How did we get here? What are stars? What are planets? How did life come to exist on Earth?
These grand questions are approached by a scientific mainstream that asks us to believe in their unifying myth – that the universe is, first, an accident, starting with an inexplicable ‘big bang.’ That stars are nuclear furnaces that somehow formed from collapsed clouds of dust by a very weak force – gravity. And that are planets clumped together from the left-overs of star formation that just happened to avoid becoming part of the star.
But is any of this true? It would surprise most grade-schoolers (and their teachers) to learn that all of these ‘facts’ have failed the test of time, and that astronomy is in such bad shape that a “crisis in cosmology” has been cooking for decades behind the scenes, hidden from the general public (who nevertheless foot the bill for increasingly speculative, non-productive research).
Australian physicist Wal Thornhill is among those working in a new science, plasma cosmology, who are seeking testable, verifiable, reproducible answers to the larger questions of celestial and terrestial existence. These plasma pioneers are looking at the universe through a different lens than their Newtonian predecessors.
Their “Electric Universe” model puts electromagnetic energy, and not Newtonian gravity as the primary generator of celestial phenomena. Electromagnetism is a force well-studied by electrical engineers, but has been ignored in Astronomy as a prime mover thus far, despite the fact that space is filled with magnetic fields and charged particles. Electromagnetism as a force is 10 to the 39th power stronger than gravity in terms of attraction, and unlike gravity, can not only attract but also repel objects.
Thornhill and other plasma cosmologists contend that stars are not gravity-based nuclear furnaces but are in fact bodies of electrified plasma. The gravity-based model of stars has failed to predict a single quality of stellar existence or behavior. On the other hand, the plasma/electrical model predicts all the major characteristics of stars, and places them in an organic system in which gas giants and rocky planets are born of a powerful electrical process in stars, and not due to the weak attraction of gravity on dust in space.
Thornhill trained in physics and electronics at Melbourne University before working for IBM. Today he is an independent researcher, and is one of the world’s few specialists in the field of plasma cosmology. He is a founding member of the Thunderbolts project (thunderbolts.info).
[Note - if you wish to do more research or technical investigation, I've put together a list of references and further reading which appears at the end]
Liam Scheff: We’re supposed to think that stars are nuclear explosions in space. What’s the problem with that?
Wal Thornhill: The problem is that it’s an accident of history, it was born out of an era when the mathematical theories of space began to dominate, rather than any notion that there may be alternatives. Sir Arthur Eddington wrote “The Internal Constitution of Stars.” It was a seminal work, it was the first time that anyone had been able to put forward a coherent picture of how you might generate energy inside the Sun, to form a ball the size of the Sun, radiating energy the way we see. But in order to do that he had to make some assumptions, some of which we are unable to test in the laboratory. For instance, the nuclear reactions [which are theoretically] at the center of the Sun have never been reproduced in the laboratory, because we can’t recreate the conditions.
Also there is the very strange suggestion that within the Sun, the X-rays that are emitted from the [theoretical] nuclear explosion at the center, have to be watered down, until they become non-lethal heat and light at the photosphere. To do that he introduced the idea that the X-rays go through a radiation zone inside the Sun. Now, there’s no physical body we know that transfers energy internally by radiation. It’s always by convection or conduction. So, there are some pretty wild guesses.
Nonetheless, it was the first time that anybody had been able to put forward a coherent story as to how the Sun could shine for billions of years and maintain its size and its light output for that period of time.
You mentioned the “photosphere.” What is that, in terms of the visible aspect of the Sun?
That’s the bright shining ball that we see in the sky, that’s where the light comes from. [ed - It is the visible surface layer of the Sun]. There’s the chromosphere, just above that. When you see a total eclipse, you see a red glow just above the photosphere – that’s called the chromosphere – “chroma” meaning color. And then above that is the corona, which you can see during a total eclipse, which is very faint, but it’s a kind of bluish white light which extends at some distance from the Sun.
The trouble that astronomers have had is that the surface of the Sun [the photosphere] is cooler than the corona – it’s actually a lot hotter outside the Sun than on it. What’s the temperature difference between the Sun’s surface and the area above it?
The temperature rises into the tens of thousands of degrees in the chromosphere [extending to about 2000 km above the surface], and then into millions of degrees in the corona [extending over a million km from the Sun]. So the difference between the photosphere [the surface], the center of the Sun, and the corona is in the order of millions of degrees.
That’s astounding – they’re saying that this is a nuclear explosion, the hottest part is in the middle, the surface of the Sun is five or six thousand degrees, and as you get away from the Sun, it’s millions of degrees. Does standard astronomy have any explanation for this?
They’ve been struggling with it, because to have such a system, somehow energy has got to get from the center of the Sun to the exterior, and bypass the photosphere [the surface]. And so there have been all sorts of clever suggestions, like magnetic fields reconnecting, which is actually a non-physical thing anyway. It’s the kind of desperate idea that you cook up when you can’t think of anything else.
One of the other contradictions has to do with sunspots; they give evidence that, again, it seems to be cooler on the inside of the Sun. I say that because of these great pictures of sunspots that have come out in the last five or ten years. Can you tell me a little about those?
If the Sun is being powered from the outside, then if the glowing shell, (the plasma discharge shell that we call the photosphere) is parted magnetically – which is what happens with a sunspot – then we can see beneath that glowing layer to what’s inside the Sun. It’s like a parting in the clouds. You can see deeper down into the atmosphere. And when we do that we find that it’s cooler beneath those shining clouds, and this is what you’d expect to see if the Sun is being powered externally instead of internally.
When I was a kid, nobody knew what sunspots were. As telescopes got better, you could see that there were these wonderful filamentary shapes reaching in and covering the Sun’s surface. And the surface is black – not glowing red, but black.
It appears black by contrast with the photosphere [surface], but in actual fact, if you were able to see it without the photosphere, it would be glowing red, but of course, several thousand degrees cooler, than the bright photosphere.
So, all of this leads in a difficult direction for current astronomy, which is that stars, according to these observations, must be powered from the outside, not the inside. What are stars then…how is this possible?
In the realm of plasma physics, we have the Nobel Prize winner Hannes Alfvén, he looked at the magnetic character of the Sun and also the solar wind. He determined that it is actually an electric current that’s flowing in the vicinity of the Sun. It seems to flow along magnetic field lines, in at the poles and out at the equator. The solar wind is merely a representation of the current flowing from the Sun.
It’s rather like an air ionizer – you know those small devices where you purify the air, and it emits a small [electrical] current into the air. If you hold your hand in front of the ionizer, you can feel this breeze blowing against your hand. Well, the Sun is the same thing. The current is in what they call “dark mode.” In other words it’s not glowing – you can’t see it, but you can feel it as a wind. Stellar winds are a feature which are very difficult to explain [by standard stellar models]. So that’s resulted in a lot of hand-waving about how the wind is “boiled off” the Sun…that’s what they say. Yet the fastest wind from the Sun comes from the coolest regions on the Sun, which is easily explained in plasma terms, but not in normal ‘mechanical wind’ terms.
There are fast ‘breezes’ that are made of, what, electrons? Particles of atoms?
It’s a plasma, generally a mixture of electrons and protons; in other words, the constituents of hydrogen atoms. But the electrons have been split off the nucleus, and so you end up with positive and negative charges. They respond to the electromagnetic forces much more strongly than they do to gravity. So, to accelerate the solar wind away from the Sun (which is what we observe – the wind gets faster the further it gets from the Sun, which is defiance of gravity), but to accelerate the wind requires only a very weak electric field. And it’s exactly the kind of field we would expect in a glow discharge. It’s the kind of thing observed in the laboratory.
So, all of the features that we see in space surrounding the Sun fit the electric model. And Hannes Alfvén actually drew circuit diagrams for the Sun, because it obviously wouldn’t stay alive unless you provided electric power [charged particles]. The thing that Alfvén didn’t do was to take that further and show where the electric currents flow within the galaxy. Because it is the “power lines,” that follow the spiral arms of the galaxy which have the stars strung out like street lights along those power lines.
It’s quite a simple model, and it fits all of the observations. The problem you have is that the standard theory [the "big bang" and gravitational collapse models] has become so entrenched that it suffers from confirmatory bias. In other words, everything you find, you try to squeeze into that model, regardless of whether it fits. A lot of money and time and effort is wasted today, unfortunately, in trying to fit an outdated model to new observations from spacecraft.
Let me backtrack for a moment. Astronomers are observing a ‘wind’ coming off of stars, and this wind of protons and electrons – which you’re describing as the components of hydrogen – speed up the further away they are from the star. And you’re saying that this is a property of a magnetic or an electro-magnetic pinch or activity on electrons and protons.
It’s more simple than that. In a neon tube for instance, you see a glow extending along the tube, but near the electrodes [at the ends of the tube] there are dark spaces. The glow is the kind of glow a star produces, and there are many red giant stars which produce light just like a neon light. The dark spaces in the neon tube are [equivalent to] what we have in interstellar and intergalactic space. In other words, current is still flowing there, but it’s invisible [when in "dark mode"].
Stars are like a focus, sitting in a discharge, and they light up in that discharge. It’s something you might have met in high school when you met the old Geissler tube experiments.
You overestimate our high schools, but go ahead.
[laughs] Well, I remember it vividly because I had the privilege of playing with such instruments at school, so maybe this was a formative moment in my career. It became obvious to me when I read Ralph Juergen’s explanation of the electrical model of the stars, it just made complete sense to me, and I didn’t need any more convincing than those initial arguments. What I’ve done in following Ralph, (since I was waiting for other people to pick it up, and then found nobody seemed to be willing to do it), when I picked it up, I’ve progressed the model somewhat and fit it into a broader picture which involves a new cosmology, called the “Electric Universe.”
Where does the energy come from? You’re saying all the stars are in a galactic circuit – does the energy flow from star to star? Where is the energy coming from, or is it just an ongoing circuit – how would you describe it?
As far as we can see – and when I say ‘see,’ I mean that radio telescopes are very important in the electric universe, because they can detect radio waves, and detect their polarization. The polarization of the radio waves allows you to map the magnetic field directions in space. Once you’ve done that, it’s a given in plasma physics that electric currents will flow along the direction of the ambient magnetic field lines. So in other words, you can begin to trace the circuits in deep space.
And we find the galaxies themselves arranged like Catherine Wheels – that’s the great spiral galaxies – along intergalactic power lines, what are called Birkeland currents. They’re like giant twisted pairs of electric currents which flow through space. In various places, if the density of matter – the gases and dust in space – are sufficient, these pinch down. It’s called a magnetic pinch [or z-pinch]. And in pinching down, they scavenge the matter from the surrounding space and squeeze it, heat it, rotate it, and form the stars that we see. But they do that in a particular pattern which we can reproduce in the laboratory. And that pattern is the spiral galaxy.
It’s an organic picture of the universe, and it’s a connected picture. We’re not isolated islands in space, stars are not isolated, they’re connected electrically and gravitationally. So it’s a completely new way of looking at our place in the universe.
Let me recapitulate that for my own purposes – you’re saying that there are currents flowing through space that occur in pairs; they attract each other up to a point, at which point they repel each other. In other words, they don’t merge and become one, but they spin around each other, they travel through space, they pinch in this thing you’re calling a z-pinch, which is a known quality of electromagnetic currents, which you can reproduce in the lab, and you can see this over and over again. And that these are the very things in space that form galaxies, and it’s organic and reproducible…
Your modeling of stars then, takes these objects which are in a galactic circuit of flowing electromagnetic energy, and are pinched…and then something wild happens.
Ah, yes. One of the urban myths in astronomy is that the planets are formed from the leftovers after a star is born; in other words, a disk of dust and gas surrounding the star. There is this argument that the concept has been proven because when you look at nearby stars, we can also now see some of the planets that orbit these stars, we often find a disk of dust and gas as well. And the idea is that this disk is the leftovers from the gravitational process of collapse, when a cloud is supposed to have collapsed and rotated, and formed a central star – and then formed planets surrounding it from the leftovers.
So the gravitational model of the formation of the solar system is that there’s a rotating clump and somehow out of that rotating clump, a Sun forms. But that somehow separates from all the planets and the gassy planets move to the outside and the rocky planets stay on the inside. Has anybody ever been able to make this work in any kind of simulation?
You’ll notice you used the word ‘somehow’ several times. That’s the operative word in modern astronomy, “Somehow these things happen.” There is no real understanding of the formation of the planetary system; and also in our own solar system, one astronomer said to me that “you need a different theory for every planet.” Because the planets, when you look at them, are so different from each other. Their axial rotations are all over the place, their speed of rotations are different, their apparent compositions are different. There’s very little about them that you could say makes them any kind of evolutionary family of objects.
The electric universe has a much simpler view. When a star is forming, if there is any disturbance to the star as it collapses and rotates, if a part of the core of the star is off-set from the center by a small degree, there is an electrical effect which takes place, which tends to repel – like repels like. This is one of the differences between electricity and gravity – gravity always attracts, but electricity can repel. You can get a situation where a part of the core of the star will actually be ejected or some of the matter will be ejected from the star as it’s forming.
And it can happen to objects the size of gas giants as well – Jupiters and Saturns and so on. The fact that they have so many satellites is indicative of the fact that they have ejected material from their interiors during their lifetime. In fact, Saturn, with its ring – the ring is ephemeral, it cannot have been there for more than tens or hundreds of thousands of years [in a supposedly 4.6 billion year old solar system]. It suggests that Saturn was the most recent object in the solar system to give birth. So, you have this idea that you eject matter, forming rings of dust and gas and also planets, around a larger object like a star or a gas giant. It’s a more biological view of how things work in the universe.
What you’re saying is, if there’s a disturbance or something somehow off-center, and there’s a difference in charge, then a repelling action happens inside very large bodies that are in the galactic circuit; and that off-center bit will repel out of the major body, and let it go back to equilibrium, and then there will be two objects. And one will be smaller than the other.
Yes, generally that’s the case. It’s interesting that when we began to detect planets around nearby stars, the ones that are found most easily, of course, are the very large ones. But astronomers were amazed to find that these large planets – they call them “Hot Jupiters,” were found extremely close to the central star. This was a complete puzzle to them, because they thought that gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn can only be formed in the outer reaches of a stellar planetary system, where the lighter gases are not blown away by the central star. Because we know that Jupiter and Saturn have a considerable amount of hydrogen and helium – the lighter gases – which should, according to standard theory, be blow away when the new star is born.
So here we have these huge Jupiters and Saturns, orbiting their central star, some with periods measured in days. In other words, they’re whipping around their star very close indeed. Giving birth electrically can explain that. But just the other day there was a report that some of these hot Jupiters are actually orbiting in the wrong direction; they’re going around in the reverse direction [against their central star's rotation]. That suggests another aspect of the electric universe, and that is electric capture.
When stars are born, they’re born in groups, and once the magnetic pinch subsides they tend to, in the words of Tony Peratt*, “scatter like buckshot,” In that process, there is a high probability of capture of one body by another. When that happens you can have orbits in any direction, with any orbital tilts, and they can be retrograde [in counter-rotation to other planets in their system]. It seems that kind of thing must have happened as well. [ed - *Tony Perratt is a plasma Physicist.]
Stars can fission, they can give birth to secondary stars – “hot Jupiters.” What about the small rocky planets, where do we come from in this model?
In this model, the rocky planets are formed from red dwarf stars, which are rather like a Jupiter or a Saturn, traveling on their own through the galaxy, instead of being associated with a bright star. If a red dwarf meets a bright star and is captured by it, it will transform from a star into a gas giant satellite or planet, around that star. When you look at our gas giants [Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune], they’re all so different, they’re all so far from the central star, that I would suggest that they were captured rather than having been born with the Sun.
And so where do we come from – where does Earth come from? If Jupiter and Saturn were captured, where do we little rocky planets come from?
This is where you get into an area that sounds more science-fiction than science-fiction; but we have good evidence that the Earth was born from one of the gas giants in our solar system, when that gas giant was an independent brown dwarf, and before it was captured by the Sun.
You’re saying that the Earth and some of the little rocky planets belonged to Jupiter or Saturn, and that red dwarf – because you’re saying that would’ve been a red dwarf (or brown dwarf) outside of our sun’s influence – was captured; but once it was captured inside of our sun’s magnetic field, then it diminishes and becomes a gas giant. Then…if I’m following what you’re saying, these little rocky planets can get ripped out of their orbits, and go around the larger star in the solar system.
Yes. One of the interesting aspects of the electric universe is this question of, “Where does life originate?” And astronomers have just begun to twig to an idea that I proposed a decade or more ago, and that is, that the most hospitable place for life to form is within the electrical sheath of a brown dwarf star. Where you have a relatively cool star, because it’s cool and relatively low-voltage, you could say, the glowing sheath that surrounds it is actually quite huge, and the satellites orbit within that sheath. Any object that’s orbiting within a glowing sphere receives the same amount of energy on every square inch of its surface. Which means that there are no seasons, you don’t have to worry about axial tilts, rotation rates, orbital tilts, or anything like that. Every body orbiting within that glowing sheath will receive a benign radiation, the same radiation at the poles as at the equator.
It seems the Earth was in such a state at one time. We know that there has been coal found at Antarctica, and animals were living happily in the Arctic circle, in the recent past of the Earth – which gives you some idea that the history of the Earth has been quite dynamic in recent times.
But the interesting aspect about this is the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, because we are looking for radio signals from life forms in space, but if life forms are formed preferentially inside of these ‘plasma sheaths’ as they’re called, then radio waves will not penetrate those sheaths – so we’re wasting our time. It’s only rare instances like our own where we have been torn from our birthplace and yet survived, and found ourselves in a situation – a rather precarious one I might add – where we orbit just far enough from a bright star that we can survive, and actually witness the universe in all its glory. Otherwise we would not know that the universe exists. We would be inside a mere glowing shell, with no idea of the universe outside.
I want to throw in an idea into this, which is Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are these massive animals, and paleontologists and biologists who try to reconstruct their movement always come up against the same problem, which is their existence. Given our gravity, and what we know about gravity on Earth, they [the large dinosaurs] couldn’t have moved. They certainly couldn’t have flown; most of them couldn’t have held their heads up. If the Earth were rotating a smaller star, do you think that wouldn’t changed the situation in terms of gravity and the life the Earth could support?
I consider that a crucial piece of evidence in favor of the electrical model of gravity. It’s generally regarded that gravity is a function of ‘mass,’ so the mass of a body determines its gravity. But then there is this confusion – quite interesting confusion – in the minds of experts, between ‘mass’ and ‘matter.’ In other words, mass is usually confused with the amount matter. We know that in particle accelerators you can accelerate sub-atomic particles up to close to the speed of light, and their mass increases enormously. It’s still a proton or an electron or whatever it is you are accelerating, however its mass is much greater than normal.
The electric universe suggests that all sub-atomic particles can change their mass in response to their electrical environment. And of course the Earth’s electrical environment as a satellite of a brown dwarf star would’ve been quite different to what it is with our present sun. And it seems the electrical stress was much less, so that the apparent mass of the Earth would’ve been a fraction of what it is now. With a result that the atmosphere would’ve been much more extensive; larger animals could have survived, the flora and fauna (they call it “mega-flora” and “mega-fauna”) had an environment in which it could survive. And all that changed suddenly so that what killed the dinosaurs was a drastic change in the Earth’s environment.
Can you foresee a way to take these electrical pathways in the universe, these Birkeland currents, and harnessing any of them for our use?
Not directly. The electric universe deals with both particle physics – that’s at the smaller scale – as well as cosmology of the grander scale, in the universe. At the smaller scale, when you look at particle physics and quantum theory, another thing that is not recognized is that quantum theory is a theory without an explanation. There is no physical explanation for why quantum effects occur. And this is shown by reports that talk about the “spooky” behavior of particles at the quantum level. The electric universe doesn’t like these ideas without any explanation.
In trying to understand gravity, I came to the conclusion that it required that all sub-atomic particles are made of smaller charged particles which are in orbit. And they are a resonant system, so that all the stable particles that make up the matter that we see and touch, is in the form of resonant electric charge. This gives the idea that you can actually achieve nuclear reactions, at room temperature, using resonant catalysts.
There’s already a company in the U.S., in New Jersey called Blacklight Power, which seems to have stumbled upon this, and they’re using heavy elements like iron. An iron atom has a huge number of resonances because it is a heavy atom. And they’ve managed to tap into that resonance and use it as a catalyst to extract energy from the hydrogen atom – which has not been achievable before.
I think when we begin to understand what ‘quantum mechanics’ really means, in terms of real particles [versus hypothetical], then a whole new avenue for extracting energy from atoms will be available. And the funny thing is, it seems that biological systems have known how to do this right from the get-go. A famous French scientist, Louis Kervran, has shown that biological systems are able to transmute elements to tap into nuclear-type energy.
And that’s where we ended – drawing energy from atoms at room temperature – and it’s already being done…in New Jersey! What will it take for NASA to stow their “invisible, theoretical dark matter and black hole” research for a moment, and make room for the study of plasma cosmology? NASA is our tax dollars at work, so if you’re interested in seeing plasma research pushed to the fore, write the space agency, tell them about plasma cosmology, and let them know that you’re paying attention to their very real spending of non-theoretical dollars.
- Wal Thornhill’s essays can be found at holoscience.com. I recommend them highly.
- Wal is part of the Thunderbolts.info project – Part one of their three-DVD series, which explores the electric universe, is available here; part two and three are in production. Youtube videos.
Further Reading on Topics Discussed Here
The Troubled Stellar Model:
The Sun is Hottest Above its Surface:
The Accelerating Solar Wind:
Hannes Alfvén – Electricity in Space:
Dinosaurs unable to walk, run, fly, eat, live in Earth’s current gravity:
Mega Flora and Mega Fauna:
Electric Models of Gravity:
Electric Star Chart:
Solar System Gravitational Collapse Model:
Star Birthing – Coronal Mass Ejections:
Brown Dwarf Stars and Cool Stars:
- wikipedia.org | deepfly.org | deepfly.org | cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com | Planet Or Failed Star? One Of Smallest Stellar Companions Seen By Hubble: sciencedaily.com | The Sun’s New Exotic Neighbor: A Very Cool Brown Dwarf: sciencedaily.com | Scientists Find Possible Birth Of Tiniest Known Solar System: sciencedaily.com | Is It A Planet? Exotic Object Orbiting Star Stirs Exoplanet Classification Rethink: sciencedaily.com | Astronomers Find The Two Dimmest Stellar Bulbs: spacedaily.com
Life In the Glow of a Dwarf Star
“Spooky” Quantum Physics: