Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Modern Myth

Before the advent of the nuclear age, scientists pondered the origins of the Sun’s tremendous expenditure of heat and light. Many ideas were advanced; none were universally accepted. Most shrugged their intellectual shoulders, saying that the source of the Sun’s fire was yet a mystery.

With the advent of the atomic bomb, science felt they had their answer. Physicists and astronomers advanced the idea — and the public accepted it — that the Sun was fired by the same fuel as the weapon that won the war in the Pacific, the atom. The logic was rather compelling, too, when one considered the prodigious amount of energy released in an atomic bomb. Everyone saw the awesome size and power of a nuclear detonation thanks to another, new, post-war invention — television. We were regaled with seemingly endless news reports and documentaries regarding the unthinkable devastation that awaited us if the two superpowers of the Cold War ever had the temerity and foolhardiness to employ those weapons.

Thus, the theory became fact. Nuclear fission, and later fusion, was thought to be responsible for the vast amounts of energy that the Sun radiated. Only nuclear processes, it was reasoned, could release that much energy from matter in order to power the Sun for millions of years.

Then we entered the space age. Ever more sophisticated equipment was employed to probe the workings of the Sun. Unmanned space probes were launched toward the Sun in an ongoing effort to understand it. Ironically, the more they learned, the less the data fit with their nuclear model.

The temperature problem

The first problem was discovered when they took the Sun’s temperature, so to speak.

The nuclear model of the Sun predicted that the atomic fires at its center were the hottest, that the heat and pressure at the Sun’s core were ideal for supporting nuclear fusion and fission. Moving away from the active core, they hypothesized, the temperature would gradually drop until, at the surface, it would be relatively cool, certainly cooler than the center.

What they learned surprised everyone. The sun was much cooler, relatively speaking, at the center than at the surface. Indeed, the hottest spot was above the surface, in the corona. That is, the point of greatest heat and light was not within the Sun or even on the surface. It was located high above the surface in what can be characterized as the Sun’s atmosphere.

How could that be? What could cause a nuclear-fired star like our Sun to have such anomalous heat characteristics? It was like finding that a wood stove was hottest outside rather than inside where the fire burned. The newly acquired data did not fit the model of a nuclear-powered Sun. Something was clearly wrong.

No one really seemed interested in doubting the theory, however. Rather than question the nuclear nature of the Sun, scientists sought for another explanation that might reconcile the data with the nuclear engine theory of the Sun.

Several ad hoc explanations were ginned up to explain the anomalous temperature readings within the context of the nuclear Sun theory, most of them so convoluted that the individual of average intelligence and education was unable to dispute them, much less follow the logic.

Neutrinos, neutrinos everywhere

Then there is the neutrino problem.

Neutrinos are highly energetic subatomic particles emitted by nuclear reactions. They are hard to detect because they have no electrical charge or apparent mass, and they pass easily through matter. They are ubiquitous in space. Physicists theorize that neutrinos are ejected from stars because the stars, like our Sun, are fired by nuclear reactions. We are bombarded by neutrinos from those stars every day of our lives, but they go unnoticed because they pass through us as easily as light passes through a pane of glass. Indeed, most neutrinos are so energetic that they can pass easily through anything on the Earth’s surface — walls, cars, buildings, whatever.

Scientists believed that our star, the Sun, ought to emit a huge number of neutrinos since — according to the current theory of its workings — it generates its power by a nuclear fission reaction. Scientists knew from practical experience with the atomic bomb that neutrinos are the automatic byproducts of such reactions.

An experiment was devised in order to test the theory by counting the most energetic neutrinos — those emitted by the closest star, our Sun. Of course, if you wish to sample only those neutrinos from the Sun, then you must have a way to screen out the constant rain of cosmic rays from space that would interfere with any such detection. Physicists determined that the only way they could “see” neutrinos from our sun was to go deep into an existing mine where the less energetic particles from space would have been slowed or stopped after passing a considerable distance through Earth’s crust, while more energetic neutrinos from our neighboring star would still reach their detection equipment deep within the Earth. Using sophisticated devices, they would be able to detect the most energetic neutrinos of all, those that come from our Sun.

Nuclear physicists expected to find copious numbers of neutrinos in their experiment, thus confirming their nuclear engine theory for the Sun. They were stunned to discover that the opposite was true. Instead of detecting numerous neutrinos, as should have been the case according to their theories, they “saw” almost none. How could this be?

As with the temperature problem they refused to follow the Occam’s Razor principle: The simplest explanation is probably the correct one. They could not bring themselves to question their elegant thermonuclear theories. Once again, scientists conjured up numerous ad hoc theories to explain still more data that contradicted their model of a nuclear Sun, including new categories of neutrinos that came in various “flavors.”

These and other anomalies too esoteric to discuss here point away from the theory of the Sun as a nuclear engine. Instead, they point to the Sun as an electromagnetic engine.

The light goes on

Consider this possibility: We may live in an electric universe, the only other form of energy known to have enough power to light the Sun. The galaxies may be lit, ordered and shaped by electrical energy, the stars within them powered by electricity. The Earth we live on, indeed all the planets and moons in our solar system, may be immersed in, defined and regulated by electromagnetic fields.

Many scholars and maverick scientists have speculated recently that such may be the case. They point out that the Sun may operate like a negatively charge body accumulating additional charge from the environment it moves through, then divesting itself of that energy by discharging like a great cathode in space. (The cathode in your television set does just that to light up the screen.) This accumulated charge is released in a constant discharge, creating light and heat, in a process somewhat analogous to that in a fluorescent light bulb.

It fits the observed data

This would explain the lack of neutrinos from the Sun. They would be incidental to an electric Sun, not primary as in a nuclear Sun. It would also explain the temperature anomaly. The active, energetic area, the corona or photosphere, would be the hottest, with the surface of the Sun and the interior registering progressively cooler relative temperatures. Of course, this is exactly what astrophysicists observed when they took the Sun’s temperature.

Once again, Velikovsky was the first to speculate that in past catastrophic near collisions, the complex but powerful electromagnetic forces brought to bear by planets closing on one another generated colossal interplanetary effects such as interplanetary lightning, disturbed rotation, massive inductive heating and numerous other secondary, electrical phenomena. How could a passing planet slow and stop the Earth’s rotation, then restart it again, if planets are electrically neutral? Forces other than gravity must have been at work. (Remember that Mormon wrote in Helaman that the Earth stops and even reverses rotation for a short time.) These assertions suggest that the true nature of the universe, and the Sun specifically, is electrical.

Learning from our own experience

It is ironic that a half-century of nuclear experimentation has failed to yield the abundance of power for the use of mankind that science originally promised. Except as a devastating weapon of war, the nuclear genie has little magic. Nuclear power generation is a dismal failure due to its lethality, as we learned at Chernobyl. Nuclear fission provides only a miniscule about of energy worldwide for that very reason. Nuclear fusion, the counterpart of fission, that once seemed to hold such promise as an abundant energy source, is still a costly, ephemeral, theoretical dream.

Could it be that this eventuality has a lesson for us in our view of the Sun’s fires?

On the other hand, ever since Nikola Tesla invented the polyphase, alternating current electrical system we use today, the world has been powered and lit by electricity. Together with the internal combustion engine, electricity has revolutionized our world. It has become so much a part of our existence that it is hard to imagine life without electricity to do our bidding. Yet, we still understand little of its nature or its workings. Like our ancestors who learned to use fire without understanding its nature, we have partially harnessed the energy of the cosmos with almost no understanding of it. Like light and gravity, electricity remains largely a mystery to us.

Is it merely a coincidence that we have employed electrical power so readily and effectively while nuclear power has faltered? Might it be that this is an indication of the true relative importance of the two in the universe?

The implications in such an idea are both staggering and stimulating. If true, it may explain gravity as an electromagnetic effect rather than strictly one of mass. The study of superconductors promises remarkable discoveries in the near future about the nature of electricity and the relationship between gravity, magnetism and electrical currents.

It suggests that humans, living in an extremely low frequency (ELF) electrical environment such as that on the Earth, are primarily electrical creatures rather than chemical, as modern medicine teaches. Dr. Robert Becker tried to open our eyes to this possibility years ago in his book, The Body Electric.

Perhaps most interesting of all, some form of electromagnetic levitation could explain how the ancients all around the world succeeded in moving massive stones over great distances to construct their ancient sacred temples and monuments — a technology that we will likely employ ourselves one day when we unlock the secrets to our electrical universe.

© Anthony E. Larson, 1999

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