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A Galactic glitch

Filed under: — rasmus @ 10 March 2008

Knud Jahnke and Rasmus Benestad

After having watched a new documentary called the ‘Cloud Mystery’ – and especially the bit about the galaxy (approximately 2 – 4 minutes into the linked video clip) – we realised that a very interesting point has been missed in earlier discussions about ‘climate, galactic cosmic rays and the evolution of the Milky Way galaxy.

It is claimed in ‘The Cloud Mystery’, the book ‘The Chilling Stars’, and related articles that our solar system takes about 250 million years to circle the Milky Way galaxy and that our solar system crosses one of the spiral arms about every ~150 million years (Shaviv 2003).

But is this true? Most likely not. As we will discuss below, this claim is seriously at odds with astrophysical data.

Here is a little background on the Milky Way: The arms of spiral galaxies are not constant entities in time. They are results of gravitational instabilities in the disk or are induced by external companions. These instabilities are moving mass ‘overdensities’ containing old stars and gas, but also newly formed stars recently created from local collapse of the overdense gas.

Arms move around a spiral galaxy with a pattern speed that is defined by the mass distribution. This pattern speed differs from the motion of individual stars, just like the speed of an ocean wave differs from the movement of water particles. Estimating the pattern speed is difficult, as it is not coupled to the motion of individual stars but can only be inferred indirectly. For this reason it has not yet been reliably measured for our Milky Way – unlike for some other spiral galaxies, for which our clear and unobstructed view from the outside allows an estimate.

So how did Shaviv come up with this number?

Measuring the rotational velocity of stars in the Milky Way disk or other spiral galaxies is straightforward. The rotation is not rigid, but depends on the encircled mass inside the orbit of a star, including the Dark Matter, a yet unknown but solidly established source of gravitational attraction. It is easy and a standard technique to measure rotation curves of galaxies as a function of radius, and this is also possible for the Milky Way.

The two different rotating velocities of arms and stars have a different radial dependence – to first order the arms get preserved as entities while the stars further out have much smaller angular velocities than stars further inside – so the relative velocity of a star with respect to the nearest spiral arm will depend on its distance from the centre of the galaxy. At a certain radius, the radius of co-rotation, the two velocities are identical and a star at this radius has zero relative velocity with respect to the spiral arm pattern. It stays “forever” in the same spiral arm – or outside of it.

What are the best estimates for the relative velocity of the Sun with respect to the spiral arm pattern of the Milky Way? As mentioned, the pattern speed of the spiral arm in the Milky Way has not been firmly established.

When investigating other spiral galaxies, however, it was found that almost independently of the wide range of possible assumptions on which the pattern speed estimate was based, the radius of co-rotation follows a simple law: rcorot=r0 * (3.0 +/- 0.5), where r0 is the scale length of the exponential disk of the galaxy (the surface brightness of spiral galaxies drops very close to exponentially from the center to the outside, setting a characteristic size scale). This was measured by Kranz et al. 2003.

Since the Milky Way is a completely normal spiral galaxy, we can apply this result to it. The scale length of the Milky Way disk has recent estimates ranging from 2.6 kilo-parsec (kpc, 1pc=3.3 light years) from the SDSS survey (Juric et al. 2008), through 2.8 kpc (Ohja 2001) to 3.5 kpc (Larsen & Humphreys 2003).

We also know the Sun’s distance to the galactic center well, 7.9 +/- 0.4 kpc (Eisenhauer et al. 2003), which means that the range of values for rcorot=9.1 +/- 1.9kpc. In other words, from this calculation the co-rotation radius of the Milky Way is between 7 and 11 kpc, and at 8 kpc our Sun is close to or at the radius of co-rotation. It almost certainly is not 6 kpc further inside, as Shaviv (2003) claims.

Shaviv (2003) lists in his Table 3 a number of values for the pattern speed of the spiral arms, taking from publications ranging from 1969 to 2001, two years before his article. In these papers the derived relative motion of the Sun relative to the arms ranges from Omegarel=+13.5 km/s/kpc to -4km/s/kpc, and includes estimates that are close to zero (-4km/s/kpc < than Omegarel < +7), i.e. a location near the radius of co-rotation in the majority of the publications, and most of the more recent ones. However, he selectively disregards most of these results.

If we add the above evidence that the radius of co-rotation lies at 9kpc distance and not further out, and convert this to relative velocities, e.g. by using the Milky Way rotation curve by Merrifield 1992, we obtain Omegarel =+3.2 km/s/kpc with an error range from -2.5 to +7.1km/s/kpc, and including zero. Shaviv’s derived “period for spiral arm crossing” of p=134 +/- 25Myr for four spiral arms is well outside the range derived from these values.

So it seems that Shaviv’s “periodicity” estimate for crossing of spiral arms by the sun does not hold up under scrutiny when using current astronomical results as the work by Kranz et al. This comes in addition to the previously shown fact that the correlation of cosmic ray flux with paleoclimatic data proposed by Shaviv and Veizer (2003) only arises “by making several arbitrary adjustments to the cosmic ray data” (Rahmstorf et al. 2004).

Note also that the question of current climate change is quite another matter from that over time scales of many millions of years – despite Shaviv’s remarkable press-release claims that “The operative significance of our research is that a significant reduction of the release of greenhouse gases will not significantly lower the global temperature”. As we repeatedly pointed out over the years: that global warming over the past decades is not linked to cosmic rays is clear from the fact that the cosmic ray measurements over the past 50 years do not show any trend (Schiermeier 2007).

Remarkably, the poor scientific basis of the galactic cosmic ray hypothesis seems to be inversely related to the amount of media backing it is getting. At least 3 documentaries (‘The Climate Conflict’, the ‘Global Warming Swindle’, and now ‘The Cloud Mystery‘) have been shown on television – all with a strong thrust of wanting to cast doubt on the human causes of global warming.

References:

Eisenhauer et al. 2003, ApJ, 597, 121; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003ApJ…597L.121E

Kranz et al. 2003, ApJ, 586, 143; http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/367551

Juric et al. 2008, ApJ, 673, 864; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008ApJ…673..864J

Larsen & Humphreys 2003, AJ, 125,1958; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003AJ….125.1958L

Merrifield 1992, AJ, 103, 1552; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1992AJ….103.1552M

Ohja 2001, MNRAS, 322, 426; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2001MNRAS.322..426O

Rahmstorf, S., et al., 2004: Cosmic rays, carbon dioxide and climate. Eos, 85(4), 38, 41.

Schiermeier, Q., No solar hiding place for greenhouse skeptics. Nature, 2007. 448: p. 8-9.

Shaviv, N., 2003, NewA, 8, 39; http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003NewA….8…39S

Shaviv, N. and J. Veizer, Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate? GSA Today, 2003. 13(7): p. 4-10.

378 Responses to “A Galactic glitch”

  1. 51

    gusbob says:

    [[First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.]]

    Because we’re not dealing with “gravit[y] alone.” There’s photon pressure.

    [[Second why does the temperature beginning at the photosphere,5800K , drop in the chromosphere and then jump to over 1 million K in the corona. Shouldn’t we get cooler as we stand further from the fireplace.]]

    No, that’s simplistic. It depends on what the radiative balance of the corona is, and that isn’t well modeled at this time. But a hot corona is certainly not ruled out by distance. By that logic, temperature inversions should never happen in Earth’s atmosphere, and the ozone layer should have a positive lapse rate.

    [[And since you mention the neutrino, why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun?]]

    We aren’t. Your information on this appears to be obsolete (1960s or so). Neutrinos appear to switch type with time and that accounts for the missing neutrinos.]]

  2. 52
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gusbob,
    What you fail to realize is that electromagnetic forces are important in stellar dynamics–there’s just no way they can explain the energy generation of stars. And it is the nuclear forces that drive the plasma that is responsible for the electromagnetic interactions–not the other way around.
    As to neutrinos, why would there be neutrinos at all unless there were nuclear interactions going on? And the missing neutrinos have been accounted for in terms of neutrino oscillations.

    Heating of the solar corona is likely due to magnetic recombination and wave heating–both of which have been observed occuring. In my opinion, magnetic recombination seems to be a strong candidate–as it becomes significant as a transport mechanism when the magnetic field lines extend far enough to have significant energy. BTW, the energy here is not huge–only about .0025% of TSI.
    As to the magnetic connection of Earth and the Sun, I’m not sure what you even mean. The Sun has a magnetic field as does Earth, it is not surprising that some of the field lines should connect. However, the energy exchange here is trivial. You are falling victin here to a common pitfall among interested laymen–you don’t want to do the math. If you did, you would quickly see that the “electric Universe” simply isn’t energetically viable–there is no energy source that can power the sun except fusion–and we know fusion is going on from the spectrum of neutrinos we receive here on Earth.

  3. 53
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #41 [gusbob] “why are we missing the predicted neutrinos postulated for a strictly nuclear sun?”

    I thought that had been resolved through the discovery that neutrinos can change type (electron neutrino / muon neutrino / tau neutrino), and the detectors were only picking up the electron neutrinos. Or are you saying there are still some missing?

  4. 54
    Richard Wakefield says:

    Re #23 “Papers on solar variability and cosmic-rays continue to surface even though many would prefer they go away from the climate variability debate.”

    Why??? What are you afraid of that you would wish ligitimate science to “go away”? This is what dogmatic orthodoxy does, not ligitimate science. If solar has an influence, major or minor, we MUST let science do it’s work!!

  5. 55
    Arch Stanton says:

    Barton Paul Levinson #49 wrote:

    [[If it has a nonzero orbital inclination, it would pass the galactic midplane exactly twice per orbit — once on the way down and once on the way up — at the descending and ascending “nodes,” respectively. For a galactic orbital period of 225 million years, that would be once every 113 million years. And Shaviv’s 250 MY (which I think is too high) => once in 125 MY, not 150.]]

    This is an interesting point. According to Svensmark (The Chilling Stars) the sun passes the midplane of the disc every ~34MY (a cycle period of ~68MY). Is it possible that the sun can “…dive through the midplane of the Milky Way Galaxy like a dolphin.” (Svensmark) independent of its galactic orbital cycle?

    Thanks.

  6. 56

    Re Barton #49:

    If it has a nonzero orbital inclination, it would pass the galactic midplane exactly twice per orbit — once on the way down and once on the way up — at the descending and ascending “nodes,” respectively. …

    Your intuition is based on the orbital dynamics of a small mass orbiting around a large point mass, e.g. the Earth around the sun. Unlike the solar system, much of the mass of the galaxy is smeared out across the disk. This gravitational potential function is far more complicated than the gravitational potential from a simple point mass, and leads to more complicated results. In particular, orbits do not close into simple ellipses and there is no expectation that as one completes one revolution that you will end up back where you started.

    Think of it this way, if you move above the disk, you aren’t merely being pulled back towards the center of the disk, but you are also being pulled vertically towards the portion of the disk nearest to you. In this way the potential for vertical oscillations is largely decoupled from the orbital motions around the center of the disk.

  7. 57
    Uli says:

    Re #49:
    Barton Paul Levenson, this would only hold, if the galactic mass would be spheric symmetric or concentrated in the center.
    Due to the massive disc the force on the sun is not in the direction to the galactic center but more towards the disc plane.

    Values of about 30Myr for the oscillation are from overestimated masses of the disc prior to recognizing a massive dark matter halo. A recent value, I cite
    “A by-product of this study is the determination of the half period of oscillation by the Sun through the Galactic plane, 42+/-2Myr …” from [1].

    Due to the small amplitude of this oscillation for the sun no remarkable effects are expected.

    [1] Vertical distribution of Galactic disk stars – III. The Galactic disk surface mass density from red clump giants
    O. Bienaymé, C. Soubiran, T. V. Mishenina, V. V. Kovtyukh, and A. Siebert
    Astronomy & Astrophysics 446 (3) 933 (2006)
    DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053538

  8. 58
    kevin says:

    gusbob’s comments made me curious enough to do some poking around and learn a bit about this “electric universe” idea. It seems to not work in its basic assumptions, for example it necessarily predicts a big influx of electrons going to the sun which is simply not there: (from http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainstream/28596-electric-universe-model-2.html)
    “In the case of the absence of evidence of electrons approaching the sun, this absence is compelling. It’s not just one, or even a few spaceraft, in a few choice locations. It’s literally dozens of spacecraft, scattered all over the solar system, but concentrated mostly at the equator. That’s why Thornhill changed his tune some years ago, pointing to the solar pole as the place where the electron influx would be, since he knows as well as anyone else does, that the absence of electrons in the equatorial plane is too severe to deal with. Granted Ulysses is only one spacecraft, but it has covered both solar poles twice now, and nary an inbound electron in sight. But the magnetic field is streched radially even at the pole, and does not show a polar cusp. There is only one way anyone knows to do that, a steady outbound flow of electrons (an inbound flow would bend the field in the opposite direction). So all of the evidence, for decades, and both particles & fields, clearly indicates an absence of incoming electrons. But more than that, the configurations of fields & particles that we actually obvserve constitute an intolerable conflict with the hypothesis that there is an incoming stream. For one thing, an incoming flow of electrons would either rip the solar wind apart, or be ripped apart by the solar wind (the bigger flow wins). The radial magnetic field can only be maintained by an outward flow of electrons. The electrons cannot have an “undetectable energy” for several, simultaneous spacecraft (you might pull that off for one, but not two or more at once).” (Tim Thompson)

    Also, proponents of this theory also posit that Saturn used to be the center of the solar system, and the Earth and all the other planets orbited it. Also, one site made frequent breathless mention of “the Light of Creation” which was exhaled by Yahweh. So, My impression at this point is that gusbob has hold of a superficially interesting idea that is at odds with physical observation and gets odder the deeper one digs.

    So gusbob, now that your neutrino question has received a few responses, allow me to pose a couple of questions to you: 1) Why are we unable to detect any influx of electrons to the sun, either equatorially or at the poles? 2) Did the planets orbit Saturn in the past?

  9. 59
    Nick says:

    So is the orginal blog going to be changed?

    It is claimed in ‘The Cloud Mystery’, the book ‘The Chilling Stars’, and related articles that our solar system takes about 250 million years to circle the Milky Way galaxy and that our solar system crosses one of the spiral arms about every ~150 million years (Shaviv 2003).

    But is this true? Most likely not. As we will discuss below, this claim is seriously at odds with astrophysical data.

    It clearly isn’t at odds with the data, since the logic ignores the inclination aspect to the suns movement.

    Given that this is wrong, the whole article falls.

    It’s also a pretty daft argument about climate change anyway. The timescales of current climate change are short, and these changes are of a different timescale.

  10. 60
    Jan Lindström says:

    you often claim on this website that there is no trend in cosmic radiation but as I understand it, isn’t it the modulation of cosmic rays from the sun that is worthwile to take a look into?

  11. 61
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Re Barton’s question in 49, I believe the answer is that stars don’t follow Keplerian orbits. Iirc, the trajectory is called a “rosette” and comprises a wacky, non-repeating curve around the galactic center, as various gravitational influences tug on it.

  12. 62
    aaron says:

    Rather than calculating where the earth was precisely throughout time, I thought Shaviv used metorites and other proxies to calculate the perodicity empirically. Like described in his papers.

  13. 63

    “Not even wrong”

    Delightful to rediscover Wolfgang Pauli’s comment: “That’s not right, it is not even wrong.”

    from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    “An apparently scientific argument is said to be not even wrong if it is based on assumptions that are known to be incorrect, or alternatively theories which cannot possibly be falsified or used to predict anything…Such theories are non-scientific, even when they are speaking in scientific language”

  14. 64
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #35 (Gary): “But I am hard pressed to figure out why if astrophysicists should not be commenting on climate, why climatologists (physicist for Rasmus) should be commenting on astrophysics?”

    Possibly because the climatologist co-authored this post with an astrophysicist specializing in galaxies? Could be! Physics is a very common degree type for climatologists, BTW.

    Re #10 (Walt): Re your feeling that there’s excessive debunking here lately, I would remind you that the very name of this blog suggests that there will be quite a lot of that. I haven’t noticed a major change in the proportions, BTW.

    Regarding articles by the authors on their own work, I think it’s been said that there’s a conscious effort to avoid doing too much of that. Since the realities of limited time mean that there’s no way this blog can comprehensively cover all of the important new developments in the science anyway, I don’t see the relative lack of self-referential material as being a particular problem. In case you didn’t know, if you follow the links to the personal web pages of the authors you’ll find that for the majority their papers are available to be read.

  15. 65
    Martin Vermeer says:

    gusbob writes:

    I find it easier to believe, and eventually prove or disprove, that the missing force results from electromagnetic interactions. The electromagnetic force is at least a trillion, trillion, trillion, times more powerful than gravity. Occam’s razor suggests to me, that a theory that incorporates electromagnetic forces is an easier explanation than creating a new form of matter that has not been observed and so far is impossible to observe.

    Where do I begin? I picked this one as the most obviously absurd to refute. How do you explain the rotation of the galaxy by electrostatic forces? It has to be an attractive force to do the job. Dark matter gravitation is. Electrostatic forces are repulsive between like charges, so we must have a distribution of opposite charges to do the job.

    The smaller problem here is to find a distribution of positive and negative charges that would produce the observed change in rotational behaviour: you won’t. The bigger problem is that the net electrostatic charges won’t stay put: as they attract each other, they will flow together (as in electric current; plenty of conductive plasma out there) and will annihilate each other on a very short notice.

    …and don’t even think of bringing up an electromagnetic explanation: we know how strong the galactic magnetic field is, by a variety of observation techniques. Not even close.

  16. 66
    Frank Lansner says:

    Interesting.
    The authers mentions ONE point from this film – i had the same thought when i saw the film, and i may agree about the galaxy argument.

    BUT BUT BUT:
    WHY IS THIS THE ONLY THING YOU MENTION??
    It is not at all the central point in the film, its just a little corner you for some reason chooses to focus on!
    Why do you not deal with the SUBSTANCE of their SPLENDID WORK??

    Are you afraid to touch the 99% of topics where they have made a very very good point?
    This theory explains practically ALL historic temperatures 1000 times better than the CO2 hypothesis.

    Please be objective, honest and scientific.

  17. 67
    Hank Roberts says:

    Google:
    +solar +”missing force” “electromagnetic interactions”

  18. 68
    Ralph says:

    gusbob:

    You are correct about one thing: it is much easier to disprove that electromagnetic effects are responsible for the rotation rate of the Galaxy than to understand the dark matter. The charge of the Sun is approximately known (planetary probes have measured the interplanetary magnetic and electric fields well). The field strength of the Galaxy is approximately known (by many methods, including studies of cosmic rays and the polarization of starlight). The resulting force of the charged Sun moving through the Galactic field, is infinitessimal compared to that of the gravitational force of the other stars, which itself is still only 10% or so of the force required to explain the rotation rate.

    Put another way, there are many observable consequences of charges or electromagnetic fields of the strength required to explain the rotation curve of the Galaxy. People have looked for these consequences and they have not just failed to find them — they have definitively shown their absence.

    Ergo, electromagnetic forces cannot be responsible.

  19. 69
    Ralph says:

    gusbob wrote:
    [First why does the solar wind accelerate away from the suns and past the planets. Gravitational theory alone suggests it should decelerate.]

    The solar wind is composed of subatomic particles. The solar magnetic field accelerates them as they move away from the Sun, because the magnetic forces are stronger than gravity on these particles. This process does not scale to larger objects though. The charge to mass ratio of an electron is enormous compared to a star or planet. Stars and planets are not appreciably accelerated by magnetic fields. This is both a firm theoretical result and an observed fact.

  20. 70

    Given that the transient ionizing radiation flux from short lived fission products raised the condensation track density in the downwind wake of above ground nuclear tests, one would expect those adducing cosmic ray modulation of climate to show off photos of contrails following fallout around the globe, and cloud cover indices spiking after major H-bomb tests

    I don’t see Fred Singer volunteering . Where are they ??

  21. 71
    Dodo says:

    Lynn at 13: “if a denialist crosses my path using this “galactic cosmic ray hypothesis,” I’ll just say I don’t have time for those kind of far-fetched hypotheses, but I know it’s been roundly refuted at RealClimate, and here is their webpage…”

    But you just said you didn’t even read the post, meaning you will believe anything with the RC seal of approval on it. A scientific attitude?

  22. 72
    William Astley says:

    Other authors appear to support Shaviv’s hypothesis. (The authors of this paper reference four spiral arms.)

    “Ice Age Epochs and the Sun’s Path Through the Galaxy” by D. R. Gies and J. W. Helsel

    Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University

    “We present a calculation of the Sun’s motion through the Milky Way Galaxy over the last 500 million years. The integration is based upon estimates of the Sun’s current position and speed from measurements with Hipparcos and upon a realistic model for the Galactic gravitational potential. We estimate the times of the Sun’s past spiral arm crossings for a range in assumed values of the spiral pattern angular speed.”

    “We find that for a difference between the mean solar and pattern speed of … the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long duration cold periods on Earth. This supports the idea that extended exposure to the higher cosmic ray flux associated with spiral arms can lead to increased cloud cover and long ice age epochs on Earth.”

    http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0503306

  23. 73
    Peter Erwin says:

    Nick @ 59:

    There’s nothing wrong with the blog post. Shaviv’s argument is that the flux of GCRs should increase when the Solar System is close to supernovae, and this should happen when the Sun passes through spiral arms, since that’s where you find the most supernovae. Shaviv argued for a particular value of the spiral arm pattern speed, such that the Sun would pass through spiral arms every 150 million years or so. Jahnke and Benestad argue that Shaviv has the wrong value for the spiral arm pattern speed (or, to put it another way, the wrong value of the corotation radius), and therefore the wrong periodicity for when the Sun passes through spiral arms.

    The Sun’s vertical oscillations are irrelevant to Shaviv’s argument, and to J & B’s counter-argument.

  24. 74
    Joel Shore says:

    Re #66 (Frank Lansner): RealClimate has already discussed the problems with the cosmic ray hypothesis a few times before. One of the posts is linked to in the first paragraph of this post. Also relevant to this is the Rahmstorf et al. 2004 paper that is linked to in the 3rd-to-last paragraph here.

    I think the point of this post was to note one additional failing that they had not previously discussed.

    Since your opinion that “this theory explains practically ALL historic temperatures 1000 times better than the CO2 hypothesis” does not seem to be shared by most of the experts in the field, perhaps it is you and not the authors of this post who are being less than “objective, honest and scientific” in evaluating the relative merits of these two explanations.

  25. 75
    Jim Galasyn says:

    At the risk of muddying the galactic waters further and veering further off-topic, what’s the general opinion of the Cooperstock-Tieu model?

    I personally find it ineluctably attractive to do away with dark matter in favor of relativistic effects.

  26. 76
    Petro says:

    Dodo ejects:

    “But you just said you didn’t even read the post, meaning you will believe anything with the RC seal of approval on it. A scientific attitude?”

    To date, natural sciencs form a large body of knowledge. An individual can study deeply only a minor part of it. On the subjects when there is simply not enough time to comprehend some topic, it is justified to take a stance established scientists has created with scientific method.

    How then distinguish a scientific blog? Well, avoiding trivial errors in math and statistics and basing argumentation in observations and logic is a good indication for a scientific attitude in blog.

  27. 77
    gusbob says:

    The neutrino problem and its “resolution” is a very good illustration of just how some confuse hypothetical evidence with reality.

    • Ray Ladbury Says: As to neutrinos, why would there be neutrinos at all unless there were nuclear interactions going on? And the missing neutrinos have been accounted for in terms of neutrino oscillations.

    Nick Gotts Says: I thought that had been resolved through the discovery that neutrinos can change type (electron neutrino / muon neutrino / tau neutrino), and the detectors were only picking up the electron neutrinos. Or are you saying there are still some missing?

    • Barton Paul Levenson Says: We aren’t. Your information on this appears to be obsolete (1960s or so). Neutrinos appear to switch type with time and that accounts for the missing neutrinos.]]

    RL you must have missed the post where I said electrical hypotheses support fusion. They just suggest that it is not due to gravitational confinement by electromagnetic z-pinch. And to generate neutrinos here on earth don’t we use particle accelerators created by electromagnetic forces?

    Three of you interpret the neutrino problem as resolved. Let me present my interpretation of the SNO conclusion and then we can compare realities vs possibilities.

    First a snippet of SNO’s announcement in 2001(not 1960):

    http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/sno/first_results/

    “We now have high confidence that the discrepancy is not caused by problems with the models of the Sun but by changes in the neutrinos themselves as they travel from the core of the Sun to the earth,” says Dr. Art McDonald, SNO Project Director and Professor of Physics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “Earlier measurements had been unable to provide definitive results showing that this transformation from solar electron neutrinos to other types occurs. The new results from SNO, combined with previous work, now reveal this transformation clearly, and show that the total number of electron neutrinos produced in the Sun are just as predicted by detailed solar models.”

    My interpretation:

    The Standard Solar Model states that the PP fusion in the sun will generate a specific type of neutrino, the electron neutrino. However only one third of that amount had been detected. Detectors were “seeing “ 1 every 3 days. Thus the SSM had a big observational hole in its theory. To the rescue comes SNO with “neutrino oscillation”. Although neutrinos were once thought to be mass-less and move at the speed of light, another theory had to be proposed that neutrinos can oscillate but this meant they must have mass and therefore also need to move slightly lower speeds. It’s hard enough to detect neutrinos never mind weigh them, but if you need to save your theory Occam’s razor says invent the ecliptic or equant or dark matter of oscillating neutrinos. But now SNO had results that revealed neutrino “transformation clearly” . They now measured all 3 types of neutrinos, the other 2 types were harder to detect. Thre only real evidence is that all three types added up to what the SSM predicted. Except SSM predicts electron neutrinos, not all 3 types. So the solution was that all three types can change into any other type. I must admit that having all three add up to the predicted value is an attractive coincidence.

    So I ask myself questions to make sure I understand as should any good critical thinker. “How could they tell they changed flavors?”. They certainly did not follow the neutrinos from the sun’s core all the way to the earth monitoring changes. So how do they “know”. Well they don’t know. They speculate because it fits their SSM theory.

    But more disturbing I then ask, “if these oscillating neutrinos can change back and forth, maybe the measured electron neutrinos are the result of transformed tau neutrinos or muon neutrinos.How do we know hich ones changed into which other one. So to be fair I’ll first assume they all can interchange equally. But then we are right back to having only 33% of the needed electrons.

    I even wondered how they knew that the one electron neutrino they detected about every 3 days is a solar neutrino? Why not from neutrinos proposed in the cosmic radiation background. Why not from the center of the earth or the atmosphere or left over from ancient supernovas? But you guys seem dang sure the accounting is done and solid proof. Maybe I don’t know what science is as RL gently suggested.

    So perhaps you could answer my questions so I too can feel so positive. Right now it seems like this proof is “turtles all the way down”

  28. 78
    gusbob says:

    Kevin,

    I appreciate that you would be interested enough to investigate what I suggest. But any minority theory as well as any consensus theory has many adherents that are odd bedfellows. Your mention of the breath of Yaweah, etc has never been something I have discussed here. Others have used the association with fringe elements as a means of “scientific argument” to debase what I say. I know a man who was an astronomer, believer in the SSM and a convicted child molester. For me to offer that as evidence against the SSM would be totally absurd. I would hope we all can avoid such nonsense.

    You asked, “1) Why are we unable to detect any influx of electrons to the sun, either equatorially or at the poles? I will get the links when I can but there was at least one paper that told of electrons flowing back towards the sun after a maybe a flare. I forget all the specific. The source of the electrons wasn’t clear. But the migration of electrons towards the sun is in keeping with the electric sun’s model of a positive sun .

    2) Did the planets orbit Saturn in the past? That specific question I have not seen before, except as a discussion that if the solar system found itself in the middle of a strong plasma stream that exerted electromagnetic attractions or repulsions on the planets then could that re-arrange the current solar system’s orbital arrangement. I don’t know and it is low on my list to explore as there would be too many ifs. Is it as theoretically as possible as the big bang? Maybe.

    But one solar system question that I have entertained I will share for those of you that have ever put a telescope on the moon or seen pictures of the craters on other planets. yYou must be struck by the near perfect circularity of those craters. Literally sitting on a mountaintop peering through my dobsonian, I was struck with the question. The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down. However if instead, electric arcing is attributed to these craters, that would make sense as arcs like lightning do strike at very perpendicular angles. And that suggest a lot of electric activity in the solar system’s past.

  29. 79
    gusbob says:

    Martin Vermeer Says: Where do I begin? I picked this one as the most obviously absurd to refute. How do you explain the rotation of the galaxy by electrostatic forces? It has to be an attractive force to do the job. Dark matter gravitation is. Electrostatic forces are repulsive between like charges, so we must have a distribution of opposite charges to do the job.”

    Martin you can begin you should really begin with this youtube clip for a homopolar motor

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aPQqNt15-o

    then try http://www.electric-cosmos.org/galaxies.htm
    Martin Vermeer Says: “The smaller problem here is to find a distribution of positive and negative charges that would produce the observed change in rotational behaviour: you won’t”.
    Plasma labs and computer simulations would beg to differ. They can generate galaxy type behavior.
    Martin Vermeer Says: The bigger problem is that the net electrostatic charges won’t stay put: as they attract each other, they will flow together (as in electric current; plenty of conductive plasma out there) and will annihilate each other on a very short notice.”
    Martin I once held those same assumptions. Have you ever heard of the Van Allen belts? One is mostly positive ions, the other mostly electrons. Yes there is diffusion and leakage of charge but the charge is replenished via at least 2 mechanisms. And for another analogy perhaps think of the transistor. In plasma physics there is the double layer that separates to differentially charged plasma fields. This double layer sets up an electric field analogous to transistors where which prevents the further diffusion of charges. It is at the boundaries of double layers that high voltages can build. Here is a diagrammatic representation
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/07/Double_layer_formation.png/320px-Double_layer_formation.png
    and discussion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_%28plasma%29

  30. 80
    gusbob says:

    Ralph Says: The solar wind is composed of subatomic particles. The solar magnetic field accelerates them as they move away from the Sun, because the magnetic forces are stronger than gravity on these particles.”

    Ralph I suggest that you may confuse a magnetic field with an electric field. A magnetic field according to Maxwell’s equations should lead these charged particles in a motion as seen in Coronal Loops or similar to iron filing, that leave one pole and reconvene at the other.Magnetic fields loop around with zero net flux.

    http://atmos.nmsu.edu/~nchanove/images/sun_coronal_loop.jpg

    But the solar winds leave the sun and keep accelerating out to the ends of the heliosphere. This suggests not a magnetic field but an electric field with one end anchored in the sun and the other at the heliosphere’s edge.

    And if you could be so kind, I would appreciate a few links to your sources on how well the electric fields have been measured. The explosive failed results of the space tether or “space elevator” experiments from the shuttle, suggests that your putative accurate measurements were woefully underestimated. And that was close to home. So I would suspect the error bars on galactic and intergalactic measurements would be even greater.

  31. 81
    Knud Jahnke says:

    William @72:

    The Gies & Helsel paper is *not* independent evidence of Shaviv’s claim. On the contrary, they use ice age data to judge whether they can infer the spiral arm pattern speed, so this is the same as Shaviv, just starting at the other end. They explicitely state that current studies predict a much smaller difference in the arm pattern speed and the sun’s motion than Shaviv claims to have found.

    Knud

  32. 82
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gusbob, I worked on a neutrino oscillation experiment back in the 80s. I can assure you, that the measurements that established neutrino oscillations are solid. Several different experiments report consistent results.
    Your suggestion that some acceleration mechanism accounts for neutrino production is risible. It shows we can add accelerator physics to the list of processes of which you are ignorant.
    Those of us who have pointed out the errors in your arguments are certain precisely because we have “done the math”. I suggest you do the same.

  33. 83

    gusbob writes:

    [[The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down. ]]

    No. When something falls from space onto a planetary surface, at whatever angle, the speed at impact is so great that it blows up, and you get a circular crater pretty much every time. Even large bodies tend to get vaporized, and they simply do not have enough time to form noticeably elliptical craters.

  34. 84
    Kevin says:

    I am in the odd (for me) and strangely exciting position to have carried out my own scientific experiment that bears on one of the topics brought up on this thread. Gusbob asserts that “The theory of meteorite formed craters implies to me that there should be a lot of craters more elliptic in shape. This being so because the causative space debris would most likely be captured and fall at an angle to the surface. To be so circular they would need to fall straight down.” He goes on to speculate that maybe these craters are caused by electric arcing rather than meteorites.

    Well, the summer between my 6th and 7th grade years, my family took a road trip in the Western US. One of the sites we visited was Meteor Crater (AKA the Barringer crater) in Arizona. This guy Daniel Barringer was the one to suggest it was formed by a meteor, and he mined the crater trying to find it, digging hundreds of feet straight down, never finding anything. The conventional wisdom now seems to be that the meteor mostly vaporized, but at the time, according to our tour guide at least, it was thought that perhaps the main mass was off-center, since (as gusbob notes) a non-perpendicular strike seems much more likely than a perpendicular strike. “But…,” I asked, “wouldn’t the crater be elliptical?” I was assured that impacts from any angle resulted in a circular crater. This was very counterintuitive to me. I thought is was B.S. So, for my 7th grade science project, I tested the theory. I made pans of fairly wet (but not soupy) modeling clay, and used a BB gun to fire into them from a variety of angles. It was a pump gun, i.e. the more pumps, the more compressed air propelling the projectile, so I also varied the impact speed by using different numbers of pumps. The result? Lo and behold, all the craters were circular. The ejecta patterns were asymmetric, but the holes were all circular.

    Now, I realize that modeling clay isn’t a perfect analogue for every different surface on which we observe impact craters. I also realize that BB guns aren’t perfect simulators of meteor strikes. But nonetheless I proved to myself that non-perpendicular impacts, even at low angles, could produce circular impact craters, and I failed to come up any way to create an elliptical impact crater. Go figure. It’s a little weird to me even today, but there you are.

    BTW I got first place at my school, and I think I did OK at the county level as well, but I don’t remember that part exactly. :)

    BTW gusbob, I completely see your point about guilt by association, and I apologize for playing that game.

  35. 85

    gusbob: I looked at your links, and none of them appear relevant to your claim. Especially not the monopolar motor one (fun though). The others contain lots of hand waving, pretty pics, but no real (relevant) explanations. The galaxy’s rotation curve isn’t even mentioned. Yes, plasma physics is deeply involved with galactic jets and the like, no surprise there.

    I see another problem: the EM force you’re postulating should affect gas, dust and stars (and comets, and planet-like objects) orbiting in the galaxy in exactly the same way. Only gravitation does that. Within the solar system, celestial mechanics based on gravitation only is uncannily precise. Robert Dicke established the equivalence principle (on Earth) to within 1:10^8. That’s also how much smaller EM effects acting on the Earth should be than gravity.

    It just doesn’t work, and we have perfectly good theories that do. Give it up already.

  36. 86

    Kevin #84:

    But nonetheless I proved to myself that non-perpendicular impacts, even at low angles, could produce circular impact craters, and I failed to come up any way to create an elliptical impact crater. Go figure. It’s a little weird to me even today, but there you are.

    I’m not sure how relevant your clay experiments are :-) but for meteorite impacts, the simple reality is that the speed of impact is so great (at least 11 km/s, even up to 45 km/s for parabolic cometary objects hitting frontally), that they just vaporize explosively, with a lot of ground rock too. Barringer was like a small nuclear explosion, without the radiation.

    http://www.barringercrater.com/science/

  37. 87
    Nick Gotts says:

    Re #78 [gusbob] On crater shape – when I read your post I recalled reading that angled impacts produce circular craters, although I don’t know why, and knew more knowledgeable people would respond, so didn’t post myself. However, human motivation and reasoning are within my professional purview, and in the interests of scientific understanding, I’d be grateful if you would tell me whether you thought either:

    a) That the entire planetary astronomy community had never noticed such a problem with the meteoritic theory of crater origins?

    or

    b) That they knew it was a problem, but pretended not to?

    or

    c) Something else? (Please specify)

    Whatever your answer, do you still hold to the same opinion?

  38. 88
    Ray Ladbury says:

    meteorites and elliptical craters: Again, gusbob, you aren’t doing the math. A meteorite comes in at about 7 km per second, so for every kg of mass, it has 49 million joules of energy. If it has any hope of surviving entry through the atmosphere, it must be massive indeed. Another internship I did was looking at cratering on icy satellites of Jupiter. The PI for the project had taken old DOD code for modeling nuclear explosions and scaled the energy UP several orders of magnitude to do the calculations. The shape of the crater will have more to do with the profile of the shockwave of the vaporizing projectile and target material than it will with incident angle of the projectile. Also, keep in mind that if a projectile comes in with too steep an angle to the vertical, it will ricochet off the atmosphere.

    Logic is a funny thing: If not backed up by solid theoretical understanding and a willingness to do the math, it will lead you astray.

  39. 89
    gusbob says:

    # Ray Ladbury Says:
    12 March 2008 at 5:28 AM

    Gusbob, I worked on a neutrino oscillation experiment back in the 80s. I can assure you, that the measurements that established neutrino oscillations are solid. Several different experiments report consistent results.
    Your suggestion that some acceleration mechanism accounts for neutrino production is risible. It shows we can add accelerator physics to the list of processes of which you are ignorant.
    Those of us who have pointed out the errors in your arguments are certain precisely because we have “done the math”. I suggest you do the same.

    Ray a classy condemnation but it never answers any of my questions other than saying you feel comfortable that neutrino oscillation exists. Although I have not done the math and will be a skeptic until I have done so, that is the least of my worries about the solved solar neutrino problem. Accepting oscillation, I raised several other questions about the assertions regarding the missing solar electron neutrinos. You failed to address them at all. You prefer to snipe at me with aggressive speculation about my ignorance. I don’t think that is the behavior we should model for this board.

  40. 90
    spilgard says:

    Re #84
    Drifting way off topic here, but a second experiment that demonstrates the circularity of craters is to lob pebbles, from varying angles, into a box filled with flour. A third one is to fire your BB rifle, from varying angles, at the windows of your house (or your neighbor’s house). The spalling craters produced in the window glass will always be circular cones.

  41. 91

    Re #75 Jim Galasyn:

    I remember looking at a predecessor of this article, and concluding that it couldn’t be right… don’t remember why though. Figuring out where they take the wrong turn may be quite a project :-)

    The “conclusions” in the article state

    One might be inclined to question how this large departure from the Newtonian
    picture regarding galactic rotation curves could have arisen since the planetary
    motion problem is also a gravitationally bound system and the deviations there
    using general relativity are so small. The reason is that the two problems are
    very different: in the planetary problem, the source of gravity is the sun and the
    planets are treated as test particles in this field (apart from contributing minor
    perturbations when necessary). They respond to the field of the sun but they
    do not contribute to the field. By contrast, in the galaxy problem, the source of
    the field is the combined rotating mass of all of the freely-gravitating elements
    themselves that compose the galaxy.

    A common-sense objection would be: OK, but what then about the gravitational perturbations between Jupiter and Saturn? Yes, they’re much smaller, also in relative terms, than between different parts of the Galactic disk; but they would also be a lot more precisely measurable. The precision with which celestial mechanics works within the solar system is downright horrific — with Mercury being the only place where GR is actually needed.

    It may not be worth investing more effort in this until it appears in a reviewed journal :-)

  42. 92
    Hank Roberts says:

    Atmosphere would also burn up far more objects that did get deep in the atmosphere on low-angle trajectories, as well as causing those on very flat paths to ‘skip’ back out — remember how critical the angle of return was for the Apollo astronauts as they encountered Earth’s atmosphere?

    Are more elliptical craters noticeable on bodies lacking significant atmosphere? Let’s look:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=craters+impact+elliptical

    I also recall weathering makes a great difference in appearance on Earth. The Arizona Meteor Crater, if you look at it
    http://www.satimagingcorp.com/galleryimages/quickbird-barringer-arizona-crater-web.jpg
    looks like it’s trying to be a square. No elaborate answer necessary, that’s the structure of the surrounding rock emerging with erosion.

  43. 93
    Ralph says:

    gusbob wrote:
    Ralph I suggest that you may confuse a magnetic field with an electric field. A magnetic field according to Maxwell’s equations should lead these charged particles in a motion as seen in Coronal Loops or similar to iron filing, that leave one pole and reconvene at the other.Magnetic fields loop around with zero net flux.

    No, I am not confusing these issues. The magnetic field of the Sun is dynamic, not static. Particles trapped on field lines go where the lines go, so when the field lines accelerate, they accelerate. The exact mechanism of this acceleration is poorly understood not because we don’t understand physics, but because the geometry is complex and hard to measure.

    gusbob again: And if you could be so kind, I would appreciate a few links to your sources on how well the electric fields have been measured. The explosive failed results of the space tether or “space elevator” experiments from the shuttle, suggests that your putative accurate measurements were woefully underestimated. And that was close to home. So I would suspect the error bars on galactic and intergalactic measurements would be even greater.

    Your understanding of the shuttle experiment is incorrect. The tether was a dynamo experiment, not a “space elevator” experiment. The excess current was caused not by too much magnetic field, but too little resistance in the tether. It was an engineering problem. This is not a post-hoc guess at what “must” have happened — the tether was studied carefully and shown to have a different resistance than assumed when it was launched. The magnetic field strength of the Earth is very well known. There are many, many satellites in orbit which measure it all the time. Freshmen in college measure it in physics lab — astronauts can certainly measure it in orbit.

    Indeed, the error bars on the Galtic field are large. I did not say that the Galactic field strengths were known to great accuracy (although the Solar System’s fields have been measured to high precision by multiple, independent probes). Indeed, the Galactic field SHAPE is still somewhat uncertain, but it doesn’t matter. These uncertainties are infinitessimal compared to the fields you would need to move planets and stars. Any field that strong would have multiple, unobserved effects. To name just two: such a field would trap every charged subatomic particle on a tiny orbit, yet we do not see the radiation that would cause, and we receive charged particles in the form of cosmic rays all the time (so they aren’t trapped on strong field lines).

    Try this: look up the charge of the Earth or Sun (there are many ways to calculate this — exactly which number you use won’t matter). Look up typical astrophysical field strengths (hint — the Galactic field has to be less than the Sun’s field, or we wouldn’t have to look beyond the Solar System to measure it). Calculate the acceleration of the Earth by this field. Compare to the acceleration the Earth gets from the Sun, or the Sun gets from the Galaxy. These are simple, Physics 101 calculations. If you don’t know the formulae, a used textbook can be had for less than $100.

    This should give you an idea of why electromagnetic fields are not important for planets (or stars, or anything larger than a speck for that matter), and why guessing that maybe the measurements are wrong can’t save the theory. Until you have done this calculation, you won’t understand why astronomers are so dismissive of the idea. After you’ve done the calculation (assuming you understand it) you’ll probably dismiss the theory, too. You’ll understand that the field strengths you need are so large, we couldn’t possibly have missed them. They’d manifest themselves in many, many more ways (and more-easy-to observe ways) than the rotation curves of galaxies.

    This is the next step you need to take — not asking scientists to point you to references that don’t matter.

  44. 94
    Jake says:

    Since it is unlikely that anything like a tree exists on another planet it’s hard to imagine what a large intelligent animal life would be like. I think if life exists elsewhere in the universe it is very far away and relatively rare. Thermodynamically this would make sense. The number of galaxies is small compared to the size of the universe, the number planets capable of sustaining life must be smaller, the number of planets that do evolve intelligent life must be smaller yet. Also there’s the problem of what scientists mean when they say “intelligence”. North American Indians had no written language and no math does that mean they were unintelligent? Nor would they have understood what is meant by the Darwinian conception of “the struggle for existence.” This is just Darwin’s excuse of the industrial pathologies that were developing in the England of that time. Hunting and gathering were not experienced as a “struggle” by North American Indians, it was an enjoyable and indeed a religious experience. Probably the early Germanic tribes as described by Tacitus were the apex of European civilization. The only people who have to struggle to survive are modern industrialized Europeans (and those derived from Europe) which is increasingly difficult as the global energy reserves become exhausted. More complex technology only expedites the depletion.

  45. 95
    Mike says:

    Kevin (84):
    You made me think of skipping stones on water and how they provide concentrice circles as opposed to elliptical despite being at an angle. Just pondering.

  46. 96
    gusbob says:

    Kevin,

    I like your style and applaud your inquisitive efforts.

    May I suggest one caveat to your crater interpretation. If a circular body enters the clay or whatever medium that is appropriate here, it should create a cylindrical path at a angle. If I look at x-sections of that pathway, each 2 dimensional planar x-section would look circular. But when incorporating the third dimension of depth we would see a more elliptical appearing craters. I suspect that since you were using clay, your observations were restricted to the entry level plane. If you scraped away a little bit of one side it would start to look more ellipitical.

    The vaporization theory doesn’t satisfy me for at least 3 reasons. First the penetrating cylinder would exist unless you argue that vaporization happened only at the immediate surface.

    Second even with a generous calculation, and perhaps RL will do the math for us, most people would predict that about 16% of the trailing edge of the meteorite would not vaporize. Missing fragments are still an issue(some explain the missing fragment weighing thousands of tons were carried away by ancient people)

    Third there is an assumption that vaporization will only happen from a meteor impact. So people prematurely conclude that findings of pellets of iron or nickel are proof of a meteor caused vaporization.But good science always ask is there other explanations that also fit. If you have ever used an arc welder you know that “vaporization” happens and impurities in the metal can create lots of spattering. I neglected to wear my welder’s cap one time and discovered a glowing pellet in my hair, first by the smell of burning hair, followed by pain. I always wore my welder’s cap after that.

  47. 97
    pete best says:

    http://beyondzeroemissions.org/James-Hansen-no-more-coal-carbon-stabilisation-below-350ppm

    It looks like we have to get the ball rolling right now on Co2 reductions of which globally we have as yet accomplished zero as I believe Gavin recently stated in a article I read the other day. 100% emissions cuts are being recommended now but at exactly zero percent cuts presently it does not doable to be on that significantly different track within ten years when we are pursuing coal to oil, tar sands, new coal plants, building nuclear, mining uranium and only paying lip service to efficiency gains. Whilst all the time our emissions grow globally due to increased energy requirements.

  48. 98
    Paul H says:

    Nir Shaviv has posted a reply to this post. He seems to be arguing that Krantz et al. (2003) is inapplicable to the Milky Way. I’m in no position to be able to judge on this one but it seems plausible. Could somone have a look at his response and try to respond?

    http://www.sciencebits.com/RealClimateSlurs

  49. 99

    RealClimate: An undisputable fact regarding the analyzed geological material is that the cosmic rays correlate with temperature.

    You argue which if the precise date is correct or not, but isn’t there already a perfect sync in the proxy material?!

  50. 100
    Kevin says:

    BPL’s statement at 83 above had not appeared when I wrote mine, now at 84, but I can confidently assert based on experiments carried out by myself at age 13 or so that the explosion of the projectile is not necessary to produce the circular craters, even at low angles. You can confirm this for yourself with a BB gun and some wet clay.