Auroral Mystery Solved: Auroras Caused by Charged Particles

I’m not sure what discovery warrants the title of ‘mystery’, but it was accepted and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. I guess we have all become aware that ECMs research is ahead of its time, but to frame it beyond mysteries is a bit exorbitant.

I am pretty sure all or most of you have been aware of my research on charged particles going as far back as 1998 when I published my first Equation. To think of this finding as new or mysterious, is well, mysterious.

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Equation:
Sunspots → Solar Flares (charged particles) → Magnetic Field Shift → Shifting Ocean and Jet Stream Currents → Extreme Weather and Human Disruption (mitch battros 1998).

For years, scientists have contemplated what triggers the formation of auroral substorms and the sudden bursts of brightness. Appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the current study overthrows existing theories about the mechanism behind this phenomenon.

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Auroras are dimly present throughout the night in polar regions, but sometimes these lights explode in brightness. Now Japanese scientists have unlocked the mystery behind this spectacle, known as auroral breakup.

Now Japanese scientists from the Kyoto-Kyushu research team has revealed that hot charged particles, or plasma, gather in near-Earth space just above the upper atmosphere of the polar region. This makes the plasma rotate creating a sudden electrical current above the polar regions.

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“This isn’t like anything that us space physicists had in mind,” said study author Yusuke Ebihara of Kyoto University….. ‘Okay, if you say so’. (writers satirical comment) Ebihara based the study on a supercomputer simulation program developed by Takashi Tanaka, professor emeritus at Kyushu University.

Auroras originate from plasma from the Sun, known as the solar wind. In the 1970s, scientists discovered that when this plasma approaches the Earth together with magnetic fields, it triggers a change in the Earth’s magnetic field lines on the dayside, and then on the night side. This information alone couldn’t explain how the fluttering lights emerge in the sky, however.

Scientists had come up with theories for separate parts of the process. Some suggested that acceleration of plasma from the reconnection of magnetic field lines caused auroral breakup. Others argued that the electrical current running near the Earth diverts a part of the electrical current into the ionosphere for some unknown reason, triggering the bright bursts of light. This theory was widely accepted because it offered an explanation for why upward-flowing currents emerged out of our planet. But the pieces of the puzzle didn’t quite fit well together.

Tanaka’s supercomputer simulation program, on the other hand, offers a logical explanation from start to finish.

“Previous theories tried to explain individual mechanisms like the reconnection of the magnetic field lines and the diversion of electrical currents, but there were contradictions when trying to explain the phenomena in its entirety,” said Ebihara. “What we needed all along was to look at the bigger picture.”

The current paper builds on earlier work by Ebihara and Tanaka about how the bursts emerge. This explores the succeeding processes, namely how the process expands into a large scale breakup.

The research also has the potential to alleviate hazardous problems associated with auroral breakups that can seriously disrupt satellites and power grids.

James Hansen (Inventor of Global Warming) Embarrasses NASA

WASHINGTON (AP) – Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world’s only hope is drastic action.

James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the “dangerous level” for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth’s atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

“We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path,” Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. “This is the last chance.”

Hansen brought global warming home to the public in June 1988 during a Washington heat wave, telling a Senate hearing that global warming was already here. To mark the anniversary, he testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming where he was called a prophet, and addressed a luncheon at the National Press Club where he was called a hero by former Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Colo., who headed the 1988 hearing.

To cut emissions, Hansen said coal-fired power plants that don’t capture carbon dioxide emissions shouldn’t be used in the United States after 2025, and should be eliminated in the rest of the world by 2030. That carbon capture technology is still being developed and not yet cost efficient for power plants.

Burning fossil fuels like coal is the chief cause of man-made greenhouse gases. Hansen said the Earth’s atmosphere has got to get back to a level of 350 parts of carbon dioxide per million. Last month, it was 10% higher: 386.7 parts per million.

Hansen said he’ll testify on behalf of British protesters against new coal-fired power plants. Protesters have chained themselves to gates and equipment at sites of several proposed coal plants in England.

“The thing that I think is most important is to block coal-fired power plants,” Hansen told the luncheon. “I’m not yet at the point of chaining myself but we somehow have to draw attention to this.”

Frank Maisano, a spokesman for many U.S. utilities, including those trying to build new coal plants, said while Hansen has shown foresight as a scientist, his “stop them all approach is very simplistic” and shows that he is beyond his level of expertise.

The year of Hansen’s original testimony was the world’s hottest year on record. Since then, 14 years have been hotter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Two decades later, Hansen spent his time on the question of whether it’s too late to do anything about it. His answer: There’s still time to stop the worst, but not much time.
“We see a tipping point occurring right before our eyes,” Hansen told the AP before the luncheon. “The Arctic is the first tipping point and it’s occurring exactly the way we said it would.”

Hansen, echoing work by other scientists, said that in five to 10 years, the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer.

Longtime global warming skeptic Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., citing a recent poll, said in a statement, “Hansen, (former Vice President) Gore and the media have been trumpeting man-made climate doom since the 1980s. But Americans are not buying it.”

But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., committee chairman, said, “Dr. Hansen was right. Twenty years later, we recognize him as a climate prophet.”

Tom C. Van Flandern (1940 – 2009) “Exploded Planet Hypothesis” 

Dr. Thomas Charles Van Flandern, an expert in celestial mechanics and cosmology, died January 9, 2009 in Seattle, Washington, of colon cancer. He was 68. Van Flandern was an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1963 to 1983. He developed software to predict and analyze lunar occultations to improve lunar orbital and fundamental star catalog data. In later years he championed increasingly controversial theories. But his 1978 prediction that some asteroids have natural satellites, which was almost universally rejected, was verified when the Galileo spacecraft photographed Dactyl, a satellite of (243) Ida, during its flyby in 1993. Besides astronomy and computers, he had strong interests in biochemistry and nutrition, and he ran a business selling personal computers in the 1980s.

Tom Van Flandern was born June 26, 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio, the first child of Robert F. Van Flandern and Anna Mary Haley. His father, a police officer, left the family when Tom Van Flandern was 5. His mother died when he was 16; he and his siblings then lived with their grandmother, Margery Jobe, until he went to college.

Tom Van Flandern became interested in astronomy as a child. He used his first telescope, purchased with newspaper delivery earnings, to observe lunar occultations, and then learned how to predict them, sparking a life-long passion for dynamical astronomy. While attending St. Ignatius High School, Van Flandern and fellow student Thomas Petrie organized the Cleveland Moonwatch team to observe the first artificial satellites, the only team without an adult organizer.

In 1958, Tom Van Flandern entered Xavier University where he led the Cincinnati Moonwatch team. He learned computer programming at a summer job with General Electric and wrote software to calculate “look angles” from orbital elements. The Cincinnati team became a top producer of observations using these predictions. Tom obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Xavier in 1962. He spent the next year at Georgetown University studying astronomy.

On July 6, 1963, Tom Van Flandern married Barbara Ann Weber in Kentucky. They remained together until his passing 46 years later. They had four children, Michael, Constance, Brian, and Kevin. Also in 1963, Tom began work in the Nautical Almanac Office of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC. He became an expert on refining the lunar orbit from timings of lunar occultations, then the best observations for that purpose. He encouraged observations by providing observers with predictions of occultations for their locations. He designed a cable system connecting all observers timing a grazing occultation, to record their observations at a central station. After a 1964 success, four amateur astronomical societies built similar cable systems.

Tom Van Flandern relished efforts to simplify computer calculations. He and Henry Fliegel developed an algorithm to calculate a Julian date from a Gregorian date that would fit on a single IBM card. They published this in a paper, “A machine algorithm for processing calendar dates” in 1968 in the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. This was used in countless business applications worldwide. With Kenneth Pulkkinen, he published “Low precision formulae for planetary positions”, in Ap. J. Supp. in 1979. The paper set a record for the number of reprints requested from that journal.

Tom Van Flandern earned a PhD in astronomy from Yale University in 1969. His thesis was “A discussion of 1950-1968 occultations of stars by the Moon”, advised by Prof. G. M. Clemence. In 1976 Van Flandern asserted that the orbits of 60 long-period comets traced to a common origin, supporting Michael Ovenden’s exploded planet hypothesis.

He founded the non-profit Meta Research, Inc. in 1990 to provide support for alternative theories in astronomy. The Meta Research Bulletin reported the newest discoveries and how they presented difficulties to accepted astronomical theories, such as the Big Bang and planetary formation. The Bulletin claimed mainstream scientists preferred making ad hoc corrections to the theories rather than acknowledge fundamental difficulties that might jeopardize their funding.

Tom Van Flandern’s advocacy of an artificial origin for the “face on Mars”, especially after higher-resolution images were taken in 2001, antagonized many. His questioning of the speed of gravity, first published in a 1998 paper in Physics Letters A, provoked additional attacks from relativists. He showed the same persistence with these controversies that had enabled him to solve complex programming and celestial mechanics problems.

Tom Van Flandern did not reject General Relativity as some have asserted, but rather rejected its geometrical interpretation. He said: “General relativity has a geometric and a field interpretation. If angular momentum conservation is invoked in the geometric interpretation to explain experiments, the causality principle is violated. The field interpretation avoids this problem by allowing faster-than-light propagation in forward time.” Tom Van Flandern strongly attacked some alternative theories, such as Velikovsky’s ideas of recent planetary close approaches, turning one of Velikovsky’s supporters, C. L. Ellenberger, into a strong critic.

If not for these antagonisms, the “mainstream” part of Tom Van Flandern’s work in later years might be better acknowledged, including his “Eclipse Edge” company that organized expeditions to several solar eclipses, and his work with E. Lyytinen on the passage of Earth through cometary debris trails. Their prediction was closest to the observed time of the Leonid storm maximum of November 2001.

Tom Van Flandern held memberships in the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society (and in its Divisions on Dynamical Astronomy and Planetary Sciences), and several other scientific organizations. He received second prize from the Gravity Research Foundation in 1974 and the Astronomy Award from the Washington Academy of Sciences in 2000. An asteroid, (52266) 1986 AD, was named “Van Flandern” in his memory on February 9, 2009.

Tom Van Flandern’s survivors include his wife, Barbara; his brother William; and his four children. He was buried in Sequim, Washington, near his last home. His inquisitive mind, unshakable integrity, and boundless enthusiasm are remembered fondly by his friends and colleagues. He left behind a valuable legacy of astronomical work.