Monday, January 11, 2010

The Interstellar Medium



Another informative gem from the greatest science reporter living today.

Steve Smith: The Interstellar Medium.

A diffuse cloud of gas surrounds the Solar System. What is holding it together?

It is often stated that space is a vacuum. It is true that the material in space is at a far lower density than any vacuum that can be created on Earth, but matter does exist in the regions between stars and galaxies. The best pumped vacuums on Earth typically reach a 0.1 millimeter spacing between individual atoms.

Between stars, there is one atom per cubic centimeter, while in the Milky Way's galactic halo they are estimated to be ten centimeters apart. The regions of least density are in the intergalactic voids, where it is theorized that there is only one atom for every ten cubic meters.

The Interstellar Medium (ISM), through which the Solar System and all other star systems are moving, consists of a mass of gas and dust primarily composed of hydrogen and helium, with an admixture of dust grains that are less than one-tenth of a micron in size. One micron is equal to one-millionth of a meter, so the dust is almost as small as the frequency of blue light (0.450 microns).

The size of the dust particles means that blue light is scattered when it passed through the ISM, so more red light reaches Earth than it would without the dust. This phenomenon is called "interstellar reddening", and is the same effect that causes reddening of the sunrise and sunset. Dust clouds lit from the side by starlight appear blue, on the other hand, for the same reason that Earth's sky is blue: blue light is scattered by Earth's atmosphere.

What the dust is and where it came from is not known, but astrophysicists speculate that it is ejected from stars. Supergiant stars are often seen with immense clouds of dust surrounding them. However, deep space images also reveal dust lanes thousands of light-years in circumference looping around many galaxies.

One important characteristic of the ISM is that it contains ionized particles, as well as neutral molecules. It is those electrons and positive ions that are critical to understanding the behavior of the ISM and how the Solar System interacts with it.

Although the ISM is extremely diffuse, if charge separation takes place in different regions, a weak electric field will develop. An electric field, no matter how weak, will initiate an electric current.

According to a recent press release, there is an unexpected cloud of gas and dust that is encompassing the Sun's heliosheath. Prior to the discovery, conventional understanding did not predict that it would be there because high pressure supernova shockwaves should have blown it away.

However, according to Merav Opher of George Mason University: "Using data from Voyager, we have discovered a strong magnetic field just outside the Solar System. This magnetic field holds the interstellar cloud together and solves the long-standing puzzle of how it can exist at all."

On August 20, 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 mission on a multiyear journey to the outer Solar System. Voyager 1 was launched on a faster, shorter trajectory on September 5, 1977. Voyager 1 passed through the Sun's termination shock in December 2004. Voyager 2, traveling a different path, did the same in August 2007. It was data from those "old-timers" that provided the information for Opher's assessment of the ISM.

What is the heliosheath? When Voyager 1 experienced "unusual events" as it approached the boundary between the Sun and interstellar space, Electric Universe advocate Wal Thornhill explained that the spacecraft was entering a "double layer", or Langmuir plasma sheath between the solar plasma and the plasma of the ISM.

It is a well-known principle that electric currents generate magnetic fields. Since Opher's research team has found magnetic fields strong enough to hold tenuous clouds of gas and dust together against the influence of hypothetical supernova explosions, then electric currents must be flowing through the ISM in order to create those fields.

Whenever an electric discharge takes place in plasma, the current flow is compressed inward by induced magnetic fields. This effect is known as a "z-pinch", and is a foundational principle of Electric Universe theory. The compression can be so intense that plasma is squeezed down into solid particles. Indeed, stars and galaxies are thought to owe their existence to massive electric currents forming cosmic z-pinches in the vast clouds of plasma that make up 99% of the Universe.

In conclusion, the ultra-fine dust, magnetic fields, influences on spacecraft, and the heliosheath, itself, are all manifestations of the electric force. Electricity will eventually supplant gravitational theory as the primum mobile of existence. Meanwhile, patient observations continue to support Electric Universe concepts.

15 comments:

KV said...

OIM, from the article:

Indeed, stars and galaxies are thought to owe their existence to massive electric currents forming cosmic z-pinches in the vast clouds of plasma that make up 99% of the Universe.


Of what magnitude are these currents? From where do they generate? Why do they suddenly take off?

OilIsMastery said...

KV,

"Of what magnitude are these currents?"

Of galactic magnitude.

"From where do they generate?"

Interesting question. From the objects we observe in the cosmos and from objects that are too big to be observed.

"Why do they suddenly take off?"

Excellent question. No one knows why electromagnetic radiation is ejected from objects. I suspect a supernatural intelligent agent has something to do with it but that's just a guess...=)

Jeffery Keown said...

I suspect a supernatural intelligent agent has something to do with it but that's just a guess...=)

An unscientific one at that.

Jeffery Keown said...

Can’t be sure, but the style in which “Agonaces of Susa” behaves/comments makes me think it’s this guy — http://oilismastery.blogspot.com/ — a world-class pseudoscience troll/sockpuppet that shows up all over the place. I sparred with him over a year ago when he very ineffectively tried to convince me and my readers of Expanding Earth hypothesis. Simply likes to rock the boat … yawn … the guy needs to get a life.

You've been made! Time to re-register!

OilIsMastery said...

LOL.

I kinda like the sound of "world class pseudoscience troll/sockpuppet."

Which forum is that from?

OilIsMastery said...

HAHA...looks like Phil Plait and the other pseudoscientists got the message. Thx for the headsup Jeffery.

KV said...

OIM

What is glactic magnitude?

Why too big to observe are not observable, especially if they are too big?

Supernatural intelligent agent? Is there only one or there are many? And, why would he/they do such a dumb thing pushing little atoms in to a pinch? What did these atoms do to it?

OilIsMastery said...

KV,

"What is glactic magnitude?"

Consult the ultimate authority named Webster.

"Why too big to observe are not observable, especially if they are too big?"

The cosmos is too big to observe. No one has ever seen it.

"Supernatural intelligent agent?"

"Seek him that maketh the seven stars [Khima/Saturn] and Orion [Kesil/Mars], and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:" -- Amos 5:8

"Is there only one or there are many?"

There are many.

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth.'" -- Genesis 1:26

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us [extraterrestrials], to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." -- Genesis 3:22-23

"For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods." -- Psalm 96:4

"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we in him." -- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

"And, why would he/they do such a dumb thing pushing little atoms in to a pinch? What did these atoms do to it?"

You'd have to ask God that question.

KV said...

OIM,

You said: Cosmos is too big, no one has seen it...

I have seen Cosmos, it is a lovely flower...

Was Bal one of the gods? I forget, the ancient Jews prayed to many gods and built idols...

I really like scaleless, numberless, nonmeasurable bs of the electric universe... All I have to say is it is like that...

Jeffery Keown said...

"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and we in him." -- 1 Corinthians 8:5-6


I think this means that many gods are worshipped, but there's only one realGod from the Christian perspective. I do not for a second think Paul meant there are literally other gods. Just more of your distortions.

OilIsMastery said...

KV,

"Was Bal one of the gods? I forget, the ancient Jews prayed to many gods and built idols..."

Yes.

Baal was one of the gods -- namely the planet Saturn.

"And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal [Saturn] and Ashtaroth [Venus]." -- Judges 2:13

"Then said Elijah unto the people, I, [even] I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's [Saturn's] prophets [are] four hundred and fifty men." -- I Kings 18:22

"And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal [Saturn]." --II Kings 17:16

"For he [Manasseh] built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal [Saturn], and made an Asherah, as did Ahab king of Israel, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. -- II Kings 21:3

OilIsMastery said...

Jeffery,

"I do not for a second think Paul meant there are literally other gods. Just more of your distortions."

What did Paul mean when he said "there be gods many"?

Jeffery Keown said...

um..I think this means that many gods are worshipped, but there's only one real God from the Christian perspective. I still do not for a second think Paul meant there are literally other gods. Just more of your distortions.

OilIsMastery said...

What did God mean when he said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us?"

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

5 days without an answer!

I looked up Google

Did you mean: Agonies of Susa ??!!!!