Bang theory. The density of the universe predicted by the BB theory, when the density of light elements like lithium, helium and deuterium are considered, are self contradictory.

Big Bang proponents like to say the measured temperature of the Cosmic Background Radiation proves the BB Theory. What they don’t tell you is that one of the most famous BB proponents, George Gamov, predicted that the temperature of the CMB would be 50 Kelvin. Many other estimates in the range 2.8 to 7 Kelvin had already been made by non-BB astrophysicists. When the temperature was finally determined (3Kelvin), Big Bangers immediately claimed that was what they “had said all along.” It wasn’t. That is a lie. Everyone else had gotten closer to the right answer – their guess was 16 times too large.

For the BB to be correct, 96% of the matter in the universe has to be invisible and not measurable. A cosmology that leaves 96% of the universe unexplained is something less than a riotous success.

My friend Eric Lerner says that “The essence of science is asking questions of nature, so Big Bang proponents are people who won’t take No for an answer.”

Q: Your name is linked with the Electric Sun idea. Is the Sun powered from the outside electrically?

A: We aren’t sure. It may well be. This is the most speculative part of Plasma Cosmology. Much more data needs to be collected before we can make a definite decision on this. Clearly the present nuclear fusion model has a bunch of problems associated with it. The Electric Sun model has none of these difficulties and offers simpler explanations for many of the things we observe about the Sun. The following points are addressed in the book:

• Neutrinos (too few?). The SNO announcement is logically flawed.
• No continuous fusion reaction has ever been achieved. It may be impossible – plasma instabilities.
• Why does the Sun have a corona at all?
• Why does the Sun rotate faster at its equator than at its poles?
• Why are the umbrae of sunspots the coolest points on the surface?
• Why is the bottom of the corona 2 million K hotter than the surface?
• Why does the strength of the solar wind vary? (It completely shut off for two days a few years ago.)

Q: Why do astronomers refuse to study experimental plasma physics?

A: I don’t know other than fear of the peer review system – fear of losing their funding – fear of being ostracized. BB proponents have won the fight for control of the scientific power structure. If you try to get a job in an astronomy department and repeat any of the ideas I present in The ELECTRIC SKY, you will not get the position. If you apply for a research grant, you will not get it. If you try to get a paper published. It will be rejected.

Astro-science has blinders on. NASA freely admits it will not fund any research antithetical to the BB. Blinders may be good for a horse pulling a wagon – they are not good for science – the new fact you are looking for may be off to the side of the road or in the middle of the field you are ignoring.

Q: We often hear about Missing Matter and Dark Energy. What are they?

A: They are examples of those “invented fictional entities” I mentioned.

• Missing matter was invented because there isn’t enough real matter in the outer reaches of galaxies to account for how they rotate if the only mechanism you are willing to consider is gravity.
• Dark Energy is a force that “has to exist” if the expansion of the universe is to be explainable by Einstein’s General Relativity.
• WIMPs, MACHOs, neutron stars, and the “strings” in String Theory are similar fabrications.

All of these are Fictional Ad hoc Inventions Repeatedly Invoked in Efforts to Defend Untenable Scientific Theories – FAIRIE DUST.

Q: Why should the average person care about this debate?

A: Several reasons:

• Basic fairness – After Halton Arp challenged the BB theory he was prohibited from using any of the big telescopes in the US.
• To avoid being cheated – NASA’s yearly budget is about 15 Billion dollars, paid for by American taxpayers.
• Just to get the true story, and not a bunch of fairie tales. Nobody likes to be “sold a bill-of-goods”.
• The public is now being told that only the “experts” can understand the complexities of cosmology (such as warped 11-dimensional space, inflatons, Heteronic-M theory, and why 96% of the universe is invisible, etc.). Unless you can understand the tremendously abstract mathematics in which their tales are shrouded, you should consider yourself somewhat incapable if not truly stupid and leave these questions to your intellectual betters. It is the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Wal Thornhill

  1. [Image]: /wp/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/Don-Wal.jpg
  2. [Image]: /wp/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/The-Electric-Sky_a.jpg

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