Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Birkeland currents

  1. Jul 18, 2003 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    i have been following the posts about the electric sun
    my interest is the birkeland currents, this link gives some insight http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/Education/wcurrent.html
    my problem is understanding how these currents flow through space
    "how is the initial contact made"?
    why is it that radio astronomy has not maped these current flows?
    yours daft as ever wolram
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    In the succeeding decade Birkeland generalized his theory of the
    aurora to other astronomical phenomena, asserting that sunspots,
    Saturn's rings, and even the formation of galaxies can be
    explained by electrical currents and magnetic fields moving
    through the tenuous conducting gasses of space. In 1904 he wrote
    that 'space is filled with electrons and flying electric ions of
    all kinds.' For the first time, he had glimpsed the plasma
    http://www.pacificsites.com/~cmorford/Her_Sci/E_U/Defining_Plasma.htm [Broken]
    is there any new research about this theory???????
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Jul 18, 2003 #3
    Answers for some of your questions

    The reason that radio astronomers haven't detected such currents is that they are basically quiescent and don't emit radio waves. They would have to oscillate, or emit syncrotron radiation, or some such to be detectable.

    Mainstream solar scientists have been working for fourty years with a plasma/magnetic-field model of solar activity, called magnetic reconnection, and the theory hasn't panned out. It doesn't supply nearly enough energy for the events involved, nor do they display the time duration, the structure or other observed properties. A goodly percentage of solar scientist will tell you flat out "we don't have a workable theory", so it's doubtful that extending the idea into deep space will make the theory work.

    Something seems to be involved beyond plasma and magnetic fields.

    Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Aurora is that fact that it is confined to such a small band. What is the mechanism that confines it?
  5. Jul 18, 2003 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    i have seen the phrase magnetic reconnection used before can you
    explain the meaning? your saying these energy circuits exist but do not carry high levels of energy, can you say how much energy they carry? i get the feeling ive run into the twilight zone reguarding
    the electric sun theory.
    all the best.
  6. Jul 18, 2003 #5
    If you plug these phrases

    into MSN or Google, you'll get plenty of material to study.

    solar activity

    solar physics

    magnetic reconnection

    A sunspot typicaly has a magnetic field of about 4 KiloGauss, about the same as a ceramic speaker magnet, but spread over a volume of the order of a trillion cubic kilometers, so it represents a tremendous amount of energy. The theory is that the strong fields prevent energy from entering the spot region and that is why the spot is cooler than its surroundings. But when computer sims are run of this hypothesis the sunspot heats to surrounding temps in about 15 to 45 minutes, depending on its size. But sunspots may last for days, weeks, even months. So it's pretty obvious that a tremendous amount of energy is being poured into something beside the magnetic field.

    Likewise when the total magnetic field energy for a solar prominence is calculated, and that prominence becomes a CME (coronal mass ejection) the field energy isn't nearly enough, by several orders of magnitude, to supply the CME energy. Now CMEs and sunspots are related, i.e. a sunspot region may produce a prominence, and it just so happens that the CME total energy compares to the sunspot total energy.

    So I and a lot of other people want to know, where is this energy hiding? It isn't in the magnetic field.

    That in a nutshell is the problem in solar physics.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2003
  7. Jul 19, 2003 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    thankyou TYGER, one can appreciate the problems scientists face
    when given a clear overview of the problem.
  8. Mar 10, 2004 #7
    The biggest problem is comsologists somehow think you can have magnetic currents without the "electric" part. As soon as one realizes that currents are electro-magnetic, as electrical engineers do, the explanations get quite simple for the sun, sunspots, aurora, etc.

    Here are two sites that have quite a bit of information if you are really interested in the electric universe or plasma universe.


    BTW-both are by eletrical engineers.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook