Growing magnetic fields in deep space: Just wiggle the plasma

November 5, 2018 by Raphael Rosen, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
The researchers from left: PPPL graduate student Denis St-Onge, Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences Matthew Kunz, and PPPL director Steven Cowley. Credit: Elle Starkman

Contrary to what many people believe, outer space is not empty. In addition to an electrically charged soup of ions and electrons known as plasma, space is permeated by magnetic fields with a wide range of strengths. Astrophysicists have long wondered how those fields are produced, sustained, and magnified. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have shown that plasma turbulence might be responsible, providing a possible answer to what has been called one of the most important unsolved problems in plasma astrophysics.

The researchers used powerful computers at the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to simulate how the turbulence could intensify magnetic fields through what is known as the dynamo effect, in which the magnetic fields become stronger as the twist and turn. "This work constitutes an important step toward answering for the first time the question of whether turbulence can amplify magnetic fields to dynamical strengths in a hot, dilute , such as that residing within clusters of galaxies," said Matthew Kunz, an astrophysics professor at Princeton University and an author of the paper, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Past research has focused on dynamos as they might occur in so-called collisional plasmas, in which collectively behave as a fluid. But intergalactic plasmas are collisionless, so past experiments are not necessarily relevant. This new research is meant to address that gap. "We wanted to see how the dynamo would behave in the collisionless regime," said Denis St-Onge, graduate student in the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics at PPPL and lead author of the paper.

St-Onge and Kunz focused on the ways in which the velocities and magnetic fields of individual particles within are directly linked. This linkage—if one quantity increases or decreases, the other must, too—would seem to rule out the existence of a dynamo. "If this were the whole story, it would be disastrous for the dynamo," said St-Onge. "To match what we observe in space, the dynamo would have to increase the strength of the seed magnetic field by at least a factor of one trillion, but the energy of the particles would also have to increase, and there's just not enough available energy in the for that to happen."

To produce the strength of magnetic fields observed in space, the tie that binds particle energy to magnetism must be severed. This is just what St-Onge and Kunz observed in the computer simulations: that types of known as mirror and firehose instabilities caused the plasma particles to scatter, and scattering broke the link between particle energy and magnetism and allowed the amplitudes of the magnetic fields to grow closer to what is observed in nature.

Future research, St-Onge notes, will focus on why this turbulent scattering occurs. "In addition, we would like to investigate the specifics of particle scattering," St-Onge said. "How exactly do the instabilities cause the particles to scatter, how often does the scattering occur, and can the scattering lead to sudden, dramatic growth of a ? The last idea is a notion proposed by PPPL Director Steven Cowley years ago. We would like to investigate whether this is true."

Explore further: Discovering a previously unknown role for a source of magnetic fields

More information: Denis A. St-Onge et al, Fluctuation Dynamo in a Collisionless, Weakly Magnetized Plasma, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aad638

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gculpex
2.6 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2018
"This work constitutes an important step toward answering for the first time the question of whether turbulence can amplify magnetic fields to dynamical strengths in a hot, dilute plasma, such as that residing within clusters of galaxies"
Any time now...
jonesdave
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2018
"This work constitutes an important step toward answering for the first time the question of whether turbulence can amplify magnetic fields to dynamical strengths in a hot, dilute plasma, such as that residing within clusters of galaxies"
Any time now...


And your point is......................? Nothing, as usual.
jonesdave
3.3 / 5 (10) Nov 05, 2018
"This work constitutes an important step toward answering for the first time the question of whether turbulence can amplify magnetic fields to dynamical strengths in a hot, dilute plasma, such as that residing within clusters of galaxies"
Any time now...


Come on, woo boy. What......'any time now'? Hmmm? Spit it out, or STFU, yes? Another EU idiot, I'm guessing. Doesn't know any science, so can't post any. Sad muppets, them lot.
holoman
1 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2018
I call them resonating soliton particles.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 05, 2018
Any time now...


They laughed at Galileo...

But, Galileo proposed that the Sun sits at the center of the solar system instead of everything revolving around the Earth, and as proof he proposed the tides which would be caused by the centrifugal action of the earth going around a stationary sun. However, he could not explain why the tides come in twice a day, because he did not know what gravity is and how it applies to celestial objects.

So later on, when the heliocentric system was vindicated, Galileo's cosmology actually wasn't. He got the "what" somewhat right, but his theories about the "why" and "how" were entirely wrong and he failed to make a compelling argument, yet he kept on insisting that he's right. He was still a crank by all standards.

So mind that when you interpret new results to fit your old woo.
jonesdave
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 05, 2018
They laughed at Galileo...


They also laughed at Bozo the clown. Rightly. :)
Old_C_Code
4 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2018
So mind that when you interpret new results to fit your old woo


What old woo? what new woo? what are you even talking about? So magnetic field strength increases when lines are twisted, so f**king what? So now the Sun is powered by the galaxy?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2018
"Growing magnetic fields in deep space: Just wiggle the plasma"

Wait - what??
Solon
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2018
Plasma antennas in space are a barely mentioned phenomena, but some research has been performed. They exist at all scales and will be found to have far greater importance than presently acknowledged.

Whistler Wave Antennas - UCLA Physics & Astronomy
http://www.physic...dex.html

Plasma Antennas - DTIC
http://www.dtic.m...7637.pdf
jonesdave
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2018
Plasma antennas in space are a barely mentioned phenomena, but some research has been performed. They exist at all scales and will be found to have far greater importance than presently acknowledged.

Whistler Wave Antennas - UCLA Physics & Astronomy
http://www.physic...dex.html


Huh? They are using a man made antenna to induce whistler waves in lab plasmas. To study them. Whistler mode waves are well known phenomena. There are, to my knowledge, a vanishingly small number of man made antennae floating around in space.
cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
The plasma ignoramuses keep trying, yet they are pissing into the wind. They still favor modeling their non-existent pseudo-plasma ILO real plasma. Their non-plasma fluid models omit many real plasma phenomena that are of primary importance to the creation of the electric currents that are really responsible for the creation of cosmic magnetic fields. They're trying, but their astrophysical training is blinding those attempts.
jonesdave
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2018
The plasma ignoramuses keep trying, yet they are pissing into the wind. They still favor modeling their non-existent pseudo-plasma ILO real plasma. Their non-plasma fluid models omit many real plasma phenomena that are of primary importance to the creation of the electric currents that are really responsible for the creation of cosmic magnetic fields. They're trying, but their astrophysical training is blinding those attempts.


And what the hell would you know? You know Jack sh!t about plasma physics, and nor do any of your fellow scientifically illiterate cultists.
cantdrive85
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
And what the hell would you know?

I know the following fact based comment is still very true. The plasma ignoramuses are still decades behind where Alfvén was about 45-years-ago.

"Students using astrophysical textbooks remain essentially ignorant of even the existence of plasma concepts, despite the fact that some of them have been known for half a century. The conclusion is that astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of astrophysicists who have gotten their main knowledge from these textbooks. Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory."
jonesdave
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 06, 2018
And what the hell would you know?

I know the following fact based comment is still very true. The plasma ignoramuses are still decades behind where Alfvén was about 45-years-ago.

"Students using astrophysical textbooks remain essentially ignorant of even the existence of plasma concepts, despite the fact that some of them have been known for half a century. The conclusion is that astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of astrophysicists who have gotten their main knowledge from these textbooks. Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory."


Hahahahaha. More deification of a long dead scientist. Pathetic. Today's plasma physicists know far more than Alfven ever did.
cantdrive85
2 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2018
More deification of a long dead scientist.

Alfvén passed in 1995, after a lifetime developing a new branch of physics, plasma physics. It's no more of a deification than the darkists references to the actually long dead Einstein. Today's plasma ignoramuses still believe in concepts Alfvén moved along from in the 1950's. As usual, your "facts" are backwards.
jonesdave
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
More deification of a long dead scientist.

Alfvén passed in 1995, after a lifetime developing a new branch of physics, plasma physics. It's no more of a deification than the darkists references to the actually long dead Einstein. Today's plasma ignoramuses still believe in concepts Alfvén moved along from in the 1950's. As usual, your "facts" are backwards.


Bullsh!t. Alfven went off course long before his death. He got magnetic reconnection totally wrong, and underestimated his own MHD. He was pretty much an irrelevance from the 70s onwards, and seemed to get overly arrogant after his Nobel Prize, expounding too much on cosmology stuff that he should have left well alone, whilst berating others who knew more about what they were doing than he gave them credit for.
jonesdave
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory."


The modern plasma astrophysicists are well acquainted with lab physics. And understand the magnetosphere better than Alfven ever did, due to in-situ measurements made since his time, and have not cocked up on magnetic reconnection as he did. And circuit theory is not telling you anything about the plasma. And modern plasma theory' has moved on considerably since Alfven's day, and the physicists have moved with it. Only an idiot would cling to stuff that was in vogue 40 or 50 years ago.

cantdrive85
2.3 / 5 (9) Nov 06, 2018
The modern plasma astrophysicists are well acquainted with lab physics.

LOL! By tying strings to water balloons...

And MRx is the same pseudoscientific claptrap as it was 40-years-ago. The plasma ignoramuses are well on their way down a dead-end path they will have to return from, only to attempt to retrace the path Alfvén blazed long ago.
jonesdave
4.5 / 5 (8) Nov 06, 2018
The modern plasma astrophysicists are well acquainted with lab physics.

LOL! By tying strings to water balloons...

And MRx is the same pseudoscientific claptrap as it was 40-years-ago. The plasma ignoramuses are well on their way down a dead-end path they will have to return from, only to attempt to retrace the path Alfvén blazed long ago.


Give up you idiot. Magnetic reconnection is seen in-situ, as well as in the lab. Alfven was wrong then, and he is still wrong now. As shown by the fact that not a single plasma physicist agrees with him. Nobody is denying reconnection happens. He was lagging behind by the 70s, and is further out of date now.
Solon
3 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2018
Plasma antennas in space are a barely mentioned phenomena, but some research has been performed. They exist at all scales and will be found to have far greater importance than presently acknowledged.

Whistler Wave Antennas - UCLA Physics & Astronomy
http://www.physic...dex.html


Huh? They are using a man made antenna to induce whistler waves in lab plasmas. To study them. Whistler mode waves are well known phenomena. There are, to my knowledge, a vanishingly small number of man made antennae floating around in space.


Lots of natural plasma antennas out there though, including loops. What do you think the current loop at Saturn is? Where do you think all the radio emissions come from?
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2018
Plasma antennas in space are a barely mentioned phenomena, but some research has been performed. They exist at all scales and will be found to have far greater importance than presently acknowledged.

Whistler Wave Antennas - UCLA Physics & Astronomy
http://www.physic...dex.html


Huh? They are using a man made antenna to induce whistler waves in lab plasmas. To study them. Whistler mode waves are well known phenomena. There are, to my knowledge, a vanishingly small number of man made antennae floating around in space.


Lots of natural plasma antennas out there though, including loops. What do you think the current loop at Saturn is? Where do you think all the radio emissions come from?


Just link to the papers where this is spelled out.
jonesdave
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2018
It's no more of a deification than the darkists references to the actually long dead Einstein.


Nope. Einstein is recognised as one of the greatest scientific minds of all time. However, that does not mean that everything he said was correct. He was wrong about QM. He was wrong about BHs. People didn't just accept what he said because of who he was. However, that is what EU wooists do with Alfven, even where he's provably wrong. They also have a funny habit of ignoring things that he said that disagree with their woo. Such as the Sun being powered by fusion.
cantdrive85
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2018
Magnetic reconnection is seen in-situ, as well as in the lab.

Something is seen to happen, but it doesn't include the pseudoscientific claptrap plasma ignoramuses are claiming.
jonesdave
4 / 5 (4) Nov 07, 2018
Magnetic reconnection is seen in-situ, as well as in the lab.

Something is seen to happen, but it doesn't include the pseudoscientific claptrap plasma ignoramuses are claiming.


Yes it does, and nobody is claiming otherwise. Only idiots like you. MR is a fact. Get over it. Falthammar would tell you the same, as would Alfven, if he'd lived long enough to see the evidence that his erstwhile co-author had. The only idiots denying this observed phenomenon are EU dolts, none of whom are scientifically qualified to understand Jack sh!t about it.
cantdrive85
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 07, 2018
Something is seen to happen, but it doesn't include the pseudoscientific claptrap plasma ignoramuses are claiming.

Yes it does, and nobody is claiming otherwise.

Well, at least you admit it. At least you acknowledge the plasma ignoramuses rely on pseudoscientific claptrap.
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 07, 2018
Something is seen to happen, but it doesn't include the pseudoscientific claptrap plasma ignoramuses are claiming.

Yes it does, and nobody is claiming otherwise.

Well, at least you admit it. At least you acknowledge the plasma ignoramuses rely on pseudoscientific claptrap.


Nope. MR is an established scientific fact, and nobody is challenging that, except for uneducated idiots like you. End of story.
cantdrive85
3 / 5 (4) Nov 07, 2018
MR is an established scientific fact, and nobody is challenging that

Well you are right that some event happens, and you are right the plasma ignoramuses call it that. But the fact of the matter is that none of the pseudoscientific claptrap that the plasma ignoramuses claim is happening certainly does not happen.
jonesdave
3 / 5 (2) Nov 07, 2018
MR is an established scientific fact, and nobody is challenging that

Well you are right that some event happens, and you are right the plasma ignoramuses call it that. But the fact of the matter is that none of the pseudoscientific claptrap that the plasma ignoramuses claim is happening certainly does not happen.


Wrong. And no scientist is saying otherwise. Your uneducated opinion is worthless.
Steelwolf
not rated yet Nov 14, 2018
Poor jd's world is really falling apart these days, above story buries him with his denials.

We also have This:
https://arxiv.org...4401.pdf

Really jd, you need to step up to Modern Science. Funny you pushing magnetic reconnection, which happens at all scales, and your years of saying electric currents dont happen in space.
Steelwolf
not rated yet Nov 14, 2018
Also wonderful Tidal Tail with widespread magnetic field shaping the tail and helping small star formation:

https://arxiv.org...4916.pdf

My post above dropped this somehow when I made edit.

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