Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ballistic Cosmic Rays

Mel Acheson: Ballistic Cosmic Rays.

The European Space Agency announces that cosmic rays are caused by supernova shock waves.

A recent press release from the European Southern Observatory announces that “a unique ‘ballistic study’” proves that cosmic rays are caused by supernova shock waves bumping particles to near light speed.

One author of the study noted that astronomers have thought that for a long time, raising the question among skeptics whether the study proves instead the bias of belief: one tends to see (and to prove) what one believes. The author concludes: “that proves it.” Upon critical examination, “proves it” is found to mean that it’s allowed by my theory, so if I exclude all other possible theories mine has to be true.

One has to wonder: if these particle accelerators in the Milky Way are so “very efficient,” the particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider should replace their inefficient electromagnetic device with one based on the new ballistic laws of electromagnetism. The particles can be accelerated by directing shock waves from explosions to bump them to high velocities. Farther down the ballistics totem pole, dentists can replace their inefficient x-ray machines that generate x-rays by accelerating electrons with electric fields, substituting the new machines that work with tiny but powerful shock waves. Your next x-ray won’t just buzz, it’ll bang.

The efficiency of transfer of energy from shock waves to particles and the number of particles so affected can only be determined by counting the number of cosmic rays and guessing the number of supernovae that could produce them. The theory must take as its initial assumption the conclusion it is said to prove, hence proving that tautologies are…tautologous.

Filaments. Pairs of filaments. Pairs of filaments spiraling around each other. Pairs of pairs of twisting filaments. Anyone familiar with plasma will immediately recognize them (in the image above, as in almost any image of a so-called supernova remnant) as Birkeland currents. Only an astronomer in intellectual free-fall with his eyes squeezed shut could fail to see plasma. And so astronomers see “gas” and “ballistics” where plasma researchers see electric currents, double layers, and electric fields. It’s probably significant that the press release uses the term “particles” exclusively, never “charged particles,” despite mentioning that they are protons.

When these twisted structures were first discovered, some astronomers tried to explain them with a physics of twisted shock waves. They never mentioned Birkeland currents. The physics was more twisted than the shock waves, and the astronomers moved on to more tractable problems. Now a few astronomers are beginning to refer to Birkeland currents but only with the assumption that they “don’t do anything.”

But Birkeland currents do “do things.” The study’s author is correct to note that “the energy that is used for particle acceleration is at the expense of heating” but is mistaken to append “the gas, which is therefore much colder than theory predicts.” It’s not gas, it’s plasma, and the study is using the wrong theory.

Birkeland currents are also known as field-aligned currents because the electric field of the current is aligned with the magnetic field. Charged particles are therefore accelerated in the direction of the field. Their random motion—which is what temperature measures—is reduced; therefore the plasma which they make up appears “colder” than would be expected from their being bumped by a shock wave in gas.

Perhaps it’s not the cosmic rays that have gone ballistic but the astronomers.


KV said...


Back to Papa, the Thunderbolt site!! Reactionary plasma bullshit.

If you "recollect" at all about the energetics of electron orbits, all would make sense, without ambi-nambi-pambi plasma crap.

KV said...

Thanks to a unique "ballistic study" that combines data from ESO's Very Large Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have now solved a long-standing mystery of the Milky Way’s particle accelerators. They show in a paper published today on Science Express that cosmic rays from our galaxy are very efficiently accelerated in the remnants of exploded stars.

During the Apollo flights astronauts reported seeing odd flashes of light, visible even with their eyes closed. We have since learnt that the cause was cosmic rays — extremely energetic particles from outside the Solar System arriving at the Earth, and constantly bombarding its atmosphere. Once they reach Earth, they still have sufficient energy to cause glitches in electronic components.

Galactic cosmic rays come from sources inside our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and consist mostly of protons moving at close to the speed of light, the “ultimate speed limit” in the Universe. These protons have been accelerated to energies exceeding by far the energies that even CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will be able to achieve.

“It has long been thought that the super-accelerators that produce these cosmic rays in the Milky Way are the expanding envelopes created by exploded stars, but our observations reveal the smoking gun that proves it”, says Eveline Helder from the Astronomical Institute Utrecht of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, the first author of the new study.

“You could even say that we have now confirmed the calibre of the gun used to accelerate cosmic rays to their tremendous energies”, adds collaborator Jacco Vink, also from the Astronomical Institute Utrecht.

For the first time Helder, Vink and colleagues have come up with a measurement that solves the long-standing astronomical quandary of whether or not stellar explosions produce enough accelerated particles to explain the number of cosmic rays that hit the Earth’s atmosphere. The team’s study indicates that they indeed do and it directly tells us how much energy is removed from the shocked gas in the stellar explosion and used to accelerate particles.

“When a star explodes in what we call a supernova a large part of the explosion energy is used for accelerating some particles up to extremely high energies”, says Helder. “The energy that is used for particle acceleration is at the expense of heating the gas, which is therefore much colder than theory predicts”.

The researchers looked at the remnant of a star that exploded in AD 185, as recorded by Chinese astronomers. The remnant, called RCW 86, is located about 8200 light-years away towards the constellation of Circinus (the Drawing Compass). It is probably the oldest record of the explosion of a star.

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the team measured the temperature of the gas right behind the shock wave created by the stellar explosion. They measured the speed of the shock wave as well, using images taken with NASA’s X-ray Observatory Chandra three years apart. They found it to be moving at between 10 and 30 million km/h, between 1 and 3 percent the speed of light.

The temperature of the gas turned out to be 30 million degrees Celsius. This is quite hot compared to everyday standards, but much lower than expected, given the measured shock wave’s velocity. This should have heated the gas up to at least half a billion degrees.

“The missing energy is what drives the cosmic rays”, concludes Vink.
More information
This research was presented in a paper to appear in Science: Measuring the cosmic ray acceleration efficiency of a supernova remnant, by E. A. Helder et al.

KV said...

The above post provides what ESA had to say.

The readers should also keep in mind that it is the DATA VISUALIZATION that creates a pic...

That is, the naked eye would not see any of the filaments...

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Hubble diverted. Not Project Bluebeam?

Any info on this apart from BS that asteroids were involved?

Anaconda said...

A charge seperated electric current in space plasma requires this two step process:

“The moving plasma, i.e., charged particles flows, are currents that produce self-magnetic fields, however weak.” — Dr. Anthony L. Peratt, Los Alamos National Laboratory

“An electromotive force [mathematical equation] giving rise to electrical currents in conducting media is produced wherever a relative perpendicular motion of plasma and magnetic fields exists.” — Dr. Anthony L. Peratt, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Dr. Anthony L. Peratt's professional biography.

And this two-step process is observed & measured in deep space beyond our solar system all the time.

The two-step process is a matter of induction.

No serious scientist questions this two-step causation process for electric current in space plasma.

Electric current is not just quasi-neutral plasma flowing from one point to another, rather, electric current requires that charge seperation be present. Charge seperation requires quasi-neutral plasma to flow perpendicularly across a magnetic field which causes an Electric Double Layer (see link for detailed discussion of double layers in plasma):

Plasma double layer

Which in turn causes charge seperated electric currents.

Essentially, a collision between two bodies of plasma will generate an electric current.

As one can imagine (and most important has been observed & measured), two colliding flows of plasma happen all the time in space, so, electric currents in space plasma are ubiquitous. Of course, it must be stated that once electrical currents are caused, they emanate their own magnetic fields and so plasma flows that impinge an electric current's magnetic field will cause in turn other electrical currents and so on. (This whole process is a positive reinforcing feedback loop.)

Birkeland electric currents in space plasma will most often be sheathed in a double layer insulation.

KV: What is your purpose here?

You offer little in the way of substantive discussion and mostly empty name-calling.

Electric fields are the most efficient particle accelerators that Science knows of.

And given the inductive description & explanation of how electric currents are caused (the electric field in a double layer accelerates charged particles generally in opposite directions from each other, that's how the charge seperated electric current is caused), all observations & measurements of colliding plasma flows must take into account the electromagnetic analysis.

Failure to account for this known physical relationship of space plasma renders any analysis incomplete and misleading.

So-called "shocked gas" is an inadequate physical description & explanation because it leaves out the crucial fact that this is not "gas", but plasma with free electrons & ions and reacts in an electromagnetic manner.

Such as the two-step process outlined by Dr. Peratt.

Remember, essentially, two colliding bodies of plasma will cause charge-seperated electric currents in space plasma.

KV: The analysis in the extended passage you quoted fails to address this electromagnetic dynamic in space plasma.

Therefore, the discussion is meaningless and misleading for the readers.