by David Talbott

December 2011

from Thuntherbolts Website





Part 1

December 5, 2011

In the twentieth century, pioneers of plasma cosmology began to identify the crucial role of electric currents in interstellar and intergalactic space.

The “electric universe” hypothesis extends plasma cosmology into domains that were, at best, only partially touched by its pioneers. This paper will present a brief summary of the “electric Sun,” a core theme of the electric universe.


Additionally, we will offer pointers to the recent interdisciplinary contributions of others toward a new understanding of electricity in space.




1. The Sun and the Cosmos

The theoretical understanding of the Sun and its domain has always reflected various ideas about events on a larger scale, such as the formation of galaxies and planetary nebulas.


Conversely, as we learn more about the Sun, this knowledge has the potential to challenge longstanding ideas about the universe as a whole.

For well over a century the commonly accepted view amongst astronomers and cosmologists was categorical: gravity is king. Gravity rules the heavens. It is the ultimate driver behind the evolution of galaxies and stars.


Though this core dogma grew more complicated with the advent of relativity theory, then more complicated still by a continuous stream of space age surprises, gravity remained supreme. It is the weakest of the fundamental forces known to science, but the prior theoretical “consensus” continued to treat gravity as the only fundamental force capable of acting across cosmological distances.

By contrast, the hypothesis reviewed here proposes that the electric force plays a more significant role in the cosmos than was ever recognized under the standard theories of 20th-century astronomy.


We now know that space is not empty, but filled with charged particles, a sea of conductive plasma, albeit extremely rarefied. Rapidly accumulating evidence suggests that electric currents flow across intergalactic, interstellar, and interplanetary space, contributing directly - often decisively - to the evolution of cosmic structure.


As today’s theorists come to acknowledge this role, the picture of space will be forever changed.

The emerging electrical perspective sees an integral connection of stars and galaxies to their external environments. As observation began to reveal unexpectedly high and strongly focused energies in space, prior theory required that the motor come from inside the observed structures, initiated either directly or indirectly by gravity.


That requirement, in turn, could only dissuade cosmologists from asking the most fundamental question:

is it possible that external electric currents, powered by the stored charge in deep space, could drive much of the observed structural evolution?

Given our proximity to the Sun and the immanent opportunity to take electrical measurements close to the dynamic activity of the Sun, perhaps no subject offers a more complete window to the roles of plasma and associated electric currents in space.


What will the results be for our thinking about the more remote cosmic expanse?




2. The Plasma Universe

The 20th century brought numerous advances in our knowledge of charged particles in the “vacuum” of space. [1]


As new telescopes and probes extended the frontiers of human knowledge, space came alive with electromagnetic activity.


Technicians and engineers of the space age delivered to the theoretical sciences all the evidence needed to confirm the existence of electric currents and of the magnetic fields these currents produce across the farthest reaches of space.

Fig. 1.

Amongst the countless surprises from space in recent decades

is this axial jet of galaxy M87, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994.

The coherent jet, spanning thousands of light-years, together

with the galaxy’s intense synchrotron radiation, continue to baffle astronomers.

But electrical theorist Hannes Alfvén had predicted

galactic synchrotron radiation as early as 1950. 2


The new picture removed the assumptions of textbook cosmology formulated prior to the space age.


Now, the steady stream of surprises remind us of earlier visionaries, from Kristian Birkeland, Nikola Tesla, and Irving Langmuir to the founder of plasma cosmology, Hannes Alfvén, all of whom anticipated the role of electricity in cosmic events. [3]

Most astronomers and cosmologists, working with assumptions formulated long prior to the space age, had learned to ignore electricity. The assumed “vacuum” of space would not permit electric currents. But then, when it was discovered that all of space is a sea of conductive plasma, the theorists reversed their position, asserting that any charge separation would be immediately neutralized.


The point was stated bluntly by the eminent solar physicist Eugene Parker,

“…No significant electric field can arise in the frame of reference of the moving plasma.” [4]

However, Alfvén and his colleagues recognized that intricate cosmic structure and high-energy events in space are the witnesses to electric currents threading the sea of interstellar and intergalactic plasma.


For example, we now detect the “hum” of these cosmic power lines by their radio signals. [5]

When currents flow in space plasma, the magnetic fields produced will tend to confine the flow to narrow, twisting filaments, known as plasma z-pinches. That is what we now observe filling the “vacuum” of space, as Alfvén himself had predicted.


More intense focusing of this current flow will often generate explosive electric discharge, and the consequent electromagnetic radiation can include - at the highest energies - “synchrotron” radiation, now abundantly observed in space. Intense electric fields remain the only plausible explanation.


But when Alfvén predicted galactic synchrotron radiation, astronomers did not respond. Electric fields in space had not yet entered their lexicon.




3. How Galaxies Form in Plasma Cosmology

Alfvén’s lifelong experimental work laid the foundations for a new approach to galaxy formation.


Galaxies are often dwarfed by the full extent of electromagnetic radiation in their surroundings, and the source of these energies must be taken into account. In the plasma universe, electric currents will intersect at critical points to drive an electric vortex, giving birth to spiral galaxies.


This envisioned behavior of electricity in space is based on the laboratory observation of electric currents and electric discharge in plasma, together with supercomputer simulations of the way charged particles interact under the influence of electric currents.

Fig. 2.

Supercomputer simulation of spiral galaxy formation by Anthony Peratt,

based on charged particle interactions. 6

This model was elaborated by one of Alfvén’s long-standing students and collaborators, the leading plasma scientist Anthony Peratt in 1986.


An expert on high-energy plasma instabilities and author of The Plasma Universe, [7] Peratt used a super computer to simulate the behavior of a cloud of charge (a particle-in-cell simulation) illustrating the manner in which electric currents in plasma will generate the familiar shape of spiral galaxies and of other galactic structures.

Based on diligent laboratory work spanning decades, Alfvén developed a model of galactic circuits in which electric currents flow inward along the arms of galaxies, generating an encircling magnetic field.


On reaching the galactic center, the electric charge that drives these currents is stored in a compact electromagnetic plasmoid - a rotating torus or donut-shaped structure episodically releasing its stored energy as jets along the galaxy’s spin axis. Alfvén concluded that this is how an “active galactic nucleus” (AGN) is born.


From this vantage point, the electrical behavior of the galactic plasmoid, though often hidden by dust, is the confirmation of immense electric potential.


Moreover, in this radical break from earlier theory, the newborn galaxies could in fact be lit by electric lights - the stars strung along galactic filaments as witnesses to interstellar power lines or current streams.


Fig. 3.

The galaxy 3C31, depicted on the right, appears as a mere speck

within the energetic radio signals that surround it (left).

Credit NRAO/AUI 2006.




4. Why Does the Sun Shine

Could the plasma universe also open a door to a more accurate picture of the Sun?

By the middle of the 20th century, astronomers had fully settled on one idea: a nuclear furnace at the Sun’s core. Prior to the emergence of the fusion model, a “consensus” theory had survived for a hundred years. Early in the 19th century, Sir William Herschel argued that the heat and light of the Sun were due to gravitational collapse of a primordial nebular cloud.


Textbooks described the theory as a crowning achievement.

“As a scientific conception it is perhaps the grandest that has ever entered into the human mind,” wrote Edward Holden in 1881. [8]

A few decades later the theory lost its credibility as astronomers realized it could not account for the emerging billion-year scenarios of Earth evolution.

In 1920 the mathematician Arthur Eddington announced the foundation of a new model based on a hypothesized release of nuclear energy in the Sun’s core. Later, in 1938, the astrophysicist Hans Bethe offered a rigorous mathematical formulation of the envisioned fusion process, for which he won the Nobel Prize 29 years later. [9]


A new consensus arose, a conviction that only a fusion reactor at the Sun’s core could explain the Sun’s powerful emissions of heat and light. And now every student in the sciences reads about the hypothesis as fact.


Hans Bethe,

“discovered how nuclear fusion powers the Sun and other stars.” [10]

But now a radically new view is possible.


Could the Sun’s light and its entire range of electromagnetic activity be partly or entirely due to the flow of electric currents into and through the heliosphere? The ”electric Sun” hypothesis challenges the assumption of a solar nuclear furnace, and its roots reach as deep into intellectual history as those of the nuclear model.


Yet you will not see it mentioned in any standard astronomy text.

Fig. 4.

Is this eruption of the Sun due exclusively to a power source at the Sun’s core?

Or is the Sun responding to a vastly larger electrical environment?

Credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA).




5. The Electric Sun - A Brief History

For historical perspective it’s important to see the electric Sun as a logical extension of the “plasma universe” formulated by Alfvén and his students and colleagues, such as Anthony Peratt.


The work of others fed into the present concept as well.

In 1941 Dr. Charles E.R. Bruce, of the Electrical Research Association in England, began developing a new perspective on the Sun. Bruce’s insights began when his attention was drawn to a solar prominence traveling a million miles in a single hour - roughly the propagation speed of a lightning leader stroke.


It was this observation that opened the path of his life’s work, [11] leading to the conclusion that the appearance of solar flares, their temperature, and their spectra, provided a perfect match with lightning. The visible surface or photosphere of the Sun appears to be animated by electric discharge. [12]

In the 1960s, Bruce’s work inspired a U.S. engineer, Ralph Juergens, to undertake an independent investigation of the Sun. Over the following decade, Juergens published a series of articles contending that the thermonuclear model,

“is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the Sun.”

His answer to these contradictions was to suggest that the Sun is the focus of a galaxy-powered “glow discharge.” [13]


With this, Juergens was effectively the first to argue that the Sun is actually powered by electricity rather than nuclear fusion.

Juergens’ work had a profound effect on those who considered it most closely. One was the late Earl Milton, professor of physics at Lethbridge University in Canada, who devoted several years to exploring an electric model of the Sun. Around the same time, Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill also found inspiration in Juergens’ hypothesis, coining the phrase the “Electric Universe” in the mid-nineties.


Thornhill has since devoted much of his life to researching this new paradigm and the core tenet of an electric Sun. [14] The work of Thornhill and his colleagues led to a broad interdisciplinary synthesis attracting researchers from around the world.


One such researcher was retired professor of electrical engineering, Donald Scott, author of the recently published book, The Electric Sky. [15]


A centerpiece of the book is the electric Sun hypothesis.




6. Glow Discharge (Geissler Tube)

Is it possible that unsolved mysteries of star formation find a unified explanation close to home, in the hypothesis of an electric Sun?


The concept would extend the plasma universe to the observed features of individual stars. From this perspective, electric currents flowing along galactic arms are pinched into focal points of star formation (the z-pinch effect).


Stars can then be seen in an electrical connection to the stored energies of the plasma oceans through which galaxies and galactic clusters move.

Fig. 5.

Geissler tube.

As pressure is reduced within the glass tube,

changes occur in the glow discharge.

The electrical hypothesis envisions the Sun immersed in a medium of extremely low-density plasma.


Its glow discharge is similar to that of a Geissler tube. Only very close to the Sun will the concentration of atoms be sufficient to excite them to emit visible light. We see that light as the photosphere and the corona, but the “atmosphere” of the Sun extends outward as the plasma medium through which the planets move, all affected by heliospheric currents, the invisible movement of charge.


Together with the Sun itself, electrical activity within the heliosphere and beyond provides a laboratory in space for evaluating the electric Sun hypothesis.

Since the hypothesis suggests electric currents flowing into the heliosphere, the investigation must consider all evidence bearing on this possibility, from the behavior of the Sun’s visible surface and corona to Earth’s auroras; from the worlds of Jupiter and Saturn out to the boundary of the heliosphere, the presumed limit of the Sun’s influence.


It must extend also to the galactic neighborhood, where currents flow along galactic arms. And it must even reach beyond the Milky Way to the unfathomable power now evident in intergalactic space.

Virtually all of the considerations discussed here came after the fusion model of the Sun had emerged as a consensus of the scientific community.


As noted, astronomers considered the most basic issue - the source of the Sun’s heat and light - to be fully resolved as we launched satellites and probes into space. Certainly, no one believed that a retroactive assessment of the fusion model would be necessary.


And no one seemed to blink when the one and only quantitative argument for the Sun’s nuclear core failed, as the neutrino count came in at a third to a half of the theoretically required figure.




7. The Role of Empirical Evidence

When theorists propose a fundamentally new scientific perspective they are asking that it be considered as a useful starting point.


A useful model will spell out proposed relationships between causes and effects. Causes are hypothesized and the claimed effects are named. A new model can then be generalized to see how well its underlying assumptions correlate with more detailed observations and a broader range of measurements bearing on the question.

With increasing specialization in the sciences, the most costly mistakes will typically involve a failure to generalize the original argument, to weigh its predictive power within a sufficiently broad field of view.


Carried out properly, this essential phase will throw a spotlight on weaknesses or outright failures of a theory, if they exist. This is where we look for contradictions, things that don’t fit the underlying assumptions.


“Provably wrong if incorrect” is the ideal when stating a theory.


In fact, the most useful models will be readily falsifiable, and the question of correlation between theory and observation can be explicitly tested against the full range of critical data.

There can be no rational justification for short-circuiting this foundational phase. In the case at hand, where a theory affects how we see our celestial environment as a whole, the generalization of a qualitative argument is indispensable, requiring that the field of view be every bit as broad as the theory’s logical implications.


A more narrow field of view will virtually guarantee that at least some falsifying observations, if they exist, will be ignored.

In 1950, the Sun’s hypothesized “nuclear furnace” rested entirely on mathematical foundations. Virtually no evidential tests of the conjectured nuclear furnace were yet in hand. And the scientific mainstream was unaware of the plasma universe and the profound role of electric currents in space.

Today, after decades of solar exploration, the accord between fact and theory that theorists had hoped for is gapingly absent. To see that this is so, it’s only necessary to review the stream of surprises arising from exploration of the Sun - a collective exclamation point to the gap between theory and observation. Nothing fit the original expectations.


 The original model did not anticipate, and was never able to explain, the spectacular acceleration of charged particles away from Sun. No one envisioned the “impossible” increase in temperature with distance upward from the solar surface, culminating in 2 million Kelvin at the solar corona.

At the dawn of the space age, an electrified plasma torus around the Sun would have seemed quite ridiculous. Polar jets had never entered the imagination of solar theorists. Sunspot penumbrae were supposed to be convection currents, not electric current ropes guided by magnetic fields.


 And established dogma, exemplified in the work of mathematician Sydney Chapman, had categorically excluded the possibility that Earth’s auroras could be caused by electric currents from the Sun penetrating Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The story yet to be announced is that more than 50 years of space age investigation produced only anti-correlations to the supposedly settled science of the Sun.





[ 1 ] Carl-Gunne Fälthammar, “Plasma Physics from Laboratory to Cosmos - The Life and Achievements of Hannes Alfvén,” IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., June 1997. Eric Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened (New York, 1991). “Pioneers in the Development of the Plasma Universe”:
[ 2 ] Hannes Alfvén, N. Herlofson, ”Cosmic Radiation and Radio Stars,” Physical Review (1950), vol. 78, # 5, p. 616.
[ 3 ] Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott, The Electric Universe (Mikamar Publishing, Portland, Oregon, 2007), pp. 55ff.
[ 4 ] Eugene Newman Parker Conversations on Electric and Magnetic Fields in the Cosmos (Prineceton, 2007), p.1.
[ 5 ] W. T. Sullivan, ed., The Early Years of Radio Astronomy: Reflections Fifty Years After Jansky’s Discovery (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
[ 6 ]
[ 7 ] Anthony Peratt, Physics of the Plasma Universe (Springer-Verlag, 1992).
[ 8 ] Eward S. Holden, Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works (New York, 1881), p. 212.
[ 9 ] Hans Albrecht Bethe, Selected works of Hans A. Bethe: with commentary(World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, 1997), pp. 355ff.
[ 10 ] Kyle Kirkland, Physical Sciences: Notable Research and Discoveries (New York, 2010), p. 1.
[ 11 ] “Successful Predictions of the Electrical Discharge Theory of Cosmic Atmospheric Phenomena and Universal Evolution,” Electrical Research Association Report 5275.
[ 12 ]
[ 13 ] Ralph Juergens, “Reconciling Celestial Mechanics and Velikovskian Catastrophism,” Pensée, Fall, 1972.
[ 14 ] Thornhill and Talbott, op.cit., pp. 53ff.
[ 15 ] Donald E. Scott, The Electric Sky (Mikamar Publishing, Portland, 2006).


Part 2
Our Mysterious and Variable Sun
December 8, 2011



It is the general agreement between theory and observation that provides the foundation for quantification.


Specialized inquiry can then test the rigor and precision of the qualitative argument with equations and numbers. In a successful test, the quantitative results will correlate well with predictions arising from the underlying theoretical assumptions; they will add logical strength and precision to the prior qualitative argument.

The concrete relationship of quantification to underlying fact has borne fruits in plasma physics, where qualitative extrapolations from laboratory findings have repeatedly anticipated observations in space and supported practical mathematical modeling.

In the case of the Sun, however, neither a qualitative nor a quantitative argument exists, since the dominant attributes of the Sun, now revealed to us in stunning detail, lie beyond the predictive ability of the theoretical assumptions. This sweeping failure of predictive ability removes the rationale for the more specialized assumptions, equations, and simulations offered in the name of solar physics today.


The only way to overcome this spectacular deficiency would be to demonstrate a logical pathway of quantified analysis leading from the theoretical starting point to the major attributes of the Sun.


After decades of trying, the promise of a quantified model was never fulfilled, not even in a limited sense. No direct line of reasoning from the assumed nuclear furnace to even one enigmatic attribute of the Sun can be substantiated. And so the specialized debates go on and on, guided by the dogmatic certainty that an acceptable answer must be available.


After 60 years and billions of dollars spent exploring the Sun, no peer-reviewed article has yet questioned the fusion model.



“Meeting Our Global Energy Needs”

In the absence of successful tests of a hypothesis it is a grave mistake to pretend that issues are settled.


Nevertheless, with the support of popular media, a guess about the “nuclear core” of the Sun led to a leap of faith. Limitless energy should be available to humanity by controlling a fusion process - ”just like the controlled fusion in the center of the sun.”

The cost of this exuberance may never be accurately calculated.


Globally, governments poured billions upon billions of dollars into research, seeking to replicate the imagined events hidden inside the Sun. From the 1950s onward it was an easy sell. But the only fusion the experiments provoked lasted a second or so -  typically much less than a second - and never produced as much energy as was pumped into the experiments.


In physics, that’s the definition of an unworkable idea - and it’s very likely the most expensive failure of theory the world has ever witnessed. [16]




Contrasting Theory and Observation

The “settled science” of the Sun sees it as an isolated ball of gas in space, slowly consuming itself through nuclear reactions at its core.


In the electrical alternative, the Sun’s energetic output is largely - perhaps entirely - the consequence of external electric fields and the heliospheric movement of charged particles, powered by circuitry along the arms of the Milky Way. Given the volume of available data, a comparative test of predictive failure and predictive success is long overdue.

Is it possible that the failures of the standard model are, in fact, the predictions of the electric model?


To see that this is so, one must trace the connection between theoretical assumptions and their inescapable implications. Wherever the implications are logical requirements of the model, the absence of the predicted findings will amount to falsification of the model as stated.

Though the electrical hypothesis remains in its infancy, and the foundational phase of the investigation is far from complete, an issue-by-issue evaluation of the two models cannot be avoided.



The Constant and Inconstant

Under the assumptions of the fusion model the Sun’s electromagnetic emissions appear enigmatic, with unexplained variations depending on wavelength.

“Solar spectral irradiance variations are known to exhibit a strong wavelength dependence with the amount of variability increasing towards shorter wavelengths.” [17]

Traditional theory assumes that, over hundreds of thousands of years, heat from a fusion reaction at the Sun’s core travels first through a supposed “radiative zone.”


It then rushes upward through an imagined “convective zone” to create the Sun’s visible surface, the photosphere. Unexplained events then energize the chromosphere and corona from below.


But why would this theorized process produce highly constant visible light but much more variable extreme UV light and X-rays above the photoshere?



“Solar Constant”

The least variable emissions occur in the infrared, which accounts for more than half of the Sun’s radiative output. Moving up to visible light the Sun’s output varies only slightly more. In the recent solar minimum its visible light dimmed by only 0.1%. [18]

Does the constancy of the Sun’s output in infrared and visible light follow logically from the standard model?


The only known analogies for nuclear fusion are at the extremes of inconstancy: on the one hand a hydrogen bomb and on the other the failed laboratory attempts to control the fusion process.


A hydrogen bomb underscores the fact that thermonuclear reaction rates are highly unstable and particularly sensitive to core temperature. Even a modest increase in temperatures at the Sun’s core would multiply the likelihood of a runaway reaction a thousandfold and more.

The refusal of the Sun to become a “hydrogen bomb” is a good reason to consider the electrical alternative.



Solar Variability

At higher frequencies the Sun’s constancy disappears.


At the wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light the Sun’s emissions dimmed by 30% during the last solar minimum, a 300% greater dimming than in visible light. And at the frequency of X-ray generation the Sun is vastly more variable, as seen in the X-ray images of a solar cycle below.

“The Sun is a variable X-ray star,” states R.L.F. Boyd. “It is fortunate for us that the variability is not reflected in the energy flux in the visible.” [19]


Fig. 6.

Solar cycle observed in X-ray emissions.

Credit: the Yohkoh mission of ISAS(Japan) and NASA.

What could be causing a constant Sun at one frequency to become an inconstant Sun at a higher frequency?


From the region below the photosphere, up through the photosphere, the chromosphere and the transition region, into the corona, we find an increasing dominance of higher frequencies and greater variability.

Perhaps our own Earth provides a useful analogy.


Above the earth - in the ionosphere and Van Allen radiation belt - with energy levels much greater than at the surface. We know that the flow of charged particles and associated energetic activity is not generated from within the Earth. It is a direct result of arriving particles from beyond the Earth, specifically, from the Sun.


Is it not reasonable, therefore, to ask if the layers of more variable and energetic activity around the Sun could be due to electrical contributions from its larger environment, the heliosphere, fed by electrical currents along the arms of the Milky Way?



Overview of the Electric Sun

In the electric model, the thin plasma layer of the Sun’s photosphere acts as a PNP transistor, a device used to control current flow.


It maintains the photosphere’s steady radiation of heat and light while the power input varies during the sunspot cycle and other changes in electrical input.

In the schematic below, the “hills” are the slopes of voltage change outward from the subsurface of the Sun (region beneath the photosphere). Positively charged particles will “roll down the hills.”


So the tufted plasma of the photosphere (B-C) acts as a barrier, limiting the Sun’s power output. When it is breached we see gigantic coronal mass ejections.

As Scott explains, solar protons that reach the point (C) on the voltage curve accelerate down the “waterfall,” causing the turbulence at the bottom of the steep curve that is the source of the million-degree corona.

Fig. 7.

The Sun’s implied voltage curve in relation to elevation,

as originally envisioned by Ralph Juergens,

and further analyzed by Wal Thornhill and Donald Scott.

Electrical theorists are not surprised by the fact that the most energetic and variable activity of the Sun occurs well above the Sun’s photosphere, in the corona - the spectacular halo which shows up when the Sun’s light is blocked by a solar eclipse (below).


In electrical terms its counterpart is the corona of a glow discharge.


Fig. 8.

Left: the corona of the Sun as seen in an eclipse.

Right: glow discharge in the laboratory



Coronal Heating

The temperature gradient from the Sun’s surface to the corona has always presented a problem for astrophysical models.


If the Sun were like a glowing ember or a flame (or a nuclear furnace), one would expect the temperature to drop off with distance from the central heat source. Yet, as seen, this is not the case.

At about 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the base of the photosphere, we find the coldest measurable temperature of the Sun, about 4400K. Moving outward, the temperature then rises steadily to about 20,000K at the top of the chromosphere, some 2200 kilometers (1200 miles) above the Sun’s surface.


Here it abruptly jumps hundreds of thousands of degrees, then continues slowly rising, eventually exceeding 2 million degrees. And incredibly, ionized oxygen at a distance of 1 or 2 solar diameters reaches 200 million K!

Professor Jay Pasachoff, of the Department of Astronomy at Williams College, puzzles over the manner in which the heating of the solar corona defies “everyday physics.”


How could this be? he asks. What events are “transporting energy from the cold part to the hot part?”


Pasachoff’s wry assessment is refreshing.

“The problem has been solved,” he states. “It’s been solved a dozen times over, and there are a dozen different answers. So of course that means it really hasn’t been solved…” [20]

Fig. 9.

Schematic illustration of the Sun’s reverse temperature gradient.

Credit: W. Thornhill.

But can astronomers and astrophysicists break free from the arbitrary assumption that the energy is “coming from the cold part”?


In fact, the reverse temperature gradient of the Sun contradicts every original expectation of the thermonuclear model. However, it mirrors perfectly the behavior of glow discharge phenomena in the laboratory.

Fig. 10.

In contrast to the candle on the left, a candle in a Mir space station experiment

produces a luminous surrounding shell, signifying the transaction between

the vaporized wax of the candle and the external atmospheric oxygen.

The inescapable key is the external energy source.


A crude analogy would be the flame of a candle. The relatively cool temperature at the base of the flame gives way to much higher temperature above the candle at the region of maximum exchange with the oxygen-bearing atmosphere. In a weightless environment, as seen in an experiment on the Mir Space Station a few years ago (above), the exchange shows up as a luminous shell around the candle.


The analogy with the corona is crude, but it does illustrate the indispensable external contribution to a reverse temperature gradient.


Nature as we know it offers no contradiction of this principle.



Mysteries of the Solar Wind

A direct confirmation of the Sun’s electric field is the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles streaming from the Sun and continuing to accelerate out past the planets.


Electric fields accelerate charged particles, and it is not reasonable to reject the obvious when no comparable effect can be achieved by any other known force in interplanetary space.

Great volumes of material depart from the Sun without regard to its massive gravitational tug. The Sun’s blast of particles typically reaches speeds of 400 to 700 kilometers (about 250 to 435 miles) per second. And though a few authorities anticipated a “wind” from the Sun due to thermodynamic expansion in the solar atmosphere, it soon became clear that the measured rapid acceleration was far beyond the explanatory ability of any prior guess about “heat” expansion as the source.

The solar wind is also highly variable.


In 2010, its speed dropped by 3%, its temperature by 13%, its density by 20%, and its magnetic field strength by more than 50%. Why a stable star will send out a wind of charged particles at widely varying speeds is a mystery with no apparent connection to anything going on inside the Sun.

When considering unsolved mysteries of this sort, often the most critical evidence comes from the extremes.


In this case the two extremes would be,

  1. a blast of solar wind in the form of a coronal mass ejection in 2005, reaching up to a quarter the speed of light before striking the Earth

  2. the complete cessation of the solar wind for two days in May 1999

Fig. 11.

Chart of ion velocities in the solar wind.

From D. Scott, The Electric Sky.

The first problem is that even the more normal ranges of solar wind velocities are beyond the reach of any traditional model. The typical coronal mass ejection (CME) will reach Earth in 15 to 50 hours.


But in January 2005, a CME exploded from the Sun, accelerating so rapidly that it reached Earth in only 30 minutes, producing what NASA scientists called,

“the most intense proton storm in decades.”

The protons reached the Earth at nearly one quarter the speed of light - a theory-busting test of the nuclear Sun, and a theory-affirming testament to the electric Sun, the center of a heliospheric electric field.




[ 16 ] Michael Moyer, “Fusion’s False Dawn,” Scientific American, March 2010.
[ 17 ]
[ 18 ]
[ 19 ] R L F Boyd, Space Physics: the Study of Plasmas in Space (Oxford University Press, 1975).
[ 20 ] From an interviews in the National Geographic Channel documentary, “Easter Island Eclipse” (2010).









Part 3

Electric Sun Answers Longstanding Puzzles

December 11, 2011


The Sun’s PNP Transistor

The three plots below, provided by Don Scott, show the energy, electric field strength, and charge density as a function of radial distance from the Sun’s surface.


Scott draws our attention to the fact that the three plots provide a stunning match to those of a PNP transistor, while explaining the extreme variability of the solar wind as well:

“In a transistor, the amplitude of the collector current (analogous to the drift of +ions in the solar wind toward the right) is easily controlled by raising and lowering the difference between the base and emitter voltages…


If the Sun’s voltage were to decrease slightly - say, because of an excessive flow of outgoing +ions - the voltage rise from point a to b in the energy diagram would increase in height and so reduce the solar wind (both the inward electron flow and the outward +ion flow) in a negative feedback effect…


The transistor-like mechanism described above is certainly capable of causing these phenomena. The fusion model is at a complete loss to explain them. Transistor ‘cutoff’ is a process that is used in all digital circuits.”


Fig. 12.

Energy, electric field strength, and charge density as a function

of radial distance from the Sun's surface.

Illustration from Don Scott’s book The Electric Sky.

Could it really be that simple?


The answer is yes, because electric fields are the most efficient means of accelerating charged particles, and they are the only known way to accelerate charged particles up to the higher speeds of the solar wind.



Photospheric Granulation

One puzzle of the Sun is the “rice grain” appearance of its photosphere (below right), which gave rise to the phrase “photospheric granulation.”


Scientists now believe that each granule is the top of a “convection cell” because the opaque gases of the Sun, in the nuclear fusion model, need a mechanism for slowly transferring internal heat to the surface. The “granulation” must therefore be the “boiling gases” forced upward by million degree temperatures beneath the surface.

Immediately, problems arise with this interpretation. The gas density in the photosphere diminishes rapidly with height so that convection there should be completely turbulent. Instead, the granules seem to quietly appear, grow brighter for some minutes, then fade.


As one proponent of standard theory concedes,

“Convection remains the outstanding unsolved problem in photospheric physics.” [21]

The statement confirms what Ralph Juergens wrote years earlier:

“…Photospheric granulation is explainable in terms of convection only if we disregard what we know about convection. Surely the cellular structure is not to be expected.”

Juergens proposed instead that,

“a [photospheric] granule may be viewed as a relatively dense, highly luminous, secondary plasma that springs into being in the embrace of a thinner, less luminous, primary plasma…We are led directly to ask whether the granules might not be akin to certain highly luminous tufts of discharge plasma variously described in the literature as anode glows, anode tufts, and anode arcs.”

Fig. 13.

On the left, surface granulation of the Sun.

On the right, sunspots reveal the penumbra filaments beneath the surface “grains.”[22]
Anode tufts appear as bright spots above an anode surface

and increase in number as the voltage and current are increased.



Sunspot Enigmas

Sunspots underscore the profound enigmas for the thermonuclear model.


Their darkness, structure, and behavior have required great ingenuity in attempts to explain them. As seen in the Sunspot image in Fig. 14, the margins of its dark regions reveal that the granules are the tops of rope-like structures rising to the photospheric surface. The thermonuclear model identifies these structures as the “convection currents” that the model requires.

Unexpectedly, the dark umbra of the sunspot itself, a window to subsurface conditions, is cooler, at around 4000 K, compared to the photosphere temperature around 5700 K. The absence of the temperatures claimed to lurk beneath the surface is said to be due to the strong magnetic field of the sunspot hiding the heat below.


The explanation requires that magnetic fields do something that magnetic fields are not known to do. (Magnetic fields do not “conceal” extreme temperatures.)


Even if magnetism could perform such a feat, it is surely quite remarkable that solar physicists have yet to find, by peering into a sunspot, even the slightest hint of the supposed extreme temperatures creeping into view.


Fig. 14.

The bridges seen reaching across this sunspot highlight the role of charge redistribution

in a highly active region just beneath the surface.

Credit: Swedish Solar Observatory.

In convection, hot gases move upward and cool. But the penumbral ropes reveal quite the opposite. From their base, as the plasma rushes upward, they grow hotter. And that’s only the beginning of the dilemma.

Seen below in Fig. 15 are two images of a single sunspot. The top image in visible light, shows the vortex-like penumbral ropes, as they reach the surface of the photosphere.


To see the forces actually driving and configuring the sunspot penumbra one must step back (or “up”) from the visible surface and follow the paths of the filamentary structures into the chromosphere above the surface. As seen in the bottom image in ultraviolet light, the “ropes” of the penumbra do not stop at the surface of the photosphere, but extend outward thousands of kilometers across the chromosphere to create a maze of filaments, all constrained by complex magnetic fields, the undeniable effect of electric current flow.

One can only view with dismay the exclusive mission with which solar physicists have been tasked since the ratification of the nuclear fusion model.


The task is to confirm how “something we know to be happening” is actually occurring. So simulations are produced to retrofit observations to imagined processes. And the simulations do indeed show “overturning convection” at the top of the photosphere. Recent developments, however, suggest that solar physicists themselves are beginning to sense that something isn’t right with the model.


In September, 2010 an Astrophysics Journal article by L.R. Bellot Rubio et al., “Searching for Overturning Convection in Penumbral Filaments,” cast serious doubt on the whole idea. [23]

The authors acknowledge that simulations have supported the convection interpretation.


But their conclusion from a diligent observational investigation is that despite “excellent quality” of the data set they worked with,

“we do not detect downflows that could be associated with overturning convection in deep layers.”

Fig. 15.

Two views of a sunspot at different wavelengths.

Upper image is in visible light; lower is in ultraviolet.

Credit: Dutch Open Telescope/Sterrenkundig Instituut Utrecht.

This is a very strange situation since, without convection, there is no nuclear fusion model of the Sun.

It was Hannes Alfvén, the father of modern plasma science, who advised astrophysicists that it is essential to understand electrical circuitry in order to comprehend the electrical behavior of plasma.


The logical place to look for an explanation of photospheric granulation and penumbral behavior will be in the laboratory, through a detailed study of “anode tufting” in a low-pressure gas discharge.



Photospheric “Lightning” Revisited

Juergens recognized the significance of Bruce’s observations of the photosphere’s lightning-like spectra and the similarities to the behavior of plasma discharge in arc mode. For Juergens, a key principle was the role of anode tufting.

Today’s electrical theorist Don Scott takes up the tufting issue in his book, The Electric Sky.


It is necessary, he says,

“to visualize the ‘trap’ (or pit) that each photospheric tuft is for incoming electrons. As the trap fills with electrons, the bottom of this inverted pit will rise, and so the tuft weakens, shrinks, and eventually disappears. This is the cause of the observed shrinkage and disappearance of photospheric granules.”

Of course it is important to remember that an electric Sun must be driven by a heliospheric circuit that is itself powered by current flow along the arms of the Milky Way.


Another tuft immediately replaces each disappearing tuft. That is the power of the heliospheric electric circuit, maintaining the Sun’s glow discharge.

Every year the dynamic activity of the photosphere raises more puzzles, while conventional solutions seem ever more elusive. Photospheric flares and chromospheric spicules leap upward with spectacular energies. Solar physicists long imagined that all of this activity was the result of convection and subsurface energies, at temperatures of millions of degrees, blasting material upward into the photosphere, chromosphere, and corona.


In fact, we find no evidence of events below powering either the Sun’s surface activity, or the activity above the surface.

Is it possible to confirm the electrical interpretation of solar prominences and flares, including coronal mass ejections, as first proposed by Charles Bruce in the early 1940s?


The electrical interpretation of solar flares and CMEs requires a powerful release of charge in the atmosphere above the surface.


And this consideration brings us to a more recent investigation by NASA’s Peter Schuck who sought to determine,

“whether the eruptions are driven by energy surging through the Sun’s surface, or by the sudden release of energy that has slowly accumulated in the atmosphere.”


“In some sense, the idea that energy from below triggers the eruption is the easiest explanation - like a geyser,” says Schuck, a physicist who studies space weather at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.


“But if the idea doesn’t agree with what’s observed, then it’s wrong. End of story.”

Schuck’s research led him to conclude that the trigger does indeed occur in the atmosphere above the photosphere.


He found that the required velocities of the photospheric plasma to blast the flares upward would be a thousand kilometers per second, speeds that would be easily detected.


What he saw instead,

“was a sudden explosion triggered from above, more like lightning.”

According to Schuck,

“the observational component of this study places important constraints on any hypothesis that relies on the photosphere for the power 1029-1030 erg s-1 driving a CME. These hypotheses are likely incompatible with the present investigation…” [24]

The tragedy is that no level of negative evidence seems powerful enough to throw the core theoretical assumption into doubt.


The NASA story on the study assures us that the energy of the lightning bolt cannot originate in the plasma atmosphere above the surface:

“Either way,” the report stresses, “the energy originally comes from the surface.”


Questioning Theoretical Assumptions

Limitations of space for this article prevent us from summarizing a couple of dozen additional pointers to the electric nature of the Sun.


The sunspot cycle, the very existence of the corona, an electrified torus around the solar equator, the relationship of this torus to sunspot behavior and to the “ballerina skirt” of the Sun’s current sheet, super rotation of the Sun’s equatorial photospheric plasma, distribution of coronal holes, bi-polar jets, temperature and energy profiles of chromospheric spicules, and the so-called “open” magnetic field lines connecting the Sun to interstellar space.


These and many other attributes must be brought into a broader investigation, raising questions that have not been asked with sufficient seriousness for at least 60 years.



A Reason for Optimism?

Until quite recently most astronomers barely gave electricity in space a sideways glance.


And yet, through the back door, we now see a growing interest in the role of magnetism across the cosmos. In the rarefied plasma environment of space, magnetic fields are the proof of active electric currents, even if this proof is ignored.


But with surprising rapidity, perhaps in the course of just 15 years, the “magnetic universe” has emerged as a permissible expression within the scientific mainstream.


This radical turn may prove to be the most promising bridge to a shift in astrophysical perception, eventually making it impossible to ignore the electric currents without which the “magnetic universe” would disappear.

Perhaps the role of galactic current filaments, on which stars are now observed to form, will catch the attention of solar physicists, causing them to wonder how the heliosphere could be immune to such current flow.


Perhaps their field of view will extend to electrical forces acting on comets as they move through the same electric field of the Sun that accelerates charged particles away from the Sun.

And perhaps solar physicists will begin giving closer attention to the electrical activity on planets and moons, from the Everest-sized dust devils and global dust storms on Mars to the electric currents driving powerful events on Jupiter’s moon Io and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.


The fact that the dominant space age surprises consistently point to electrical events, can hardly be accidental.




[ 21 ] L.S. Anderson & E.H. Avrett “The Photosphere as a Radiative Boundary”, Solar Interior and Atmosphere, ed. Cox, Livingston & Matthews, p.671).
[ 22 ] Original Windows to the Universe artwork by Randy Russell using images from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (sunspot image) and NASA (Earth image).
[ 23 ] Astrophysics Journal, 9-24-2010.
[ 24 ] P. W. Schuck, “The Photospheric Energy and Helicity Budgets of the Flux-Injection Hypothesis,” Astrophysical Journal, January 21, 2010.