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Rings and things.

  1. May 11, 2003 #1




    Strange and mysterious things happen in the Sun's Corona. Indeed, according to our current theories the Corona shouldn't even exist. The "Solar Atmosphere" should taper to a near perfect vacuum a few thousand Km. above the Photosphere. These mysterious events involve changing magnetic fields, and indeed even the magnetic fields ought not exist. There is a theory to explain the presense of the fields, called the dynamo theory, and another to explain the strange activity, called magnetic reconnection, but they have all the aspects of "made to fit the circumstances" ad-hoc theories, while a dynamo model has been made in the laboratory there is no convincing reason to suppose the model applies in Nature. I've worked with Electrical Machinery and a dynamo is not an easy item to make, even an inefficient one.

    As for the magnetic reconnection theory, it would make a very poor brother-in-law. It was proposed in the early 60's and hasn't worked a day in forty years.

    More years ago than I care to remember I made a certain speculation about the nature of Solar Activity. I followed a very clear, simple line of reasoning that said it involved another form of Matter than what we are used to dealing with. But I was not able to figure out how this idea might be made to work, so I went on to other things. Then one nice afternoon in September I opened the evening paper to see the first picture up top, in grainy black and white, of course.

    And I knew the minute I looked at it that not only was my reasoning valid, but that it was possible to make the ideas work. For I saw that the larger structures were made of smaller ones, and the smaller ones showed a very regular size and spacing. That could only mean one thing, that this kind of matter had a spectrum, and that was why it would be possible to make equations behave sensibly.

    I should say that I am not the first person to think that such a form of matter might exist, to my knowledge that would be Eugene Wigner in a small paper on Symmetry in Quantum Mechanics. Nor would I be the first to link it to a physical problem, that would be Phillip Anderson, who applied it to Ferromagnetism. And indeed it is magnetism we are concerned with here.

    This isn't the mysterious putative Dark Matter that has been unsuccesfully looked for, nor is the the Shadow Matter of SuperSymmetry, but it is invisble except when it interacts with the matter we are accustomed to. So for my own purposes I've stolen the name and call it Shadow Matter, or s-matter.

    This isn't some far fetched complicated idea, in fact it simply represents the third possibility which comes from Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity. So by invoking it we have just "completed the set" so to speak.

    A line of reasoning. All solar activity involves magnetic fields. Now what is a magnetic field? It is the curl of the vector potential. Now the curl is a space-like operator and the vector potential expressed the variation of quantum mechanical phase of a charged particle with position, so a magnetic field is just something in space, it has no time varying parts. Now let us suppose that solar activity involves another type of field, what would it's properties be? It would almost surely be purely spacelike too. The simplest possibility is matter that just has "rest momentum" (wavenumber) in the way that ordinary matter has rest energy (frequency). And that is the possibilty I took.

    I can hear a loud chorus saying "How can a particle with momentum be at rest", but remember a particle propagates at the group velocity, which means it has to be represented by a wavegroup with a dispersion of momentum and energy to propagate freely. So a particle with just momentum, and no dispersion can be considered to be at rest.

    And another chorus saying "That's like the Higgs particle". Well, yes and no. I think we will be dealing with whole families of states, like the Hadrons and Leptons, with all sorts of different spins and couplings. And another very important difference is that the states have very small momenta, i.e. very long wavelengths.

    Now we have three kinds of matter, timelike matter, t-matter, with a timelike variation of QM phase, i.e. rest energy, lightlike l-matter, and spacelike, s-matter. Our collection is complete.

    And the more I studied the situation the more cases I could see where s-matter might be involved, like the magnificent rings in the second picture. I tell you it's quite a shock when you realize that Quasars, Ball Lightning and Planetary Nebulae may be basically the same phenomenon, only varying in size and duration. Or when you find that there are all sorts of ring like objects around, usually called by different names, but when you look at them with a fresh eye you see that they are all the same, too.

    Well, enough for now. I will add some more later, including a description of an experiment to look for ring like objects.
    Last edited: May 16, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2003 #2
    Did someone lose a ring?

    If you lost a thousand dollar diamond ring you would probably go to an equipment rental place and rent an industrial grade metal detector. I'm going to describe another detector for another kind of ring.

    A couple of years ago I remember a report on the evening radio newscast about a large crowd at a Southern California beach, I think it was Pismo, seeing a "large circle of flashing lights". A couple of days later in the afternoon paper I read about a Utah farm family which woke up around midnight to loud crackling and popping noises. When they looked out the window they saw flashes in the distance. When they went out the next morning to check they found that an almost circular ring had been burned into the ground around a small wire fence corral. I have no reason to disbeleive either report, nor any reason to suppose that "little green men" are involved. I think it is a purely natural phenomenon involving a smaller relative of the rings in the second picture above.

    Enter another kind of "flashing light". Occasionally after a lightning stroke a kind of "fireball" will appear. It may give off a steady glow and suddenly expire, it may change in color and intensity in a periodic way, it may be oval or spherical or toroidal in shape, and it tends to move somewhat erratically. It is generally known as Ball Lightning (Der Kugelblitz) and if you put that into Google or MSN search you can read many interesting reports.

    Many attempts have been made to explain BL as some kind of electromagnetic interaction with the atmoshpere, but without success, and no labratory experiment based on that assumption has duplicated it. On the other hand if it were just EM interaction we should expect to see it produced prolifically, even multiply, on every stroke. I think a much more realistic possiblity is that the lightning bolt interacts with something in the environment, something that is scarce, and in some way energizes it so that when it dischages it stored energy into the atmosphere we see it as a glowing object of short duration.

    We're going to introduce the assumption (no progress can be made without some assumptions) that such rings as were sighted at the beach are not that uncommon in the space around Earth, but that it is uncommon to find them in an energized state. Now I said before that such rings, of various sizes have been observed many times in Nature. The planet Jupiter has a Magnetic Torus, the rings of SN1987a in the second picture, the Milky Way has rings called the North and South Polar Spurs. They are often called "flux tubes" because of their measurable magnetic fields.

    So how might we detect such a rings? We would try to energize it. However we need not energize enough to make it glow, just enough to detect it with a suitable instrument, by making a sort of "artificial lightning bolt". Not an atmospheric discharge, but using a good conductor.

    What you need for this apparatus:

    A couple of lenths of heavy duty transmitting coaxial cable, maybe 5cm in diameter.

    Three telephone poles, preferably fiberglass so as not to absorb moisture.

    A large discharge capacitor, and heavy duty too.

    Make two loops of coax between the poles, connecting the outer and inner conductors at the bottom at the middle pole. The loops should be 5-10 meters square. Arrange to discharge the capacitor, using a snubbing resistor, into the outer conductors at the other ends of the loops. And hook up differential detectors for voltage and current to the inner conductors, and route them to a well shielded box containing recording equipment. In other words we've described a bridge unbalance detector for magnetizable objects. If you can discharge every 30 seconds that would be one million events in a year, with 5% downtime. If you start to find a significant number of unbalance events you might want to add a camera to be used at night to detect any "glowing objects".

    So for a fairly modest outlay you may be able to open a new era in Physics. I hope you find your ring!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2003
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