Solar Flaresuninxray

(Left) A solar flare showing the twisting motion characteristic of a Birkeland current.

(Right) An X-ray image of the sun showing the active lower corona.

The Electric Sun Hypothesis

The Basics

 In this day and age there is no longer any doubt that electric effects in plasmas play an important role in the phenomena we observe on the Sun.  The major properties of the "Electric Sun (ES) model" are as follows:

    •     Most of the space within our galaxy is occupied by plasma (rarefied ionized gas) containing electrons (negative charges) and ionized atoms (positive charges).  Every charged particle in the plasma has an electric potential energy (voltage) just as every pebble on a mountain has a mechanical potential energy with respect to sea level. The Sun is at the center of a plasma cell, called the heliosphere, that stretches far out - several times the radius of Pluto. As of 9/9/2012 the radius of this plasma cell has been measured to be greater than 18 billion km or 122 times the distance from the Sun to Earth. These are facts not hypotheses.

    •     The Sun is at a more positive electrical potential (voltage) than is the space plasma surrounding it - probably in the order of several thousand volts.

    •      Positive ions leave the Sun and electrons enter the Sun. Both of these flows add to form a net positive current flowing through the Sun (entering at the poles and leaving radially at lower latitudes).  This constitutes a plasma discharge analogous in every way (except size) to those that have been observed in electrical plasma laboratories for decades. Because of the Sun's positive charge (voltage), it acts as the anode in a plasma discharge. As such, it exhibits many of the phenomena observed in earthbound plasma laboratory experiments
    •     The Sun may be powered, not from within itself, but from outside, by the electric (Birkeland) currents that flow in our arm of our galaxy as they do in all galaxies. This possibility - that the Sun may be externally powered by its galactic environment - is the most speculative idea in the ES hypothesis and is always attacked by critics while they completely ignore all the other more obvious properties of the ES model. In the Plasma Universe model, cosmic sized, low-density currents create the galaxies and the stars within those galaxies by the electromagnetic z-pinch effect.  It is only a small extrapolation to ask whether these currents remain in place to power those stars.  Galactic currents are of low current density, but, because the sizes of the stars are large, the total current (Amperage) is high.  An electrically powered Sun's radiated power would be due to the energy delivered by that amperage.  As it travels around the galactic center the Sun may come into regions of higher or lower current density and so its output may vary both periodically and randomly.

The Corona

    The Sun's corona is visible only during solar eclipses (or via sophisticated instruments developed for that specific purpose).  It is a vast luminous plasma glow that changes shape with time - always remaining fairly smooth and distributed in its inner regions, and showing filamentary spikes and points in its outer fringes. It is a 'glow' mode plasma discharge.  If the Sun were not electrical in nature this corona would not exist.  If the Sun is simply a (non-electrical) nuclear furnace, the corona has no business being there at all.  So one of the most basic questions that ought to arise in any discussion of the Sun is: Why does our Sun have a corona? Why is it there?  It serves no purpose in a fusion-only model nor can such models explain its existence. 

    The Solar Wind

    Positive ions stream outward from the Sun's surface and accelerate away, through the corona, for as far as we have been able to measure. It is thought that these particles eventually make up a portion of the cosmic ray flux that permeates the cosmos.  The 'wind' varies with time and has even been observed to stop completely for a period of a day or two.  What causes this fluctuation?  The ES model proposes a simple explanation and suggests a mechanism that both creates and controls fluctuations in this flow.  The standard model provides no such explanation or mechanism. See Solar Surface Transistor Action .

    Electrical Properties of the Photosphere and Chromosphere

The essence of the Electric Sun hypothesis is a description of the electrical properties of its photosphere, chromosphere, and the resulting effects on the charged particles that move through those layers.  The surface of the Sun that we typically see from Earth is the photosphere which is a brightly radiating layer of plasma only about 500 km thick. It is analogous to the 'anode glow' region of a laboratory gas discharge experiment except that it is in arc mode. It consists of cells of plasma, sometimes called 'tufts' or 'granules'. 'Sunspots' are areas where no such granules exist. The granules observed on the surface of the photosphere are in fairly turbulent motion. They change shape, size, and disappear in a matter of hours or days. New ones pop up in their place. The anode glow is often observed in the laboratory to consist of a pattern of small, rotating, regularly arranged spots, whose speed of rotation is sometimes sufficiently slow to be followed by the unaided eye. The analogy between the laboratory gas discharge and the behavior of the Sun is indeed a compelling one.

    The photosphere, then, is plasma in the 'arc' mode. We say this because the Sun emits power at a rate of over 63 million watts/sq meter from its photospheric surface. This is equivalent to a power output of 40 kW from each square inch of that surface. Some have questioned whether the photosphere's relatively low temperature (~5800K) disqualifies it from being in arc mode.  In 1944 C.E.R. Bruce of England's Electrical Research Institute proposed that the "photosphere has the appearance, the temperature, and the spectrum of an electric arc; it has arc characteristics because it is an electric arc, or a large number of arcs in parallel." And, it is difficult to imagine a plasma discharge in anything other than arc mode that could radiate 40 kW of power from each square inch of its surface area. Can you imagine the light from forty 1000 watt light bulbs coming out of a one square inch area?

    A cross-section taken through a photospheric granule is shown in the three plots shown together below in figure 1.  The horizontal axis of each of the three plots is distance, measured radially outward (upward), starting at a point near the bottom of the photosphere (the true surface of the Sun - which we can only observe in the umbra of sunspots).  Almost every observed property of the Sun can be explained through reference to these three plots; for this reason, much of the discussion that follows makes reference to them.

    The first plot shows the energy per unit (positive) charge of an ion as a function of its radial distance out from (altitude up from) the solar surface. The units of Energy per Unit Charge are Volts, V.  The second plot, the E-field, shows the outward (upward) radial force (toward the right in this figure) experienced by each such positive ion.  The third plot shows the locations of the charge densities that will produce the first two plots.  The chromosphere is the location of a plasma double layer (DL) of electrical charge.  Recall that one of the properties of electric plasma is its excellent (although not perfect) conductivity.  Such an excellent conductor will support only a weak electric field.  Notice in the second plot that the almost ideal plasmas of the photosphere (region b to c) and the corona (from point e outward) are regions of almost zero electric field strength.

Figure 1. Energy, Electric field strength, and Charge density
 as a function of radial distance from the Sun's surface.

The energy plot shown above is valid for positively charged particles. Because a positive E-field represents an outward radial force (toward the right) per unit charge on any such particle, the region wherein the E-field is negative (a to b) constitutes an inward force.  This region of the lower photosphere is, thus, an energy barrier that positive ions must surmount in order to escape the body of the Sun. Any +ions attempting to escape outward from within the Sun must have enough energy to get over this energy barrier.  So the presence of this single positive charge layer at the bottom of the photospheric plasma serves as a constraint on unlimited escape of +ions from the surface of the Sun.

Granule Shrinkage and Movement

In order to visualize the effect this energy diagram has on electrons (negative charges) coming in toward the Sun from cosmic space (from the right), we can turn the energy plot upside down.  Doing this enables us to visualize the 'trap' that these photospheric granules are for incoming electrons.  As the trap fills, the energy of the granule (existing between b and c) decreases in height, and so the granule weakens, shrinks, and eventually disappears.  This is the cause of the observed shrinkage and disappearance of photospheric granules.

Temperature Minimum

If the standard model were correct, heat and light would simply radiate away from the photosphere as from a hot stove. Temperature measurements would monotonically decrease with distance. But many processes, other than simple radiation of heat, are occurring above the photosphere. A temperature minimum (~4100K) occurs just above the photosphere. The lower regions of the Suns corona, at much higher altitude, are millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the Sun itself. How can this be? The standard model has no satisfactory explanation for it. The Electric Sun hypothesis explains it clearly as follows:

Charged particles do not experience external electrostatic forces when they are in the range b to c - within the photosphere.  Only random thermal movement occurs due to diffusion. (Temperature is simply the measurement of the violence of such random movement.)  This is where the ~ 6,000 K photospheric temperature is measured.  Positive ions have their maximum electrical potential energy when they are in this photospheric granule plasma. But their mechanical kinetic energy is relatively low.  At a point just to the left of point c, any random movement toward the right (radially outward - upward) that carries a + ion even slightly beyond point c will result in it's being swept away, down the energy hill, out of the Sun (toward the right in figure 1).  Such movement of charged particles due to an E-field is called a 'drift current'.  This drift current of accelerating positive ions is a constituent of the solar 'wind' (which is a serious misnomer). As positive ions begin to accelerate down the potential energy drop from point c through e, they convert the high (electrical) potential energy they had in the photosphere into kinetic energy - they gain extremely high outward radial velocity and lose side-to-side random motion.  Thus, they become 'de-thermalized'.  In this region, in the upper photosphere and the chromosphere, the movement of these ions becomes extremely organized (parallel).Therefore an observed temperature minimum occurs here.

The Transition Zone

When these rapidly moving + ions pass point e (leave the chromosphere) they move beyond the radial outwardly directed E-field force that has been accelerating them.  Because of their high kinetic energy (velocity), any collisions they have at this point (with other ions or with neutral atoms) are violent and create high amplitude random motions, thereby re-thermalizing the plasma to a much greater degree than it was in the photospheric granules (in the range b to c).   This is what is responsible for the high temperatures we observe in the lower corona.  Ions just to the right of point e are reported to be at temperatures of 1 to 2 million K.  Nothing else but exactly this kind of mechanism could be expected from the electric sun (photospheric - double layer) model.  The re-thermalization takes place in a region analogous to the turbulent 'white water' boiling at the bottom of a smooth laminar water-slide.  In the fusion model no such accelerating (water-slide) mechanism exists - and so neither does a simple explanation of the temperature discontinuity.

Acceleration of the Solar 'Wind'

The energy plot (to the right of point e) actually trails off, with slightly negative slope, toward the negative voltage of deep space (our arm of the Milky Way galaxy).  A relatively low density plasma can support a weak E-field. Consistent with this, a low amplitude (positive) E-field extends indefinitely to the right from point e. This is the effect of the Sun being at a higher voltage level than is distant space just beyond the heliopause. The outward force on positive ions due to this E-field causes the observed acceleration of +ions in the solar wind.See "On the Sun's Electric-Field" .

Cosmic Rays

The particles in our solar wind eventually join with the spent solar winds of all the other stars in our galaxy to make up the total cosmic ray flux in our arm of our galaxy.Juergens points out that the Sun is a rather mediocre star as far as radiating energy goes.  If it is electrically powered, perhaps its mediocrity is attributable to a relatively unimpressive driving potential. This would mean that hotter, more luminous stars should have driving potentials greater than that of the Sun and should consequently expel cosmic rays of greater energies than solar cosmic rays.  A star with a driving potential of 20 billion volts would expel protons energetic enough to reach the Sun's surface, arriving with 10 billion electron volts of energy to spare.  Such cosmic ions, when they collide with Earth's upper atmosphere release the muon-neutrinos that have been in the news recently.

Hannes Alfvn in his book, The New Astronomy, Chapter 2, Section III, pp 74-79, said about cosmic rays: "How these particles are driven to their fantastic energies, sometimes as high as a million billion electron volts, is one of the prime puzzles of astronomy.  No known (or even unknown) nuclear reaction could account for the firing of particles with such energies; even the complete annihilation of a proton would not yield more than a billion electron volts."

Fluctuations in the Solar "Wind"

It is interesting to note in passing that the three plots presented figure 1, are identically the plots of energy, E-field, and charge distribution found in a junction transistor. Of course in that solid-state device there are different processes going on at different energy levels (valence band and conduction band) within a solid crystal.  In the solar plasma there are no fixed atomic centers and so there is only one energy band.  In a transistor, the amplitude of the collector current (analogous to the drift of +ions in the solar wind toward the right) is easily controlled by raising and lowering the difference between the base and emitter voltages. Is the same mechanism (a voltage fluctuation between the anode-Sun and its photosphere granules) at work in the Sun?  e.g., If the Sun's voltage were to decrease slightly - say, because of an excessive flow of outgoing +ions - the voltage rise from point a to b in the energy diagram would increase in height and so reduce the solar wind (both the inward electron flow and the outward +ion flow) in a compensating negative feedback effect.  In May of 1999 the solar wind completely cut off for about two days.  There are also periodic variations in the solar wind.  The transistor-like mechanism described above is certainly capable of causing these phenomena.  The fusion model is at a complete loss to explain them whereas transistor 'cutoff' is a well-known electronic mechanism that is used in all digital circuits. See Solar Surface Transistor Action .

Characteristic Modes of a Plasma

In the page on Electric Plasma in this website, the three characteristic static modes in which a plasma can operate are discussed. Here is a somewhat more exact description - we need this to explain the detailed properties we observe on the Sun's surface. The static volt-ampere characteristic of a typical laboratory plasma discharge inside a cylindrical chamber has the shape shown below.

Plas VI

Figure 2. The volt-ampere plot of a plasma discharge.

This plot is usually measured in a laboratory plasma contained in a column - a cylindrical glass tube with the anode at one end and the cathode at the other (See: Primer About GD  ) These two terminals are connected into an electrical circuit whereby the current through the tube can be externally controlled.  In such an experiment, the plasma has a constant cross-sectional area from one end of the tube to the other.  The vertical axis of the volt-ampere plot is the voltage rise from the cathode up to the anode (across the entire plasma) as a function of the current passing through the plasma.  The horizontal axis is labeled total current (A). It can be relabeled as the Current Density at a point in the plasma. Current density is the measurement of how many Amps per square meter are flowing through a cross-section of the tube.  If the horizontal axis shows current density at a point in the plasma, the vertical axis is then relabeled as being the electric field (V/m) at that point. In a cylindrical tube the cross-section is the same size at all locations along the tube and so, the current density at every cross-section is just proportional to the total current passing through the plasma.

When we consider the Sun, however, a spherical geometry exists - with the sun at the center.  The cross-section becomes an imaginary sphere.  Assume a constant total electron drift moving from all directions toward the Sun and a constant total radial flow of +ions outward.  Imagine a spherical surface of large radius through which this total current passes.  As we approach the Sun from deep space, this spherical surface has an ever decreasing area.  Therefore, for a fixed total current, the current density (A/m) increases as we move inward toward the Sun. The anode (surface of the Sun) is a tiny fraction the area of the virtual cathode (the area of the heliopause). According to the latest measurements, the surface area of the heliopause is 653 million times larger than the surface area of the Sun. Thus, current density at the Sun's surface will be 653 million times what it is at the heliopause cathode
  • In deep space, say just inside the heliopause, the current density there is extremely low even though the total current may be huge; we are in the dark current region; there are no glowing gases, nothing to tell us we are in a plasma discharge - except possibly some radio frequency emissions.

  • As we get closer to the Sun, the spherical boundary has a smaller (decreasing) surface area; the current density increases; we enter the normal glow region; this is what we call the Sun's outer "corona".  The intensity of the radiated light is much like a neon sign. The volt/ampere plot has negative slope and so filaments form. Filaments are often clearly observed in the outer corona. Those filaments may indeed be Birkeland currents.

  • As we approach still closer to the Sun, the spherical boundary gets to be only slightly larger than the Sun itself; the value of the current density becomes extremely large; we enter the arc mode region of the discharge. This is the region of the relatively high voltage granule.  This is the photosphere.  The intensity of the radiated light is much like an arc welding machine or motion picture projector.  A high intensity ultraviolet light is emitted. It is well-known that if the anode in a discharge is much smaller than the cathode an anode glow region often forms to increase the effective size of the anode (this is the reason the photosphere exists on the Sun).

  • The boundary between the corona (glow mode) plasma and the photosphere (arc mode) is a double layer (DL). This phenomenon is often observed in laboratory plasma experiments.

Some early plasma researchers and most modern astronomers believe that the only "true" plasma is one that is perfectly conductive (and so will "freeze" magnetic fields into itself). This is the erroneous theoretical basis of magnetic 'reconnection'.  The volt-ampere plot shown above indicates that this does not happen.  Every point on the plot (except the origin) has a non-zero voltage (E-field) coordinate.  The static resistivity of a plasma operating at any point on the above volt-ampere plot is proportional to the slope of a straight line drawn from the origin to that point.  This means that, at every possible mode in which a plasma can operate, it has a non-zero static resistivity; it takes a non-zero E-field to produce the current density.  Obviously the static resistivity of a plasma in the high end of the dark mode can be quite large.  (The arc region and the left half of the glow region exhibit negative dynamic resistance - and the E-field can be quite small - but that is not what is in question.)  No real plasma can "freeze-in" a magnetic field.  The highest conductivity plasmas are those in the arc mode.  But, even in that mode, it takes a finite, non-zero valued electric field to produce a current density.  No plasma is an "ideal super-conductor".  

Fusion in the Double Layer

The z-pinch effect of high intensity, parallel current filaments in an arc plasma is very strong. Whatever nuclear fusion is taking place on the Sun is probably occurring here in the double layer (DL) at the top of the photosphere (not deep within the core).  The result of this fusion process are the 'metals' that give rise to absorption lines in the Sun's spectrum.  Traces of sixty eight of the ninety two natural elements are found in the Sun's atmosphere. Most of the radio frequency noise emitted by the Sun emanates from this region. Radio noise is a well known property of DLs.  The electrical power available to be delivered to the plasma at any point is the product of the E-field (V/m) times current density (A/m2). This multiplication operation yields Watts per cubic meter (power density).  The current density is relatively constant over the height of the photospheric / chromospheric layers.  However, the E-field is at its strongest at the center of the DL. Present thinking is that nuclear fusion takes a great deal of power - if that is so, then that power is available in the DL.  It has reportedly been observed that the neutrino flux from the Sun varies inversely with sunspot number.  This is expected in the ES hypothesis because the source of those neutrinos is probably z-pinch produced fusion which is occurring in the double layer - and sunspots are locations where there is no DL in which this process can occur. The greater the number of sunspots, the fewer the number of observed solar neutrinos.


In the plasma of the photosphere, both the dimensions of, and the voltages within the granules, depend on the current density at that location (near the Sun's anode surface).  The existence of the double layer of electric charge associated with each granule (separating it from the corona plasma above it) requires a certain numerical relationship between +ion and electron numbers in the total current.  This required ratio of electron to ion motion was discovered, quantified, and reported by Irving Langmuir over fifty years ago. Spicules, tall jets of electrons that emanate from the boundaries between granules, supply many of those needed electrons. In this Electric Sun model, as with any plasma discharge, the granular cells disappear wherever the flux of incoming electrons impinging onto a given area of the Sun's anode surface is not sufficiently strong to require the augmentation of anode size they provide.  At any such location, the photospheric cells collapse and we can see down to the actual anode surface of the Sun.  Since there is no arc mode plasma discharge occurring in these locations, they appear darker than the surrounding area and are termed 'sunspot umbrae'.  Of course, if a tremendous amount of energy were actually being produced in the Sun's interior, these umbrae should be brighter and hotter than the surrounding photosphere. The fact that sunspot umbrae are dark and relatively cool (3000-4000 K or 2727-4227 C) strongly supports the contention that very little, if anything, in the way of heat production is going on in the Sun's interior.


Figure 3. A sunspot showing the umbra, penumbra, and surrounding granular cells.

The top plot in figure 1 (above), shows the electrical potential energy of a +ion in the Sun's atmosphere. This diagram is expanded and reproduced below in figure 4. It is re-labeled to show the energies (voltage levels) at different locations in the vicinity of a sunspot. In figure 3, normal, bright yellow, arc-mode, solar granules appear around the periphery of a typical sunspot. They are at voltage level V2 in figure 4. Typically, in these normal granules, +ions flow upward (directly out toward the viewer in figure 3). In figure 4, such ions have enough energy to make the journey from the interior of the Sun (left of the origin - marked as a on the horizontal axis), up over the voltage rise from a to b, they diffuse across the region b - c, and fall down the potential hill from c to e. At this point, these rapidly moving ions create the turbulence observed as the high, two million Kelvin temperatures seen in the lower corona. In figure 3, this journey takes such an ion up out of the Sun's interior, up through a granule, and accelerates it out vertically upward. These ions then continue outward as the major constituent of what is called the 'solar wind'.

We must be aware of what figure 4 represents - the black locus indicates the voltage a +ion would experience along its journey upward, out of the Sun's body - through the photospheric granule and upward into the lower corona. Also shown in figure 4 (the dashed red locus) is the less variable voltages that a +ion experiences as it travels, upward out of the Sun at a location where no photospheric granules exist, that is: up and out of the umbra of a sunspot. Therefore it does not encounter the restraining energy barrier of a granule. Note carefully that this motion, left-to-right in figure 4, is directed vertically upward (toward the viewer) in figure 3. No lateral (sideways) forces or movements occur.

The darkest portions of the umbra (the Sun's anode surface) are at voltage level V1. Within the umbra there are no photospheric granules, so, for any point in the umbra, the plot in figure 4 just decreases monotonically from its left-end intersection with the vertical axis - at point (a, V1) - downward to point e on the horizontal axis. Point e represents the beginning (lowest altitude) of the Sun's corona. It's voltage level is labeled as V0.

Penumbral Filaments

But, what about the penumbra - those strangely shaped plasma filaments (cells) surrounding the umbra that remind us of the iris of a human eye? Starting just inside the Sun's body, some ions have barely enough kinetic energy to leave the body of the Sun by rising up to voltage level V2 or greater. In the altitude range b to c in figure 4, where they are diffusing upward, some of these ions may collide with other ions or neutral atoms and some of them may be given a diffusion velocity that bounces them back downward (toward the left in figure 4). If they diffuse in that direction beyond point b, they will be attracted back down into the Sun. In 3D space they may just sink out the bottom of the granule, or fall off its side into the darker channels that surround each granule. Or, if they are close enough to the edge of a sunspot, they may fall into it. That is what we are seeing in the penumbral filaments shown in figures 3 and 5. The process is analogous to icebergs calving off from glaciers to which they have been attached. The tops of the granules near the umbra's edge peel off, bend downward toward the umbra, and fall toward the lower voltage (and lower altitude) surface of the Sun visible in the umbra.


Figure 4. The electrical potential energy of a +ion as a function of distance above the Sun's anode surface.

(Caution: This is NOT a side view of a granule. It is simply a graph of the plasma's voltage as a function of distance up

along a straight-line vertical path coming from the Sun's surface up toward the lower corona. If the path goes through a

granule, the black curve applies. If the path goes up through the umbra of a sunspot, the dashed red curve is correct.)

A recent time-lapse video of this process is available on You Tube at Time-lapse image of penumbral filaments . This short clip shows the downward cascade of +ions that constitute the penumbral filaments. Some ions arriving at the umbra from above, in this manner, may then sense the attraction of the still lower voltage of the corona, V0, and join the flood of ions spilling out (upward) there from the Sun's interior (the dashed, red locus in figure 4). This observed behavior is completely consistent with the electric Sun model as described in these pages and elsewhere.

The motion of charges (+ions) falling from the high voltage at the top of the granules downward toward the umbrae constitutes a strong electrical current within the photospheric plasma. Such currents are called Birkeland currents. They twist! They are also hollow because of a well-known mechanism called Marklund convection. Both these properties can be seen in figure 5. The normal photospheric granules, which are packed in closely together, carry a relatively high current density. They are in high temperature, arc mode (see figure 2, above). When charges near the edge of the umbra (at voltage level V2 ) peel off and drop back, downward, toward the lower voltage, V1 of the umbra, they are less confined than they had been within the granules, so they spread out and have a lower valued current density. In figure 2 it is clear that the volt-ampere plot of plasma in this range (between points I and J) has a negative slope. Moving charges in plasma are free to move around and will attempt to minimize any forces on them. They can do that (lower the value of E-field they are experiencing) by moving toward the right in figure 2 (away from point I, toward point J), thereby reducing the cross-sectional area they occupy - they will form filaments. That is the cause of penumbral filaments. In the right hand image of figure 5, these filaments appear to end. In all probability they do not actually end where they seem to. The current they carry will not be discontinuous. The filaments can continue to occupy more and more space, to expand, and so reduce their current density still further. This puts them into the 'abnormal' glow mode as seen in the right-hand side of the glow-mode region of figure 2. Glow mode is so much less radiant than arc mode, especially in close proximity to the arc mode granules, that the +ion flow becomes invisible to us.

Sunsp 2002Twists

Figure 5. (Left) The Penumbra - Birkeland currents following the voltage drop from the photosphere down to the umbra.
(Right) The twisting Birkeland currents evident in a detailed image of the penumbral filaments.

For the same reason, the Sun's glow mode corona is difficult to see except in solar eclipses and in X ray images such as the one shown on the right in the first figure at the very top of this page and below in figure 6. The bright regions of the corona that we see in X-ray images indicate hotter, more energetic areas; these are mainly above sunspot regions. For example, the three images of a sunspot group, shown below show increasing altitude levels:
  1. The first image is the photosphere - taken in visible light - where, in the umbrae, we can see down to the dark (relatively cool) surface of the Sun.  Ions are pouring, diffusely upward, out of the Sun at these locations.
  2. The middle image is taken in ultraviolet light and shows the chromosphere / transition region.
  3. The last panel is an X-ray image showing the violent activity up in the lower corona.  This activity is due to the uncontrolled flooding of accelerating positive ions escaping the Sun from sunspots and colliding with atoms higher in the atmosphere (lower corona). As a result, the corona is a fully ionized plasma.


Figure 6. The effects of +ions flowing out of a sunspot.

Prominences, Flares, and CME's

All of the above discussion applies to the steady-state (or almost steady-state) operation of the Electric Sun. But there are several dynamic phenomena such as flares, prominences, and coronal mass ejections (CME's) that we observe. How are they produced? Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvn, although not aware of the Juergens Electric Sun model, advanced his own theory of how prominences and solar flares are formed electrically.  It is completely consistent with the Juergens model. 

Any electric current, i, creates a magnetic field (the stronger the current - the stronger the magnetic field, and the more energy it contains).  Curved magnetic fields cannot exist without either electrical currents or time varying electric fields.  Energy, Wm, stored in any magnetic field, is given by the expression Wm = 1/2 Li ^2.  If the current, i, is interrupted, the field collapses and its energy must be delivered somewhere.  The magnetic field of the Sun sometimes, and in some places on its surface, forms an 'omega' shaped loop.  This loop extends out through the double sheath layer (DL) of the chromosphere. One of the primary properties of Birkeland currents is that they generally follow magnetic field 'lines'.  A strong looping current will produce a secondary toroidal magnetic field that will surround and try to expand the loop. If the current following the loop becomes too strong, the DL will be destroyed1.  This interrupts the current (like opening a switch in an inductive circuit) and the energy stored in the primary magnetic field is explosively released into space.

e-sun3corona loop

Figure 7. Hannes Alfven's Solar Prominence Circuit                                  Figure 8. TRACE Image of Plasma Loops

It should be well understood (certainly by anyone who has had a basic physics course) that the magnetic field lines that are drawn to describe a magnetic field, have no beginning nor end. They are closed paths. In fact one of Maxwell's famous equations is: "Div B = 0".  Which says exactly that (in the language of vector differential calculus). So when magnetic fields collapse due to the interruption of the currents that produce them, they do not "break" or "merge" and "recombine"2 as some uninformed astronomers have postulated. The field simply collapses (very quickly!).  On the Sun this collapse can release a tremendous amount of energy, and matter is thrown out away from the surface - as with any explosively rapid reaction.  This release is consistent with and predicted by the Electric Sun model as described above. That is how Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) occur.

Note that although astronomers ought to be aware that magnetic fields require electrical currents or time varying E-fields to produce them, currents and E-fields are almost never mentioned in standard models.

1. Double layers can be destroyed by at least two different mechanisms: a) Zener Breakdown - The electric field gradient becomes strong enough to rip all charges away from a region, thus breaking the discharge path; b) Avalanche Breakdown - A literal avalanche occurs wherein all charges are swept away and no conducting charges are left - thus the conducting path is opened.

2. A magnetic field is a continuum.  It is not a set of discrete 'lines'.  Lines are drawn in the classroom to describe the magnetic field (its direction and magnitude). But the lines themselves do not actually exist.  They are simply a pedagogical device.  Proposing that these lines break, merge, and/or recombine is an error (violation of Maxwell's equations) compounded on another error (the lines do not really exist in the first place). Magnetic field lines are analogous to lines of latitude and longitude or topographic lines on a map. They are not discrete entities with nothing in between them - you can draw as many of them as close together as you'd like. And they most certainly do not break, merge, or reconnect any more than lines of latitude do.  Oppositely directed magnetic intensity H-fields simply cancel each other - no energy is stored or released in that event.


This rather lengthy page has actually been the briefest of introductions to Juergens' Electric Sun model - the realization that our Sun functions electrically - that it is a huge electrically charged, relatively quiescent, sphere of ionized gas that supports an electric plasma arc discharge on its surface and is probably powered by subtle currents that move throughout the now well known tenuous plasma that fills our galaxy.  A more detailed description of the ES hypothesis as well as the deficiencies of the standard solar fusion model are presented in The Electric Sky.

Today's orthodox thermonuclear model fails to explain many observed solar phenomena.  The Electric Sun model is inherently predictive of most if not all these observed phenomena.  It is relatively simple.  It is self-consistent.  And it does not require the existence of mysterious entities such as the unseen solar 'dynamo' genie  that lurks somewhere beneath the surface of the fusion model and serves as a fall-back explanation for all observations that are inconvenient for the accepted fusion model. 

Ralph Juergens had the genius to develop the Electric Sun model back in the 1970's.  He based it on the work of others who went before him. His hypothesis, and modern extensions of it have so far passed the harsh tests of observed reality.  They have passed several tests to which the Safire Laboratory team have subjected it. This seminal work may eventually get the recognition it deserves.  Or, of course, others may try to claim it, or parts of it, and hope the world forgets who came up with these ideas first.

There is now enough inescapable evidence that a majority of the phenomena we observe on the Sun are fundamentally electrical in nature.  Ralph Juergens had the vision to recognize that.


Figure 9. Ralph Juergens in 1949.

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