It is the 2nd article that I have published on astronomy and cosmology. The first one can be seen online here:-
Weekly Zaman is the UK edition of the large-circulation newspaper Today's Zaman:-
Text from the article:-
In an article published on the 7th May last year, Weekly Zaman reported on the possible significance of a series of images detected by the Herschel space telescope and a team of scientists liaising with ESA (the European Space Agency) who found some interesting star-formation phenomena in a stellar gas cloud called IC5146. A summary of the report on the discovery was published on the ESA website on the 13th of April last year, and it explained that these gas clouds contained filamentary structures that were spanning distances of many light years and that “newly-born stars” were observed to be forming in some of these filaments. The discovery came as a “very big surprise” to the scientists. Regardless, the scientists involved (from Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay) hypothesized such formations to be the manifestation of “shockwaves” derived from “sonic booms” from exploding stars. Interestingly, one of the authors of the report did say that this discovery “provides a very strong constraint on theories of star formation”. Conventional theories of star formation rely on a phenomena known as “gravitational collapse” where a sufficiently massive gas cloud collapses as a result of insufficient gas pressure to support it, with the resultant heating causing stellar clusters. “The source of the energy for star formation is gravitational collapse - this collapse must provide enough energy to heat the gas of the protostar to the ignition point of hydrogen fusion, some 15 million Kelvins” – states the HyperPhysics website of Georgia State University in the USA. According to scientific references in the Wikipedia entry on star formation - it can also apparently occur from the collision of molecular clouds, which then trigger gravitational collapse. It is also said to occur from “black holes” causing matter to collide with each other. But are these theories necessarily a proven fact? There is evidence to suggest that these heavily gravitationally dependent theories may not be correct.
Since my previous article last year that reported on Plasma Cosmology as a counter-theory to the mainstream theories of astronomy, there have been some further developments. On the 10th of May, the European Space Agency published a press release on its website titled “How massive stars sculpt a cosmic crib”. It summarizes the discovery of a new “stunning image” of a giant nebula in the Milky Way galaxy known as Cygnus X. The image is described as “unprecedented” in detail, and shows an “intricate network of filaments, pillars and bubbles”. The detailed image results from the Herschel space telescopes’ ability to process high-resolution images at far-infrared wavelengths. There are thousands of “young, massive stars” in Cygnus X, as well as a greater number of stars of a generally low mass – according to the ESA press release. Interestingly, the press release states that the large number of high-mass stars are generating “powerful winds” and abundant ionising radiation which result in forging most of Cygnus X’s structure. The presence of these high mass stars is hypothesized to be responsible for influencing the creation of other stars within the gas cloud – and therefore being part of some sort of feedback process. Turbulence and radiation are thus regarded as important processes, whereas kinetic forces in the form of “shockwaves” from star explosions were mentioned in ESA’s report on the 13th of April last year with respect to the structure of stellar cloud IC5146. Cygnus X, like IC5146 – also has stars forming within the filamentary structures in the cloud. For example, the ESA press release describes “very massive stars forming along” a filamentary region known as DR21 which is described as “extremely dense”.
What is the significance of these filamentary structures? A possible answer can be found from scientists in the field known as “Plasma Cosmology”. For example, a paper titled “Electro-Magnetic Fields and Plasma in the Cosmos” was featured in the American Institute of Physics’ “First Crisis in Cosmology” conference held in June of 2005. The author of the featured paper, Dr Donald E. Scott, is a retired professor of electrical engineering who has also published articles in “Plasma Cosmology” journals of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – which is the largest professional organisation in the world. Dr Scott has also spoken at the NASA Goddard Institute about his work, back in March of 2009. In his paper at the 2005 conference, Dr Scott stated that “fundamental disagreements about the properties and behaviour of electro-magnetic fields in [space] plasmas exist between the science of modern astronomy and the experimentally verified laws of electrical engineering and physics”. Modern astronomy often relegates the role of electro-magnetic fields as secondary to gravity, “dark energy”, “black holes” and other phenomena. Dr Scott states that laboratory evidence demonstrates that mainstream astrophysicists generally ignore the work of electrical engineers who work in the field of plasma physics. Plasma is essentially a collection of particles where a certain percentage are persistently electrically charged. Mainstream theorists claim that magnetic fields begin and end on molecular clouds of space plasma, whereas electrical engineers state that laboratory evidence proves that magnetic fields have no beginning and end. Thus, for some odd reason – mainstream theorists think that the laws of electromagnetism on Earth become different in the realm of space. Importantly, Dr Scott stated in the Abstract of his paper that “The cause of large-scale filamentation in the cosmos is also simply revealed by experimental results obtained in plasma laboratories”. Physicist Wallace Thornhill, in a 2007 paper titled “Electric Stars” for the IEEE “Transactions on Plasma Science” journal – has described these filamentary structures as manifestations of massive electrical arc discharges – effectively a form of (long-lasting) cloud-to-cloud lightning in space. These discharges scavenge and squeeze matter along the filamentary discharge channels and the current “pinches off” where the squeeze is most intense, forming plasma “beads” and then scattering them. Thornhill also states that the formation of plasma beads from such discharges has also been replicated in the laboratory. Hence, these discoveries by ESA’s Herschel space telescope of filamentary regions of star formation should really give Plasma Cosmology a consideration.
This year, there have been a few published scientific papers providing further evidence that star-formation tends to occur within these filamentary structures. The journal Astronomy & Astrophysics published a paper online on the 30th of April this year titled “The Pipe Nebula as seen with Herschel: Formation of filamentary structures by large-scale compression?”. The Abstract states that “A growing body of evidence indicates that the formation of filaments in interstellar clouds is a key component of the star formation process”. The authors of the paper analysed findings from instruments on the Herschel space telescope and found apparent evidence that filaments in the nebula were being “compressed” by “winds” from a nearby star cluster. They hypothesized that “compressive flow has likely enhanced the column density” of the filamentary regions where stars are observed to being formed. They come to an admittedly “speculative” proposition that gravity is also responsible for generating the star forming filamentary region of the nebula. Plasma cosmology can account for apparent evidence of compression in these filamentary nebulae, via a phenomena known as the “z-pinch” which is effectively the process described by Wallace Thornhill where inter-stellar electric discharges “squeeze” matter along the channels. However, the authors of this paper seem to resort to either gravity or “winds” as the responsible forces instead.
A paper titled “Gravitational stability of a cylindrical plasma with an azimuthal and axial magnetic ﬁeld” lead authored by James A. McLeman of the Department Of Physics of the University of Aberdeen – talks about “star formation in dark filamentary clouds” and that “azimuthal magnetic fields” have not yet been “rigorously derived” as factors that maintain the stability of plasma filaments in space. An azimuthal magnetic field runs from east to west or vice to versa, and such currents exist in “a current carrying wire” on Earth – as the paper states. Plasma theorists also call these filamentary discharge phenomena “Birkeland Currents” after the scientist Kristian Birkeland who discovered them in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. These currents produce azimuthal magnetic fields which squeeze the current flow into filamentary (and often twisting) structures and control its direction.
It is important to realise that electromagnetism is 10^42 times stronger than the force of gravity. Hence, it is not unreasonable to argue that the formation of stars and indeed, much of the structure of the universe – owes more to this force, than the mass of particles following the law of gravity. Indeed, as the US governments’ Los Alamos National Laboratory states on its website “Plasmas are the most common form of matter, comprising more than 99% of the visible universe”. Perhaps the time has come for the mainstream to start acknowledging the potential scalability of plasma behaviour in the laboratory to that of the plasma structures we see and detect in the universe.