1. PLASMA UNIVERSE
All cosmological models can be broadly grouped into three main catagories depending
on how they view the distribution of matter in space and over time.
1. Steady State models. These models have difficulty explaining the receding
galaxies. They are forced to either deny recession, ie the universe is static or
invent mechanisms whereby matter is continually created to replace expanded
2. Big Bang models. These view the universe as finite in size growing from a
super-dense state that – if one goes back far enough, physics is unable to
explain. Its main downfall is its inability to explain the large-scale structures and
how they evolved among other things.
3. Evolutionary models. These posit an infinite universe, but unlike the steady
state models is constantly changing and forming new structures over time. The
most interesting being the PLASMA UNIVERSE and the one I want to explain
2. What in essence is the Plasma universe?
The first two models already mentioned view the force of gravity as the most important
agent shaping the universe. However, the plasma model stresses the importance of
ELECTRO-MAGNETISM acting in concert with gravity.
What exactly is electro-magnetism?
Firsty, the ‘electro’ bit refers to an electric current ie the flow of electrons and/or ions. As
electrons/ions move they create a magnetic field at right angles (as of a SOLENOID).
How Solenoids Work
Inside a solenoid is motor wire coiled in a special way (see image above). When you send an electric current through
this wire (energized), a magnetic field is created. The inner shaft of a solenoid is a piston like cylinder made of iron or
steel, called the plunger or slug (equivalent to an armature). The magnetic field then applies a force to this plunger,
either attracting or repeling it. When the magnetic field is turned off, a spring then returns the plunger to its original
state (see image below).
3. What other features does electro-magnetism exhibit? There are two other
important features exhibited.
1. A changing electric current over time or direction changes the magnetic field as well.
The effect is to give off electro-magnetic radiation. This will become important in
discussing background microwave radiation.
2. The second feature is electro-magnetism’s relation to motion. If an electric current
acts at right angles to a magnetic field then in the third direction MOTION is induced.
Conversely, if a conductor moves at right angles to a magnetic field it will induce a
current. As of a DYNAMO.
The simplest of all the dynamos is the disk dynamo developed by Michael Faraday (1791-1867). It consists of a
copper disk mounted so that part of the disk, from the center to the edge, is between the poles of a horseshoe
When you start to rotate the disk electrons start to move from the center of the disk to the edge of the disk and you
obtain an electrical current. The flow of electrons is possible because in metals (not unlike in a plasma) electrons are
not bound to the atoms and can move around freely. This way of generating electric currents is based on a physical
principal called electromagnetic induction. This principle states that if a conductor (here the rotating disc) moves
through a magnetic field (here provided by the horseshoe magnet) a electric current is obtained. The law of
electromagnetic induction is often referred to as Faraday's law.
However, there exists another physical principal, which says that moving electrons, i.e. electrical currents, generate
magnetic fields. Physicists call this Ampere's law after the French physicist Andre Marie Ampere (1775-1836).
Therefore, the above disk dynamo, does not only generate electric currents but also some magnetic field. As we can
see electric currents and magnetic fields are very closely related. Simply speaking we can say that electric currents
generate magnetic fields and vice versa that magnetic fields generate electrical currents.
The dynamo described here is the simplest possible electric generator that can be constructed. In a real world such a
dynamo might provide the electricity for the lights on your bike. The dynamos in power stations are much more
complicated machines but they still work in exactly the same way as the one described above.
4. If an electric current can travel through a solid eg wire or a liquid eg salt solution,
can a current travel through a gas?
Yes, provided the gas is in the form of charged particles eg electrons/ions. See
PLASMA BALL. This is a PLASMA. In fact, as well as conducting electricity the
electrons and ions MOVE UNDER ITS INFLUENCE leading to some interesting effects.
What kind of effects are produced by this?
Processes of filament formation. Filaments spin tighter together forming a vortex which
pinches matter together. Most of the matter in the universe is in the form of a plasma
whether it’s hot stars or dust or gas. These processes coupled with gravity can explain
the formation of galaxies.
What special features of galaxies are due to plasma effects?
A galaxy is a gigantic dynamo. It explains a number of features; 1. Spiral arms –
filaments 2. Galactic jets – blast material (ions) along magnetic field lines. Big Bang
theory usually explains these as matter ejected after being accelerated by ‘black holes’.
Now quite apart from the problematic existence of these things [black holes are
superdense stars where matter continues to collapse to an area of zero radius] stars
close to the centre don’t travel at much more than 2000km/s (only 0.67% the speed of
light) the normal speed of stars in our galaxy.
Instead of black holes electrons and ions concentrate at the centre due to electric
currents until they reach such a concentration that they SHORT CIRCUIT and flow out
the magnetic field lines.
5. Can this model of a galaxy explain the origin of the background radiation in the
form of microwaves?
Yes, instead of being the after-glow of radiation left over from the big bang, it is the
result of electrons giving off radiation as they spin around force-field lines. This
SYNCHOTRON RADIATION similar to that produced in a microwave oven is both
absorbed and scattered over billions of years until it appears smooth and isotrophic
(appearing to come from everywhere).
How are stars formed in this model of the galactic dynamo?
Stars begin to form from filaments within the galaxy by the same process as galaxy
formation; filamentation twisting and pinch effect. The main difference being that the
plasmas are more concentrated and hence stars form more quickly. More importantly
the first stars to form in a new galaxy tend to be the more massive. Massive stars burn
more quickly, ie in a few million years turning hydrogen into helium and blasting it out
into space. The significance of this process is the build-up of helium accounting for the
fact that it makes up 24% of matter and making it unecessary to invoke a big bang to
explain its abundance.
Can plasmas build up objects larger than galaxies?
Yes! What is more, if we plot the DENSITY ie MASS/RADIUS-CUBED objects become
proportionally less dense as they get bigger. This phenomenon is called the de
Vaucouleur density for which the Big Bang theorists have no explanation. If the density
of these objects fall, the escape velocity has an upper limit, in fact it is less than 1500
km/s (about 1% the speed of light). Plasma filaments also have a limiting speed of just
over 1000 km/s, if they travelled faster they would break up instead of condensing.
Hence larger filaments produce less dense objects right up to the scale of supercluster
filaments over 1 billion light years long.
How can Plasma theory explain the apparent expansion of the visible universe?
This has proved the hardest evidence for the Big Bang theory and presents problems
for plasma effects. Plasmas on their own cannot explain it. However a complimentary
theory that involves GRAVITY, PLASMAS and ANTIMATTER has been put forward.It
must be pointed out however that this new model, the AMBIPLASMA theory has, unlike
up to now, been difficult to test experimentally.
6. What is anti-matter and how does it relate to this Ambiplasma theory?
Anti-matter is a real form of matter but has an opposite CHARGE. eg while an electron
has a negative charge a positron (anti-electron) has a positive charge, similarly an anti-
proton has a negative charge. The other important fact about anti-matter is that when it
meets its matter counterpart, both annihilate producing a burst of gamma rays. If trillions
of years ago our part of the universe were a very diffuse cloud made up of equal
amounts of matter and anti-matter were to slowly contract due to gravity, and if this
cloud existed in the form of charged ie electrons and positrons, protons and anti-protons
embedded in a magnetic field: these four particles would tend to separate out into
different regions. These separate regions of matter/anti-matter will grow over time.
How do these Separate Matter / Anti-Matter regions create the observed
expansion of the visible universe?
In a very diffuse cloud when regions of matter and anti-matter come close together they
don’t annihilate each other at once. Instead a small number of annihilations producing
radiation called a LEIDENFROST LAYER that acts as an insulating wall. However as
the contracting cloud reaches about 2 billion light years radius the interactions at the
boundary layer become so fierce they blast off whole regions containing both matter
and anti-matter. These in turn break up after cooling and condensing forming smaller
structures down to the size of galaxies Unlike the Big Bang model however these
explosions are more modest expelling matter at only 1/10th
the speed of light and
therefore not seriously destroying any internal structure. There is little in the way of
direct observational evidence or experimental evidence. However, this model relies on
materials and forces we know to exist, unlike the Big Bang theory we don’t have to
invent new forces or particles. WHAT IS MORE IT IS A MODEL THAT IS
CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND THEREFORE BOTH INFINATE IN EXTENT AND