New paper offers another approach to proof that dark matter exists

Jun 30, 2011 by Bob Yirka weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- In yet another stab at trying to prove the existence of dark matter, Dan Hooper and colleagues have published a paper on arXiv describing what they believe to be credible evidence of the material believed to comprise most of the mass in the Universe. They say, according to a recent BBC post, that it could be that electrons are created when high energy dark matter particles crash into one another, giving rise to the synchrotron radiation that has thus far puzzled scientists here on Earth. The result, it is postulated, are the so far unexplained non-thermal radio filaments (NRFs) found near the center of our galaxy.

As the BBC article notes, Hooper gives credit for the idea to fellow team member Tim Linden; a move that may or may not instill confidence in the new theory. Hooper then goes on to say in an interview with BBC news, that the theory does seem to answer a lot of the previously unanswerable questions regarding the mysterious filaments, such as why they are so close to the center of the universe, and why they’re so bright. He says that’s likely due to there being more dark matter as you approach the center of the galaxy.

In the paper, Hooper et al, note that the filaments trace magnetic field lines, and that others have not had much success in figuring out their origin. They then go on to explain that they believe the creation of and positrons that make up the filaments is due to the annihilation of some amount of light, dark matter. In addition to confirming their belief that it is this annihilation process that is responsible for the filaments, they also explain how the characteristics of such events would also explain the excess gamma-ray emissions detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope and described by the CoGeNT collaboration and also seen in the DAMA/LIBRA experiment in Italy.

Of course, as is noted in the BBC article, basing a new theory on other unproven older theories might in some ways be interpreted as little more than speculation, even if you back up your claims with lots of fancy math.

Explore further: First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

More information: Dark Matter and Synchrotron Emission from Galactic Center Radio Filaments, arXiv:1106.5493v1 [astro-ph.HE] arxiv.org/abs/1106.5493

Abstract
The inner degrees of the Galactic center contain a large population of filamentary structures observed at radio frequencies. These so-called non-thermal radio filaments (NRFs) trace magnetic field lines and have attracted significant interest due to their hard (S_v ~ -0.1 +/- 0.4) synchrotron emission spectra. The origin of these filaments remains poorly understood. We show that the electrons and positrons created through the annihilations of a relatively light (~5-10 GeV) dark matter particle with the cross section predicted for a simple thermal relic can provide a compelling match to the intensity, spectral shape, and flux variation of the NRFs. Furthermore, the characteristics of the dark matter particle necessary to explain the synchrotron emission from the NRFs is consistent with those required to explain the excess gamma-ray emission observed from the Galactic center by the Fermi-LAT, as well as the direct detection signals observed by CoGeNT and DAMA/LIBRA.

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typicalguy
5 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2011
The thing that gets me about these dark matter theories that allow it to destroy itself....this would mean that given enough time, all dark matter would annihilate and regular matter would represent 100 percent of the mass of the universe. This would seem to allow for the acceleration of universal expansion...
Banvard
5 / 5 (8) Jun 30, 2011
Center of the universe?
antialias_physorg
2.5 / 5 (8) Jun 30, 2011
Center of the universe?

Since the universe expanded - and did not expand INTO anything - there is no unique center (or to put it another way: Every point in the universe is the center)

This is why we see residual radiation from the Big Bang (3K background radiation) coming from all directions.
jamesrm
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 30, 2011
These guys should start up a game on Facebook called Assumption-ville
HannesAlfven
2.7 / 5 (15) Jun 30, 2011
Guys, this is a rather desperate attempt to explain large-scale electrical plasma filaments without having to question the plasma models -- models which Nobel laureate and MHD creator, Hannes Alfven, was adamant are wrong.

And the approach is doomed to failure, because the filaments are known to span the entire galaxy. They are merely easily visible where the plasma is concentrated and excited. Gerrit Verschuur has written numerous papers on this subject, even going so far as to identify the critical ionization velocities associated with the interstellar HI filaments -- which makes a slam-dunk case that the interstellar filaments are in fact electrical in origin.

The notion that we would substitute laboratory plasma physics fundamentals for dark matter, as an attempt to explain the filaments is rather pathetic actually. It is clearly being done to save a dying paradigm.
HannesAlfven
2.2 / 5 (13) Jun 30, 2011
Contemplate the irony of the situation: Of the matter that we can see, astrophysical textbooks agree that it is almost entirely in the plasma state.

In the laboratory, plasmas form filaments when they are conducting electricity. Multiple filaments exhibit long-range attraction and short-range repulsion with one another, effectively extending the electrical force to infinite distances. These filaments are plainly visible at the 21-cm wavelength (HI hydrogen), which represents an emission due to a change in the spin state. They are still termed interstellar "clouds," but there is nothing about them that is cloud-like. They are filaments.

What sense does it make to ignore observation and experimentation with plasmas in order to prop up the notion of dark matter? There is no direct evidence for dark matter. The laboratory support for plasma filaments, in sharp contrast, is striking, and by now rather established.

It is time to elaborate the plasma universe model.
HannesAlfven
2.4 / 5 (14) Jun 30, 2011
At what point will students of physics stop listening to their professors and start making history? The future of science is sitting right here in the open, for any student to grab. But, in order to grab it, the students of physics will have to develop the courage to think for themselves and spend their own personal time learning what is already known about the plasma universe. They will even -- gasp! -- have to read IEEE's Transactions on Plasma Sciences.
Pyle
4.6 / 5 (8) Jun 30, 2011
First off, "center of the universe" is no doubt a typo and should be galaxy. Comment to the editors and maybe they'll fix it.

@Electric man:
which makes a slam-dunk case that the interstellar filaments are in fact electrical in origin.
Not sure what you are saying exactly. The researchers/scientists are, in their words, speculating that DM annihilation is the source of the electrons and positrons in the filaments. I don't think anybody disagrees that they are electrical, since its electrons. I don't think anybody disagrees that plasma physics would be important to explain how they behave.

What is questionable is whether plasma forces would dominate gravity to drive cosmic events as your plasma cosmology insists.
Pyle
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
I wonder how this theory works against the recent articles about DM heating extra-solar planets to sustain life. This would seem to support it somewhat I would think.

Would a next step be to look for gravitational lensing around these filaments? Seems like the filaments should be local concentrations of DM and should be detectable with lensing measurements.
HannesAlfven
2.2 / 5 (10) Jun 30, 2011
Re: "Not sure what you are saying exactly. The researchers/scientists are, in their words, speculating that DM annihilation is the source of the electrons and positrons in the filaments."

Listen very carefully: Interstellar filaments have been observed to span the entire galaxy - not just the core. Gerrit Verschuur is very clear on this point: Observations at the 21-cm wavelength (HI hydrogen) clearly demonstrate that the "interstellar clouds" are not clouds at all. They are filaments.

And not only that, but Verschuur also validates that charged particles within these filaments are moving at such rapid rotational speeds that they are ionizing neutral matter that they slam into. This is called critical ionization velocity, and it shows up as redshifts at 50 km/s, 35 km/s, 13 km/s and 6 km/s (which represent the CIV's of the universe's most abundant elements).

Critical ionization occurs as a result of the process of Marklund convection, a plasma physics process.
Pyle
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 30, 2011
Again, so far as I know, there is plenty of agreement in the scientific world about plasma physics. The problem is when you EU guys start making predictions regarding cosmology, they tend to be wrong. Here are links posted previously by Deesky and yyz to save them the trouble:
http://scientopia...s-wrong/
http://homepage.m...0322.pdf
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 30, 2011
So, if you have filaments throughout the galaxy, there is no need to postulate a source for the electrons observed in the filaments at the core. The electrons are being drawn through the arms of the galaxy to the core through the diffuse dark mode plasma interstellar filaments. They are simply much more diffuse outside of the core, which makes them harder to see.

Re: "What is questionable is whether plasma forces would dominate gravity to drive cosmic events as your plasma cosmology insists."

Within the laboratory, plasma filaments exhibit long-range attraction and short-range repulsion (which keeps the filaments from combining). The attractive force involved here is the electric force. This very important geometry extends the electric force to infinite distances.

All of the elements necessary to formulate a second framework are there. The only thing missing is in fact the will of people like yourself to learn a 2nd framework.

If you ask me, you guys are being lazy.
Pyle
4 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2011
This very important geometry extends the electric force to infinite distances.
Infinite distances if the electric current is infinite. I guess with your filaments you think it approaches infinity. Fair enough I guess.
Time will tell. If the EU work is good I have faith it will break through if these ideas on filaments play out. I just have little faith that the EU work on filaments is good based on the track record. (Which isn't really a fair judgement on my part, admittedly.)
HannesAlfven
2.1 / 5 (11) Jun 30, 2011
OMG, did you really just link to that horrendous scientopia "analysis"? That kid doesn't even understand what "intrinsic redshift" means. I tried to correct him, but it's been a week now, and he refuses to post my corrections.

Re: "Don't bother with the diatribe about peer reviewed research and the conspiracy of PhDs against dissenters."

News flash: cutting edge science oftentimes originates at the fringes of science. We'd all be wise to not simplistically confuse controversy with conspiracy.

Re: "You have some valid points, but cranks and day dreamers have a low hit rate for testable predictions, aka real science."

Hannes Alfven made numerous important predictions which have come to be true. In fact, CIV's are one of them.

Does it not bother you at all that you guys have to completely ignore the 21-cm all-sky survey in order to arrive at your preferred conclusions? I mean, we are literally arguing over observations at this point. Doesn't this concern you?
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (10) Jun 30, 2011
Re: "Infinite distances if the electric current is infinite. I guess with your filaments you think it approaches infinity. Fair enough I guess."

The electric force is carried with a completely different geometry than the gravitational. This is observed to be the case in the plasma laboratory.

Re: "Time will tell. If the EU work is good I have faith it will break through if these ideas on filaments play out."

Actually, until people like yourself start reading what the plasma universe fundamentals are, nothing will change.

Re: "I just have little faith that the EU work on filaments is good based on the track record. (Which isn't really a fair judgement on my part, admittedly.)"

Actually, laboratory plasmas are incredibly predictive of cosmic plasmas because plasmas scale over enormous magnitudes. In fact, plasma scaling is precisely why the universe is fractal-like.
Pyle
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2011
For the record, I never labeled Hannes Alfven a crank or a day dreamer. You aren't him of course, and are inappropriately using his name as your nick. I am not well versed enough to know where your views differ from his, but he definitely made many contributions to our understanding of astrophysics in addition to the things he got wrong.

As for arguing over observations, I wasn't. I merely trust the mass of the scientific community that discounts the Electric Universe crowd. Misplaced trust? Possibly. Throw some references out to real work and source material and I will chase them.
HannesAlfven
2 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2011
From http://amasci.com...ose.html

"Skepticism is a primary tool of science. We'd be hypocrites if we never directed a skeptical eye towards Scientific Skepticism itself. Denied imperfections and errors are free to grow without limit, and Skepticism is not immune to this problem. Unbridled gullibility can destroy science, but unbridled disbelief is no less a threat because it brings both a tolerance for bias and ridicule as well as the suppression of untested new ideas. Better to take a middle road between total closed-mindedness and total gullibility. Practice pragmatism, pursue humility, and maintain a clear, honest, and continuing view of ourselves and the less noble of our own behaviors."
Pyle
5 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2011
Agreed! Great quote.

Now link to support for your theories. (Note I will likely get quiet since my capacity to evaluate it is likely close to zero)
HannesAlfven
2.4 / 5 (11) Jun 30, 2011
Re: "Throw some references out to real work and source material and I will chase them."

Okay, I'll bite.

First, learn what a CIV is. Plasma-universe will do for this ...

http://www.plasma...velocity

There are other papers that might help, like this ...

IFEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE. VOL 17. NO 2. APRIL 1989: "An Overview of Atomic and Molecular Processes in
Critical Velocity Ionization"

Next, take a look at Gerrit Verschuur's observations of CIV's, and his insistence that the interstellar matter is not at all cloud-like:

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 35, NO. 4, AUGUST 2007 759: "On the Critical Ionization Velocity Effect in
Interstellar Space and Possible Detection
of Related Continuum Emission" by Gerrit L. Verschuur

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PLASMA SCIENCE, VOL. 28, NO. 6, DECEMBER 2000: "Observation of the CIV Effect in Interstellar Clouds:
A Speculation on the Physical Mechanism for Their Existence", by Peratt and Verschuur
HannesAlfven
2.1 / 5 (10) Jun 30, 2011
Now, to understand the precise geometry of how charged particles within these filaments are slamming into neutral gas, in the process ionizing it, you need to go back to that detailed description of Marklund Convection that I posted in that former physorg posting (which I believe you already cited above).

It doesn't end there.

We can also come to the same conclusions by starting with the Tokamak. There are a number of papers by a pair of scientists named A.B. Kukushkin and V.A. Rantsev-Kartinov. I recommend skimming through all of them. Take a close look at the imagery, especially, so you get a feel for what electrical plasmas can do.

Here is one ...

LONG-LIVED FILAMENTS IN FUSION PLASMAS:
REVIEW OF OBSERVATIONS AND STATUS OF
HYPOTHESIS OF MICRODUST-ASSEMBLED
SKELETONS

So, what these guys did is they created a probabilistic reasoning algorithm (artificial intelligence, aka fuzzy logic) which tries to fit the plasma structures of the Tokamak to their imagery.
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2011
Once they got the algorithms functional for the Tokamak, they then applied these same algorithms to cosmic and terrestrial phenomena. Here's one that pertains to interstellar filaments ...

SIMILARITY OF SKELETAL STRUCTURES IN
LABORATORY AND SPACE AND THE PROBABLE ROLE OF SELF-ASSEMBLING OF A FRACTAL DUST IN FUSION DEVICES

This is a completely fascinating approach to the problem which is very underrated. The probabilistic reasoning technology has demonstrated an ability to solve a great number of complex problems. It's a critical component of IBM's Watson, which is now diagnosing diseases better than doctors can.

The implication here is that we can use these algorithms to take the bias out of imagery interpretation. We can get an exact percentage which describes the extent to which Halton Arp's bridges between galaxies and quasars are real. This would be an objective inference.

And we can do the same with plasma filaments. I suspect this is just the beginning of AI in physics
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2011
That's not the end of the story though. The CMB is involved as well. Cosmologist John Barrow, as an example, has claimed that, "[t]hese microwaves could only have originated from a universe that was expanding like ours." (from Science & Spirit magazine, Jan-Feb '05, http://www.science-spirit.org, p. 45, 3rd column)

If he had worked with plasmas, he wouldn't have said that.

Within the plasma universe view, the microwaves traditionally inferred to represent a relic of the big bang are in fact a localized electromagnetic fog.

But, wait! Birkeland currents emit synchrotron, which is a very spiky signal. So, how -- in theory -- could a black body spectrum emerge from synchrotron sources? The thermalization of synchrotron radiation depends upon the magnetic field strength, the plasma density, electron temperature and filament width. The point is that it can be done.

But, we need more to go on than that. Okay, how about this ...
Pyle
4 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2011
I have my work set out for me. Thank you!
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (9) Jun 30, 2011
The Astrophysical Journal, 671:447-457, 2007 December 10: "High Galactic Latitude Interstellar Neutral Hydrogen Structure and Associated (WMAP) High-Frequency Continuum Emission" by Gerrit L. Verschuur

It turns out that over 200 wmap hotspots correlate with knots in the Birkeland currents.

(Not surprisingly, this has been refuted by the WMAP team, and is now a debate over statistics.)

But, what's critical is that you understand the nature of the interstellar matter, the fact that there are CIV's associated with them, the geometry for how Marklund convection creates the CIV's, and the fact that we can see that twists in the filaments appear to be generating microwave hotspots which theorists are (in this view) accidentally attributing to extra-galactic distances.

(Keep in mind that an incredible amount of human processing goes into the WMAP results. This is not incredibly hard to believe ...)
HannesAlfven
2.2 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
Thanks for listening. With your curiosity, you will go very far in physics. Most people are eager to find a reason to not believe anything unconventional. This is a very dangerous approach for our economy, as it can stall innovation.

When students learn one framework -- like the gravitational one -- they tend to memorize it and discount anything else. But, if we taught students two frameworks from the very start, they would naturally compare and contrast them, based upon observations and experimental results. We need to fix this error in how physics is being taught. We need to train students to "critically think" in terms of concepts in science. We also need to teach students about how the mind works, as there are natural human psychological and social tendencies which are not at all "scientific" or "philosophical" in nature. This is why we have philosophy of science.

I also highly recommend "Disciplined Minds" by Jeff Schmidt.
Deesky
3.8 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
OMG, did you really just link to that horrendous scientopia "analysis"?

I understand why you think it's horrendous - because the piece is presented in a reasoned fashion with arguments that rely on real physics, not make-believe.

That kid doesn't even understand what "intrinsic redshift" means.

The 'kid' knows more about science than you know about cranking, which is to say, a lot!

I tried to correct him, but it's been a week now, and he refuses to post my corrections.

It's hardly surprising. I just wish this site had the same degree of filtering so that most story posts aren't blighted with idiotic drivel.

cutting edge science oftentimes originates at the fringes of science.

Rarely, at lest in contemporary times. There's a difference between being on the fringe of science and working within the scientific framework but in a speculative research area.
Deesky
3.8 / 5 (12) Jul 01, 2011
Hannes Alfven made numerous important predictions which have come to be true.

He certainly made valuable scientific contributions with his work, however, he really dropped the ball when he tried to take on alternative cosmology and now his name will forever be tainted by association with the fruitcake EU camp.

Doesn't this concern you?

What concerns me is the dummbification of society.
HannesAlfven
2.2 / 5 (9) Jul 01, 2011
Re: "Rarely, at lest in contemporary times. There's a difference between being on the fringe of science and working within the scientific framework but in a speculative research area."

So, what you're arguing is that nobody is permitted to question the plasma models.

This is a striking claim, considering that Alfven himself would, over the course of his lifetime, come to distance himself from his earlier theories. Although he is the originator of the MHD models, it is unfortunately not commonly taught that, by the time he received his Nobel, he was already trying to convince astrophysicists that he had made a huge mistake.

He was very vocal about these problems. This information appears to not have been passed on.

I would argue that this is clearly an ethical violation of sorts. A person should be permitted to retract their own idea in science.

It would be fantastic if this inspired you to inform yourself on the subject. We need not dislike one another. I don't even know you!
HannesAlfven
2.1 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
Re: "He certainly made valuable scientific contributions with his work, however, he really dropped the ball when he tried to take on alternative cosmology and now his name will forever be tainted by association with the fruitcake EU camp."

Since when is it a sin to create a new idea?

Are you aware that there are 5 producers making documentaries on the Electric Universe at this moment?

Do you actually know what the theory states? (I suspect not)

Do you care what stories people have told one another for the past 5,000 years? (I suspect not)

Are you aware of any of the enigmas associated with human mythological stories? (probably not)

Our planet exists within a very thin shell of non-plasma, surrounded by plasma as far as we can see with our telescopes. So, why would the idea of a plasma-based cosmology based upon a plasma-based interpretation of mythology be a "fruitcake" idea? Are you saying that our thin shell of non-plasma is somehow perfectly plasma resiliant?
HannesAlfven
2.1 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
Re: "What concerns me is the dummbification of society."

What concerns me is the ease with which people reject new, promising ideas. There appears to be a complete absence of critical thinking in physics today amongst laypeople and students of physics. The institution of physics has failed to pick up on the critical thinking wave which has swept our other disciplines. The world needs to be very concerned about this, as our economy is at stake. If people don't pay attention to the problems with our theories, and persist with simplistic views of science, then the world will not try to solve those problems with the vigor that they deserve. This is a recipe for stagnating innovation, which is catastrophic for our economy.

Every time that I talk to a vocal close-minded person on physorg, I become concerned for our future.

The world is more complex than you imagine it to be when you ignore what everybody else is arguing.
HannesAlfven
2 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
What is the Electric Universe?

Put simply, it is the claim that we can understand and predict the behavior of cosmic plasmas by studying laboratory plasmas.

Who amongst you wants to call me a heretic for believing it?

Upon what basis is this notion wrong?

The EU also claims that where you see a magnetic field, there is an electric current causing it. This includes interstellar and intergalactic magnetic fields.

Who wants to claim that this is untrue?

99.999% of what we see with telescopes is matter in the plasma state.

Magnetic fields are observed to span the entire universe.

Interstellar "clouds" are filamentary, just like their electrical laboratory plasma cousins. And just like laboratory Birkeland Currents striking neutral clouds of gas, many of these filaments emit the four characteristic CIV's of the universe's most common elements (CIV's are associated with the neutral gas, not the charged particle).

Where did I go wrong? Why MUST space be electrically sterile?
HannesAlfven
2 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
Listen carefully about the concept of neutrality in a plasma:

Question:

We've heard that space plasma is "neutral." Doesn't that mean it can't conduct currents?

Short Answer:

No. Plasma is quasi-neutral, meaning it has approximately the same number of positive charges (protons or ions) in a given volume as it has unbound negative charges (electrons) in the same volume. Since its charges are free to move independently, unlike in neutral atoms, plasma is referred to as quasi-neutral to reduce confusion.

However, quasi-neutral and nonconductive are not synonymous. Neutrality has to do with the relative proportion of positive and negative charges in a given volume. Conductivity has to do with the freedom of the charge carriers in a medium and the ease with which an electric current can flow through it.

In a plasma, the charge carriers are able to move freely and thus the conductivity of plasmas can be extremely high.
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
Long answer:

When it comes to a discussion of plasmas, the language of high school electrostatics can create confusion. To properly differentiate the behaviors of gases and plasmas within the cosmos, it's essential that we first clarify the language used to describe electric charge and electric currents in plasmas and other materials. It's particularly important to understand that, unlike most solids and gases that we are familiar with, a neutral plasma can conduct electricity.

Since conductivity and relative charge are independent variables, there can be four scenarios where they co-exist:

Objects that...

...are neutral and don't conduct a current;

...are neutral but do conduct a current;

...are non-neutral but don't conduct a current;

...are non-neutral and do conduct a current;
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
Within the context of high school electrostatics, one might use the example of a wooden pith ball hanging on a string from the ceiling. If we add several electrons to the pith ball (causing it to become charged), then it's no longer electrically neutral. That is to say, it has more charged particles of one sign (negative charges) than particles of the opposite sign (positive charges). Additionally, since it is made of wood, it is an insulator and an electric current cannot flow through it. A pith ball, therefore, is non-neutral and does not conduct electricity.

However, if an object with a sufficient positive charge were brought into close proximity, a discharge (spark) might occur in the space between the oppositely charged objects. Such a discharge may redistribute charges between the objects, sufficient to return them to a state close to charge neutrality (approximately equal proportions of positive and negative charges in and on each object).
Deesky
4.1 / 5 (9) Jul 01, 2011
So, what you're arguing is that nobody is permitted to question the plasma models.

This is a striking claim

It would be, had I actually made it.

it is unfortunately not commonly taught that, by the time he received his Nobel, he was already trying to convince astrophysicists that he had made a huge mistake.

He was having a Hoyle moment in his old age.

He was very vocal about these problems. This information appears to not have been passed on.

Because there was nothing in it.

I would argue that this is clearly an ethical violation of sorts. A person should be permitted to retract their own idea in science.

Anyone can do what they wish. Ultimately it's down to scientific verification.

It would be fantastic if this inspired you to inform yourself on the subject

No inspiration required as I've been inspired by real science all my life.
HannesAlfven
2 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
This is the traditional context in which non-neutrality is discussed in high school physics classes.

A plasma may be considered "quasi-neutral" if it possesses an equivalent number of (positively charged) ions and (negatively charged) electrons. Plasma is also oftentimes described as an "ionized gas", which is to say that some number of its ions and/or outer valence electrons are freed from bondage (dissociated). This freedom of the charge carriers makes plasma highly conductive. Therefore plasma is quasi-neutral and does conduct an electric current.

A plasma can exist in different degrees of ionization. For example, we can clearly observe the Sun's corona. At the temperatures achieved in the corona, we know that the plasma there will be 100% dissociated. In other words, there are no "gases" (composed of neutral atoms) within the Sun's corona.
Deesky
4.1 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
We need not dislike one another. I don't even know you!

Irrelevant. You get to know someone's mettle by their comments over time.

Since when is it a sin to create a new idea?

There are no sins. New ideas are always welcome, that's how science progresses. But when those ideas don't pan out, one needs to move on.

Are you aware that there are 5 producers making documentaries on the Electric Universe at this moment?

Gosh, really! Should I be impressed? I bet there are hundreds of 'producers' making documentaries on homeopathy, astrology and creationism too. Should I be impressed by that too? I'll tell you what would impress me though. Any one of these EU cosmology proponents being published in a peer review journal, like Physical Review Letters or Nature.

Do you actually know what the theory states?

It varies a great deal depending on which crank site you go to.
HannesAlfven
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
Within the interplanetary medium (the plasma contained within the heliosphere) the degree of dissociation is still around 100%, but the density is very low. Nevertheless, where it exists, the plasma's temperature is very high (~100,000K) and the conductivity is still very high (on the order of metals).

In the interstellar medium (the plasma pervading the space between neighboring stars), there are different regions whose degree of dissociation varies from less than 1% to nearly 70%. Even "gases" in which the degree of ionization is as low as 0.00001%, may still be influenced so much by the tiny ionized proportion that the partially ionized gas as a whole still behaves as a plasma and may still be significantly electrically conductive.
Deesky
4.3 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
Do you care what stories people have told one another for the past 5,000 years?

No, not especially. Folk tales are just that. What's the relevance here?

Are you aware of any of the enigmas associated with human mythological stories?

Again, relevance? You're fading...

Our planet exists within a very thin shell of non-plasma, surrounded by plasma as far as we can see with our telescopes.

Yeah, there are concentrations of plasma in various regions, so what? There are also voids and black holes and petty much 96% of the universe which is non-baryonic.

So, why would the idea of a plasma-based cosmology based upon a plasma-based interpretation of mythology be a "fruitcake" idea?

Because it's unsupported by ecidence and known physical laws.

Are you saying that our thin shell of non-plasma is somehow perfectly plasma resiliant?

A wacko statement that makes no sense.
HannesAlfven
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
Now, suppose that the excitation (from heat, current, etc.) is removed from the plasma and the positive and negative charges get back together (they "recombine" into atoms). We would then have a non-ionized cloud of gas rather than a plasma. This cloud of gas is also well described by the word neutral and it does not conduct an electric current.

A non-neutral plasma, on the other hand, is one that contains an unequal number of ions and electrons. But, it is still a plasma because it is still completely or partially ionized. Therefore, it's non-neutral but does conduct electricity.

We should now understand, from the above examples, that conductivity is related to the freedom of the charge carriers and not to the relative proportions of positive and negative charges in a given volume.

Atmospheric gases usually act as an insulator, that is to say they are neutral and non-conductive.
Deesky
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 01, 2011
What concerns me is the ease with which people reject new, promising ideas.

If they were promising, they wouldn't be rejected. That would be stupid.

There appears to be a complete absence of critical thinking in physics today amongst laypeople and students of physics.

Certainly amongst laypeople and cranks (which tend to belong to the same group).

The institution of physics has failed to pick up on the critical thinking wave which has swept our other disciplines.

LOL! That's Orwellian speak.

If people don't pay attention to the problems with our theories, and persist with simplistic views of science, then the world will not try to solve those problems with the vigor that they deserve. This is a recipe for stagnating innovation, which is catastrophic for our economy.

Indeed it's what I said before about dumbification of society. You seem to be excluding yourself from this subset, which is ironic.
HannesAlfven
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 01, 2011
A pith ball is a piece of wood (also an insulator) to which excess charges can be added, making it non-neutral but still non-conductive.

A non-neutral plasma is an "ionized gas" with an uneven number of positive and negative charges that are free to move independently, thus it is non-neutral and does conduct.

A typical plasma has approximately equal numbers of positive and negative charges and those charges are likewise free to move, thus it is quasi-neutral and does conduct.

The outer layer(s) of the sun are composed largely of plasma. Interplanetary space is filled with low-density plasma. Interstellar and intergalactic space is filled with extremely low-density plasma. In fact, up to 99.999% of the visible universe is composed of matter in the plasma state.
Deesky
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2011

Every time that I talk to a vocal close-minded person on physorg, I become concerned for our future.

You DO have a sense of humor!

So I see you've gone into spam mode, a well-worn tactic in the crank arsenal. Little wonder scientopia won't have anything to do with you.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 01, 2011
To argue that the quasi-neutrality of space plasma precludes that plasma from conducting currents would be erroneous. In light of this revelation, we suggest that astronomers and astrophysicists should re-evaluate many current quandaries and prior assumptions in light of over a century of low-density plasma discharge experiments by such pioneering individuals as Kristian Birkeland, Irving Langmuir and Hannes Alfvén (among others).

The situation really boils down to an inattention to the definition of terms in physics. Put simply, the very definition of a plasma demands that it conducts. If it didn't, it would be a gas, guys.

And this is really the start of the answer to this predicament that conventional astronomers and astrophysicists find themselves in today. They simply refuse to believe that cosmic plasmas conduct electricity. Alfven tried to correct them. But they ignored Alfven.

Some of us listened. So, burn us at the stake!
frajo
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 02, 2011
The primary meaning of the Greek word "plasma" is "creature" or "living creation".
Its figurative sense, however, is "delusion".
SteveL
1.5 / 5 (2) Jul 02, 2011
"Some of us listened. So, burn us at the stake!"

Why, so you would become plasma?
NMvoiceofreason
1.7 / 5 (3) Jul 02, 2011
Before we give credence to any theory of CHARGED dark matter we must ask if their are any particles with mass in the standard model which have lifetimes long enough to be observed in the Universe which do not have charge. Neutrons are the only composite particle capable of existing in sufficient quantity to demonstrate the gravitic density observed. It is well known that a neutron is the combination of a proton and an electron
Pyle
2.3 / 5 (4) Jul 03, 2011
That comment ^^ was repulsive.
Ulaanbatar
1 / 5 (2) Jul 03, 2011

Spacetime should be the simplest thing in nature, not some very complicated structure. Simplest is ideal gas and my ideal gas composed of the structureless tachyons leads to the experimental data, to the quantum mechanics, and to the SR and GR i.e. to the today fundamental mainstream (not ultimate) theories.

Only tachyons (no matter whether bound in particles or free in spacetime) having, as a whole, eternal constant MEAN energy lead to the BASIC conservation law i.e. to the conservation law of energy. It leads also to the Principle of Relativity.

There is obligatory the principle of relativity. It means that what a particle can see depends on time of interactions. For example a charged pion looks not the same for particles interacting different with it (strongly, electromagnetically, weakly, or gravitationally). The same is with the tachyonic spacetime - if time of interaction of a particle with such granulated space is longer than the Planck time then for this tachyon.
Ulaanbatar
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
If the underlay of the universe is positive of charge then negative charge falls into the positively charged underlay thus creating visible matter.

In computer models we set parameters (creating rules and developing a background). These are our constants. When we interlay varying components we set the model into motion, the model comes to life.

The universe is the playing field but without varying components the universe is lifeless. Without coupling the universe is not evident.

Dark matter is uncoupled mass. It is mass that is awaiting interplay (awaiting coupling with negative charge) and/or it has uncoupled. Dark matter does interact attractively with regular matter (electromagnetically and gravitationally) but when coupled it is no longer dark. Because the field is commonly charged it repels itself and grows. The playing field is ever-expanding. Humanistic reality is interaction between the parameters (universal field) and variables that bring it to life.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
It is difficult to understand reality as we are aware of only 4% of it (the visible interacting variables). We are very limited as we ourselves are the variables, our observations are confined to that which we are aware of. But from this we are able to deduce the underlaying parameters - the rules of the physical world.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
The problem is though that that which we define and mathematically prove can only remain theoretical in nature unless we observe it.

Many realities have already been proven and yet we only exist in one. These are humanistic limitations.

Until we are able to replicate reality all science remains speculative - mine included - if you can't replicate it in the real world in real time your theory is nothing more than an artistic rendition (interpretation) of reality, a simulated model.

Not to say that models hold no value, they make the real world easy by providing us with formulas that enable us to make real world physical calculations. And each theory has potential to become more than a model, unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of todays theories will prove real.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 03, 2011
So you're correct HannesAlfven, alternate theories must be explored until reality (and not working models) are proven.
gwrede
1 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2011
Of course, as is noted in the BBC article, basing a new theory on other unproven older theories might in some ways be interpreted as little more than speculation, even if you back up your claims with lots of fancy math.
Good thing they admitted this, otherwise I'd have written it here myself.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 03, 2011
Re: "So you're correct HannesAlfven, alternate theories must be explored until reality (and not working models) are proven."

It doesn't hurt that we now have four completely separate sources of information pointing in the same direction:

(1) Laboratory studies of plasmas demonstrate that we can indeed explain our observations of the cosmos with electrical plasmas.

(2) Observations of interstellar plasmas indicate that cosmic plasmas can indeed exhibit characteristics of electrical plasmas (see Verschuur).

(3) Observations of Tokamak plasmas indicate that we can use fuzzy logic to identify the skeletal and cartwheel structures of electrical plasmas in interstellar space (see A.B. Kukushkin and V.A. Rantsev-Kartinov).

(4) Investigations of the enigmatic similarities in human mythological stories, and similarities in the morphologies between ancient rock art and fundamental laboratory plasma physics phenomena indicate that we can explain mythology with plasma physics, if we wish.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (5) Jul 03, 2011
The study of how innovation occurs is an emerging discipline. What is known to date is that the process of synthesis, as opposed to abstraction, plays a critical role in innovation. Whereas abstraction is the tearing apart of some big problem into lots of little pieces, synthesis is the bringing together of ideas from disparate domains to formulate new ideas.

When people bring up the mythology aspect of this argument, many scientists turn away. But, it is not a leg upon which the Electric Universe stands. It can be removed, with little bearing upon the scientific arguments. Many EU advocates actually do not pay it any heed.

But, we should not use the inclusion of mythology as a strike against the EU. In fact, any true cosmology will be bound to explaining everything which we see around us, including human history. It should be our expectation that our cosmology has relevance for our human origins.
StarGazer2011
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 03, 2011
Well as a disinterestd obsever, the DM camp are talking epicycles now, its getting a little ridiculous.
EU, plasma, dunno. But given the snarky trolling Alven recieves makes me think that EU might be a good next step at least for some phenomena. It seems intuitive that since the electromagnetic force is much stronger than gravitationa, in cases like large scale plasma objects/phenomena that the electrical effects will overpower the gravitational. Isnt that just common sense?
marraco
not rated yet Jul 04, 2011
Is not "the center of the universe", but the center of our galaxy.
rjhuntington
1 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2011
@Electric man:
What is questionable is whether plasma forces would dominate gravity to drive cosmic events as your plasma cosmology insists.


Considering electromagnetism is 39 orders of magnitude more powerful than gravity, it should be easy for high-current-density plasma to fully overwhelm gravity.

From the article: "...Hooper et al, note that the filaments trace magnetic field lines..."

Magnetic fields exist only due to electric currents. Magnetic fields are proportional to the electric currents that create them. Any discussion of magnetic fields in space that ignores electric currents in space overlooks obvious physics and patently cannot reach a correct conclusion.

Synchrotron radiation, so-called cold radiation, is simply plasma in glow mode, one of three modes that include dark mode, glow mode and arc mode, all of which depend on current density.
lengould100
3 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2011
First of all, where are the scientists who can read critically? I see NO evidence given in articles or comments to improve the proof of even the existence of Dark Matter, leaving me still leaning to the theories of John Moffat, MOG etc.

And what the HECK does plasma have to do with any of the topics in the article? Is it proposed that a pair of plasma currents (one negative and one positive, net charge zero) will have ANY NET electrostatic or magnetic effect on ANYTHING at ANY distance, because it won't. The effects of the negative charges will be exactly balanced by the effects of the positive charges. You may as well try to claim that a car's battery is the attractive force which holds the entire car together with electromagnetic forces.

Or that a highly charged capacitor might exert significant electro-magnetic forces at significant distances. Ridiculous.
alanborky
1 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2011
Hannes, baby, considering how dead you actually are, I must say I admire your staying power.

Like so many others, I was once hostile to the Electric Universe theory, yet so many of its predictions've been validated - I mean, hundreds of the buggers - there's got to be something to it.

The only thing I'm squeamish about's your lot standing the corner of electricity so much, you've become so hostile to gravity you dismiss the possibility it bends space, or there might be black holes.

You might even be right, but I've noticed how electricity and plasma are now sneaking in alongside gravity as 'explanations' in Astronomy and at some point when they try to explain how black holes can form and hold galaxies together as early as 700 million years after the Big Bang, they're go'n'o realise 'your' electric universe model holds a possible explanation for enormous amounts of energy instantaneously collapsing into matter or/and becoming black holes.

Must the two models be mutually exclusive?
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2011
What caused the universe? Could it be two oppositely charged branes colliding? In the beginning there was nothing and then BANG! The creation of light (the merging of branes). Is space and time a mere illusion? Is our universe an accidental interaction of homogeneous branes intertwining? Are we set in-between TRUE worlds? Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. The big bang arising out of nothing does not include the most fundamental of questions, creation itself.

The space between two branes is virtual (unreal and inexistent), the merger of the branes in the nothingness sprung the universe, our universe was created.

This covers virtual particle pairs. Residual interactions between worlds are still adding energy into our universe, the universe is growing, the branes of creation are still working, adding energy into a system we believe to be closed and self contained.