The Cosmic Hand of Destruction

By Phil Plait | April 9, 2009 9:06 am

This picture is so totally freaking cool I have half a mind not to explain, and just make you stare at it and boggle at just how freaking cool it is.

Chandra image of a pulsar nebula

But of course I must explain it!

First off, what is it? Obviously, it’s a giant blue hand reaching for a giant piece of cosmic smoked salmon! Dr. Manhattan must be hungry.

OK, duh, it’s a nebula, a vast structure of gas several light years across and located about 17,000 light years away from Earth. Since this is a Chandra X-ray observatory image the gas must be terribly hot; only the most energetic events can give off X-rays. So what’s heating the gas?

If you look at the wrist of the hand, you’ll see a brighter swirl of gas. In the center of that blob is a tiny object, a neutron star called B1509: an incredibly dense sphere of subatomic particles, leftover when a massive star goes supernova. While the outer layers of the star explode outwards, the core of the star collapses, cramming twice the mass of the Sun into a ball only a few kilometers across. This newly born neutron star — called that because the pressure is so great in the collapsed object that electrons and protons are rammed together to form neutrons — is basically the definition of the word incredible: it spins several times per second, has a surface gravity millions of times that of the Earth (if you were on the surface you’d be crushed flatter than a good science fiction program’s chances to be renewed on Fox), and has a magnetic field 30 trillion times that of the Earth’s.

Egads.

So how does that teeny tiny neutron star form this huge structure?

It’s the magnetic field coupled with the rotation of the star. As it spins, the star sweeps up gas surrounding in its magnetic field. Through complicated processes that, to be honest, are not 100% understood, the star fires this swept-up material out in twin beams from its poles, a bit like a lighthouse, though a million gazilion times stronger.

The gas colored red in this false-color image is from a nebula named RCW 89, which is leftover gas from the original explosion of the supernova that formed the neutron star. It’s close enough to the neutron star that when the beam of matter and energy slam into it, it heats up and glows. The beams are extremely high energy (colored blue in the image), and the gas in RCW 89 doesn’t get quite so hot, so it emits lower-energy X-rays.

But look at the red nebula: see how there are lots of hot spots, arranged in a loop or a horseshoe? It turns out the neutron star isn’t just spinning, it’s also wobbling like a top does as it spins down. This process, called precession, makes the beams point in different directions over time, basically carving out a giant circle in the sky. That loop in the red gas is actually the historic record of where that beam hit the gas over the past millennium! In fact, astronomers could measure how hot those knots of gas are and determine their age, and find that they have been emitting X-rays for a little over 1000 years, consistent with the date of the explosion. In fact, as you go around the loop, each knot is slightly hotter then the next, which is just what you expect from a moving beam heating up the gas.

That also explains the fingers, too: each is a tower of gas heated by the beam as it made its giant sweeping circle in the sky. So not only do they look like fingers, they’re also actually pointing to the knots of gas in RCW 89, the neutron star’s way of saying "You’re next."

The energies involved here are nothing short of mind-numbing. The clumps of gas in RCW 89 are so hot that they are storing the same amount of energy as the Sun gives off in 3 million years. If that really were a giant hand reaching for RCW 89, it better be prepared for a nasty burn.

And of course, the pareidolia aspect of all this is impossible to deny. It does look like a giant blue hand, and it really reminds me of the endoskeleton from a Terminator.

Or maybe I have my scifi shows wrong…

Who Mourns For Adonis? hand and Enterprise

… because now I’m wondering if the Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonis?" was all just a pulsar magnetically-induced nightmare for the Enterprise crew?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (205)

  1. ND

    Nice. I totally forgot about that TOS episode.

  2. You just know this one is going to appear on some Goddidit site, along with “the eye” no doubt, and the screaming headline: ASTRONOMERS SEE GOD!

    Now if only someone could find something that looks like Bat Boy….

  3. Todd W.

    It’s a hand reaching for the “One Bracelet”…so much more powerful than just a ring.

  4. Mike

    Huh… I see a blue-robed Grim Reaper holding aloft a flaming beer keg.

    The neutron star therefore becomes the Glowing Ass of Death.

  5. RAF

    The very first thing I thought of was the ST TOS episode…then I read down the page and saw that you had included it…DOH!

  6. JeffB

    Thanks Phil. Pretty damn cool.

  7. Kourosh

    You know, here’s something I never understood. If a neutron star is made of, well, neutrons, how can it have a magnetic field that strong?

  8. The first thing *I* thought of was Nine Inch Nails ‘Year Zero’ concept album / ARG in which people are affected after seeing “The Pressence,” a giant disembodied ghostly hand seen around the world.

    And SECOND came Star Trek. ;)

  9. Daniel Snyder

    Explain to me why THIS isn’t going to be your tattoo.

    (Unless it will be. ;-)

  10. Dustin

    Of course the fundies will claim this is evidence of God. They’re nothing if not persistent and their ability to turn a truly complex, awe-inspiring natural wonder into a simplistic “goddidit!” moment never fails.

    It reminds me of the time I spent an afternoon with my nephew teaching and showing him our local microbiological flora, only to have his parents try to give me the riot act for filling his head with fantasy. Apparently a father figure in the sky making the world from clay and wishes is ok, but trying to teach a twelve year old about dna, cell membranes, and the like is a no-go.

    This is no different. They’ll latch onto the pareidolia while ignoring the real wonders. They always do.

  11. It was “Who Mourns for Adonais?” btw and, yes, I am that much of a nitpicking nerd.

  12. Darren Garrison
  13. Siphoneuphoria

    I’m starting to be less annoyed that religous folks will claim instances of pareidolia as evidence of a god and more annoyed that people on here feel the need to point out that it will happen… every time. Can we just let it go without saying? It’s implied, okey dokey?

  14. Cheyenne

    @Kourosh – Great question that I never thought of before. Neutrons don’t have a charge so how does the star get such a massive magnetic field?

    I went and used the Google and got this –

    “2. Why does a neutron star have a magnetic field if it is composed of neutrons?

    Excellent question! �The answer is that a neutron star is not *entirely* composed of neutrons. �It also contains some number of protons and electrons (probably about 10% each of the number of neutrons). �It is those particles, which are electrically charged, that can produce currents and therefore sustain a magnetic field.”

  15. Gareth

    So that’s what the Hand of God is up to these days. He’s been a bit quiet since helping Diego Maradona beat England in 1986.

    (Thanks Diego and HoG, btw… ;o) )

  16. It’s Jesus doing a facepalm.

  17. Darth Robo
  18. If this is the Hand of God ™, then why does it only have three fingers and a thumb? Huh? Either we’re all deformed mutants and no longer created in God’s image, or this is really the Hand of Mickey Mouse. I think we should be told.

    Cheers, Julian

    PS. Every astronomical image Phil posts moves me into a more gobsmacked state that we intelligent primates can photograph such wondrous things…

  19. Marshall

    But, if it is 17,000 light years away, we shouldn’t be seeing it for another 11,000 years, right? (yeah, I’m sure no one here has ever used that line before, right?)

  20. So sorry to have offended, Siphoneuphoria, o ye of the apt nom de blog.

  21. IVAN3MAN

    Julian M Bucknall

    If this is the Hand of God™, then why does it only have three fingers and a thumb? Huh?

    Obviously, God is a member of the Yakuza!

  22. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    That, or he’s a cartoon character.

  23. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    And besides, modern yakuza are wimps. They cut the finger off, then pack it in ice and rush off to the hospital to have it reattached. So much for outward signs of bravado.

  24. QUASAR

    A gigantic cosmic hand pareidolia!

  25. Dustin

    @ Siphoneuphoria

    You want your happy little world where this isn’t an issue? Fine, if you can find it. The rest of us have to keep up the battle because, quite frankly, it’s not ending and we’re outnumbered. People don’t stop being idiots just because others stop pointing it out.

  26. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    Is it not that the transgressor in the Yakuza is supposed to hand(!) over the severed finger to his boss?

  27. *waves back at the neutron star*

  28. IVAN3MAN

    @ Siphoneuphoria,

    Dustin is right, you should see the comments section at Universe Today!

  29. Siphoneuphoria

    “You want your happy little world where this isn’t an issue? Fine, if you can find it. The rest of us have to keep up the battle because, quite frankly, it’s not ending and we’re outnumbered”

    Way to charge into battle there, Spartacus. I’m sure that our enemies are quivering in their boots at the sight of your mighty blog post.

    And I never said it wasn’t an issue.

  30. Marshall

    Cosmic Homer Simpson reaching for a Cosmic Doughnut!

    (and my new desktop background!)

  31. rob

    it’s Adam Smith’s invisible hand revealed in x-rays!

  32. I think it is Thing from the Adams Family.

  33. Siphoneuphoria

    I know it’s an issue. I think it is so obviously an issue, it goes without saying.

    Look, I want to fight the good fight as much as they next guy. But appropriating pretty pictures of outerspace for a religious agenda is their business, not ours.

    I think the best thing we can do is to spread the truth about how these amazing things come about outside the framework of a religious discussion.

  34. Brian Schlosser, Lurker

    thats some pretty dang good pareidolia, though… it even looks like finger bones glowing inside…

  35. VAXHeadroom

    Boy what a bunch of theophobes!
    I’m as much as a theologically conservative Christian as you’ll find anywhere, and what do I see? A nebula. A very fraking COOL nebula! Do I think there’s a God? Yep. Is this His Hand? Nope.
    Guys, don’t bash the 2%ers on the idiot end of the spectrum, they aren’t worth your time/effort/blogspace. You wanna bash me, we’ll take it private, this ain’t the forum for it.

  36. Brian Hart

    Don’t stand there gawping, as though you’ve never seen the hand of God before!

  37. has

    if you were on the surface you’d be crushed flatter than a good science fiction program’s chances to be renewed on Fox

    Harsh. Neutron stars aren’t nearly as dense as a Fox exec.

  38. DrFlimmer

    I feel like being on vacation. Such a nice article and the comments are mostly funny and not so idiotic as somewhere else. Thanks a lot!

    UT I’m coming…

  39. Phil E. Drifter

    Glad to see I wasn’t the first who thought of a Simpsons’ hand (thumb pointing right), and it appears to have a 3-fingered claw grappling it’s pinky.

    But in reality, it’s Zenu fighting off all the thetans Tom Cruise and John Travolta are sending to her as they cleanse their bodies with their e-meters.

    And uh…Totally photoshopped. shadows = pixelated.

    /so sorry for that last part, damn you xkcd!

  40. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    … that is so beautiful.

    the “One Bracelet”

    Heh! “One bracelet to create, one bracelet to heat up, one bracelet to show off, and in the darkness find them.”

  41. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    If a neutron star is made of, well, neutrons, how can it have a magnetic field that strong?

    Not an astronomer, but at a guess because the compressive implosion will freeze the existing magnetic field lines in place practically ‘for ever’.

    Also, neutrons, being composed of charged quarks, have an appreciable magnetic moment. It is, not surprisingly, roughly as large as the magnetic moment of its sibling the proton. [But oriented in the other direction with regard to spin – and three orders of magnitude lower than the magnetic moment of an electron.]

    If you can align all those moments, say by a frozen field, you will get a hefty magnet.

  42. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Oh, and I shouldn’t forget (but I just did :-o) that if there is a preexisting magnetic field, an implosion will tend to amplify the field density at the relatively puny surface (or radius) left.

  43. Finally, proof positive that the BA reads my posts. :)

    On a more sciency note, if the red dots are proof of precession of the neutron star’s axis doesn’t that imply a companion mass that causes the precession? Is PSR B1509-58 a binary neutron star system? If not what is causing the rotational precession of the neutron star?

  44. Dexceus

    2 x 2, hands of blue!

  45. I’ve heard it claimed before that the energy output of the pulsar nebula equals the loss in rotational kinetic energy of the rotating neutron star. I’ve never done the calculation before, but it’s never too late to start so…

    The best data I could find is for the Crab Nebula pulsar (PSR B0531+21) which is still one of the most rapidly spinning pulsars known:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_Pulsar

    So we have the following equation for rotational kinetic energy:

    Er = 0.5 * I * omega^2

    where
    Er is rotational kinetic energy in joules,
    I is the moment of inertia in kilogram – meter^2, and
    omega is the angular velocity in radians per second

    For a sphere of uniform density we have:
    I = (2/5) * m * r^2

    where
    m is the mass of the neutron star in kilograms, and
    r is the radius of the neutron star in meters

    Combining the previous two equations yields:

    Er = (1/5) *m * r^2 * omega^2

    But omega = 2*pi / T

    where
    pi = 3.14…, and
    T is the period of rotation in seconds

    So,

    Er = 4*pi^2 * m * r^2 / (5 * T^2)

    Take the derivative with respect to time, t:

    dEr/dt = (-8*pi^2 * m * r^2 / (5 * T^3)) * (dT/dt)

    where
    dT/dt is the rate of period increase per second

    Plugging in some numbers for the Crab Nebula pulsar we have:

    m = 1.4 to 2.0 solar masses = 2.78E30 to 3.98E30 kg
    r = 12.5 km = 1.25E4 meters
    T = 33 milliseconds = 3.3E-2 seconds
    dT/dt = 38 nanoseconds per day = 4.40E-13 seconds per second

    So dEr/dt = -8.40E31 to -1.20E32 watts = -218,000 to -312,000 suns

    The thinking is that this 218,000 to 312,000 solar luminosity decrease in rotational kinetic energy of the pulsar goes into the radiation emission of the Crab Nebula. From various sources it appears that the total luminosity of the Crab Nebula is 75,000 suns, so the calculated number for loss of rotational kinetic energy is 2.9 to 4.1 times too big. It’s in the right ball park but not particularly close.

    Perhaps the difference is accounted for by imperfect efficiency in the conversion of rotational energy into radiation. If so the efficiency would be from about 24 percent to 34 percent, which is actually slightly better than your car’s efficiency in converting chemical energy into mechanical work. Still, I’m a bit puzzled by such low efficiency numbers.

  46. Phil- I believe the correct terminology would be “epic.”

  47. @Tom Marking “so the calculated number for loss of rotational kinetic energy is 2.9 to 4.1 times too big”

    From

    http://hobbes.hs.uni-hamburg.de/Seminar/NS/max_mass.pdf

    Figure 2, page 71 I see that the theoretical density profile for a neutron star has a maximum density of 5.0E14 gm/cm^3 at the center and a dropoff to 2.0E14 gm/cm^3 at a depth of 5 km beneath the surface, then a sharp dropoff to 1.0E11 gm/cm^3 at a depth of 1 km beneath the surface. This will alter the formula for moment of inertia by reducing it substantially. The formula for a sphere of uniform density is not valid. This may account for the factor of 2.9 to 4.1 between the computed loss of rotational energy and the emitted radiation.

  48. MadScientist

    It’s His Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster at work!

  49. MadScientistPatient

    I thought his holy appendages resided in a permanent state of spaghettification in the black hole of Cygnus X-1?

  50. @MadScientistPatient “I thought his holy appendages resided in a permanent state of spaghettification in the black hole of Cygnus X-1?”

    What black hole? Didn’t you hear the news? The EU folks have decided that Cygnus X-1 is a white dwarf. :)

  51. mk

    For those thinking only a bunch of Creationists and “god-did-it” groups will use this for their irrational religion… Sheril over at The Intersection has already cited “genesis”! Ugh. PZ was right about her.

  52. Davidlpf

    I am amazed some of the EU people hane not been here yet.

  53. amphiox

    It reminds me of how I imagined the climax of Greg Bear’s novel, Anvil of Stars.

  54. Pat

    “Perhaps the difference is accounted for by imperfect efficiency in the conversion of rotational energy into radiation.”

    Indeed, the spin-down energy of a pulsar does go into more than just the observed radiation. The pulsar generates a wind of energetic particles (electrons and positrons, as far as we know, though there could be ions as well) and magnetic flux. These make up the nebula we observe. The particles radiate as they move through the magnetic field, so that radiation is certainly part of the energy budget. But the particles themselves are very energetic and comprise a significant fraction of the energy. The magnetic field also represents a fraction of the energy. Finally, the expanding nebula sweeps up surrounding material into a fast-moving shell, and the kinetic energy of this shell also came from the pulsar spin-down energy.

  55. Bionicjoe

    Does anyone else notice this looks like the two-thumbed hand from Gonzo?
    Hunter S. Thompson spotted flying through space.
    “We can’t stop here. This is a bat nebula.”

  56. CF

    “As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The
    hand is your hand. And I hear sounds. The sounds of billions of people calling your name.”

    “My followers?”

    “Your victims.”

    [Elric, and Londo Mollari, “The Geometry of Shadows”, _Babylon 5_]

  57. Holy crap, it’s Master Hand being controlled by Tabuu! (Click name for explanation.)

  58. See? (Click name for evidence!)

    …Why yes, I do play a lot of video games, why do you ask? >.>

  59. I find the “God-Did-It-Folks” Post laughable above.

    Anyone with a mind can acknowledge the AWE of this nebula. The image is wonderful.

    But – if you really want something to give evidence of God… you don’t need to look into the heavens – though you can. You don’t need to look at the world or the human body – though you can.

    For a real treat: Learn how complex and PERFECT “Atoms” and their parts are – then tell me they just “happened that way”.

    –Jason

  60. chris

    Such tiny, tiny minds. All in one place too!

    I suppose the most amazing thing is how many of the participants here automatically think you must divorce God from Science. When you think about it, that’s a most unscientific approach. Most of the world’s greatest Scientists not only acknowledged God but believed in him. Your cheap, sarcastic, vacuous comments advance neither Science or the search for ultimate truth.

    If you are a true Scientist then the truth should set you free, not scare you into a huddled group
    of people who are prepared to follow the evidence PROVIDING it is not to God (or even intelligent design from any cause just in case!)

    If you have the guts, go to : http://creation.com/

    Check the references, do the Science, find the real truth without sheepish peer group crap like this.

  61. Guy

    If you were on the surface of a neutron star you would be crushed to your most basic atoms, these atoms would almost be identical to those already in the neutron star (yes its gravity is that immense)

  62. @Tom Marking:

    Dude, I think you forgot to carry a two somewhere…

  63. stmaps

    how does a ball of neutrons have a magnetic feild?

  64. @Pat “Indeed, the spin-down energy of a pulsar does go into more than just the observed radiation. The pulsar generates a wind of energetic particles (electrons and positrons, as far as we know, though there could be ions as well) and magnetic flux. These make up the nebula we observe. The particles radiate as they move through the magnetic field, so that radiation is certainly part of the energy budget. But the particles themselves are very energetic and comprise a significant fraction of the energy. The magnetic field also represents a fraction of the energy. Finally, the expanding nebula sweeps up surrounding material into a fast-moving shell, and the kinetic energy of this shell also came from the pulsar spin-down energy.”

    All of those are valid points. It’s amazing to me how a simple physics calculation can even get in the approximate ball park in terms of matching spin-down energy and luminosity of the nebula. All of the detailed mechanisms for where the loss of rotational kinetic energy ends up are immensely complicated but you can get a good sense of the magnitude of the overall process via simple algebra and calculus.

    Also, concerning the pulsar in question (PSR B1509-58) there is apparently a discrepancy between the estimated spin-down age of the pulsar (~1,700 years) and the age of the overall supernova remnant (MSH15-52) which is thought to be several times older (due to the size of the nebula?). In any case the authors of the following paper account for this discrepancy by considering clumps of high density circumstellar material (perhaps the red dots in the picture?).

    http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=article&access=standard&Itemid=129&url=/articles/aa/full/2001/28/aah2847/aah2847.right.html

    I haven’t been able to find any evidence for a close gravitational companion to PSR B1509-58 to account for the alleged precession of the rotational axis. Maybe it’s not precession but rather the chaotic motion of the rotational axis in response to far-away gravitational bodies.

  65. Mike

    First of all, it is composed of electro conductive plasma not gas. Ninety nine plus percent of all matter in the universe exists in a plasma state. The reason it’s giving off Xrays is because cosmic scale Birkeland currents of electricity are coursing through the nebula, producing Xrays the same way we routinely do here on planet Earth. We live in an electric universe, neutron stars, black holes, dark matter and such mathematical flights of fancy have been hypothesized because astronomers still subscribe to the gas light era misconception that space is a vacuum and gravity is the main player in cosmic dynamics. The reality is that you shouldn’t devise equations where you divide by zero (black holes) and the electric force is 39 orders of magnitude (a thousand billion billion billion billion times) stronger than the gravitational force, that’s a one followed by 39 zeros! A small magnet can overcome the gravitational force of the entire earth and make a paper clip jump up off the table. But huge discrepancies in the Standard Model are insufficient to make professional astronomers leap to the realization that space is not electrically neutral. Check out http://www.holoscience.com for post gaslight era cosmology, it’s not a gas, it’s plasma!

  66. Cha Ching

    I guess God “gets lonely” too sometimes..

    Yes, I went there.

  67. Circus Ugly

    Oh, please. Photoshop.

  68. m

    Because neutrons individually have spin and thus a magnetic field (they aren’t charged particles but they do have a magnetic field). In a pulsar or magnetar these individual magnetic dipoles are aligned to a high degree and add up to a very large overall magnetic field.

  69. Some more information on PSR B1509-58 which is the pulsar in question. It has a period of 150.989037 milliseconds or 6.623 rotations per second. The period is increasing at 128.7 nanoseconds per day (3.5 times the value of the Crab Nebula pulsar) which is the fastest decay rate measured for any pulsar. So far the main head scratcher appears to be how can a pulsar which is decaying this fast (indicating a very young age) be matched with a supernova remnant so big (150 light-years) indicating an old age of tens of thousands of years.

    @stmaps “how does a ball of neutrons have a magnetic feild?”

    That’s a very good question and one that we probably don’t know a detailed answer for. Keep in mind that a free neutron in space will decay into a proton and electron with a half-life of about 10.5 minutes. It is only the intense gravitational pressure that keeps these neutrons in place. But there must be some that escape the surface and go into space where they decay, thus providing the charged particles needed to form the pulsar wind. These charged particles may actually produce the magnetic field or perhaps there is partial decay of neutrons within the neutron star itself that gives rise to an internal dynamo producing the magnetic field.

  70. Killtacular

    I, personally, don’t get it. According to the Bible, No one may look upon god and come out unscathed. Note that god isn’t capitalized..I don’t particularly believe in him, her, it, to be honest.

    So why do all the religious Zealots think that some random nebuli is the actual hand of god, or the eye of god, for that matter? If those of such a religious faith believe in the “word of god”, then they would “know” that neither of these occurences are the genuine article. NOBODY sees god. NOBODY. To see him in all his glory would burn and blind you, according to the written word.

    So I say to all of the religious zealots. Get real. Stop trying to make every odd little coincidence out to be some false divinity and just enjoy it for what it is and don’t ruin it for everyone else.

    It’s worse than that episode of trading Spouses where the christian woman switches with an atheist and tries to convert SOMEONE ELSE’S FAMILY, fails, and gets all butthurt over it.

    Intolerance sucks as a whole, to be honest. god supposedly denounces intolerance, yet, in every bible I’ve ever read, it appears he is jealous and vengeful against anyone who doesn’t believe in him. This instills, in me, a sense that god is vain. Vanity is sinful in the eyes of christians and god, so this makes god a hypocrite. Therefore, god is sinful and imperfect, like a chat room admin who doesn’t follow his own rules and expects everyone else to follow them without question.

    ALso, when it comes to Christ himself, where are the missing 12 years of his life? You’d think that someone of such religious importance wouldn’t go missing for a full decade unless something was going on in his life that people would not want to include in the written word of a man who’s supposed to be absolutely perfect in every way. I believe Jesus existed, but I don’t believe he was some divine son of an almighty creator. I believe he was just a good man centures ahead of his time. A healer. He spoke of tolerance, kindness, and compassion for your fellow man.

    There have been many people who were ahead of their time by leaps and bounds. Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Issac Newton…yet none of them are revered in a fanatical religious context.

    And another thing, while we’re on the subject of religion….

    WHy is it, exactly, that most CHristians are intolerant of any Pagan belief systems, yet they use many pagan beliefs in their holidays?

    SInce when is Easter all about eggs, candy, and bunny rabbits made of chocolate?

    Rabbits are revered in Pagan beliefs because of their rapid reproduction rates

    The Egg is revered in Pagan beliefs as the source of life.

    Both of these pagan beliefs somehow made it into a christian holiday and yet, nobody has ever been able to tell me why.

    St. Patricks day isn’t supposed to be about wearing green and drinking booz all day, but apparently christians don’t have a problem with that.

    So to those christians who believe that Halloween is a vile and evil day because of it’ pagan ties, shut your hole and practice what you preach. Stop using pagan beliefs in your holidays if you want to be taken seriously.

    Also, as a last minute entry, here’s a major poser for you.

    if Incest is sin, and Adam and Eve were the source of mankind (after their creation by god, of course), and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, then aren’t we all committing incest? Aren’t we all related if we are all spawned of Adam and Eve?

    I’ll say this much, Christians have a very odd belief system that is just chock full of blank spaces and hypocritical backwards double-talk.

    The bible cuts its own tongue far too often to be taken literally. Not to mention, it was written by man, an imperfect being. Imagine that..an imperfect being trying to write a book that is supposed to imprint mankind with a sense that perfection is possible…IF you’re the son of god.

    Now, dont’ get me wrong, I know many wonderful christians who don’t take their beliefs so far that they alienate or try to convert those who are not of any faith or of another faith entirely. These people are wonderful conversationalists and I have several christian friends.

    And no, I’m not saying ALL christians are insane..just the majority who give the rest of the faith a bad name/image. Like the lady on Trading Spouses…what a crackpot.

  71. IVAN3MAN

    Phil Plait, I suggest that you read this: Censorship

    :roll:

  72. Ivan3man, you know I like you, but I suggest you read this. Flipping off commenters here would be a violation of my policy.

  73. @m “Because neutrons individually have spin and thus a magnetic field (they aren’t charged particles but they do have a magnetic field). In a pulsar or magnetar these individual magnetic dipoles are aligned to a high degree and add up to a very large overall magnetic field.”

    Yep, that appears to be correct. Neutrons have their own magnetic moment. If I ever knew that before it seems I had forgotten about it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_magnetic_moment

    “The neutron magnetic moment is the magnetic moment of the neutron. It was of particular interest, as magnetic moments are created by the movement of electric charges. Since the neutron is a neutral particle, the magnetic moment is an indication of substructure, i.e. that the neutron is made of other, electrically charged particles (quarks).

    The neutron magnetic moment of neutrons is measured to be −1.9130427 μN, where μN is the nuclear magneton. In SI units, the neutron magnetic moment is approximately −9.662364E-27 joules/tesla.”

    So you don’t need anything fancy to get yourself a magnetic field, just a big glob of neutrons which is what a neutron star is. My previous interpretation of where the pulsar wind comes from may still be valid which was – neutrons get ejected into outer space at the surface of the neutron star. They spontaneously decay via Beta decay into protons and electrons which then interact with the magnetic field.

    There still might be some type of dynamo action since magnetars (neutron stars with extremely intense magnetic fields) get their energy from the decay of a magnetic field. It’s hard to see how the aggregate magnetic field from a group of neutrons can decay over time.

  74. haha…It really does look like a blue hand. Beautiful photograph

  75. IVAN3MAN

    @ Phil Plait,

    O.K., Phil, your blog, your rules; no hard feelings on my part. It’s just that I’m somewhat wound up because of “Electric Universe” pseudoscience trolls (yeah, the usual suspects: Anaconda and OilIsMastery!) on Universe Today, spoiling an otherwise excellent web-site. I’m sure you understand!

  76. IVAN3MAN

    Tom Marking:

    Yep, that appears to be correct. Neutrons have their own magnetic moment. If I ever knew that before it seems I had forgotten about it…

    That’s what I had tried to tell Anaconda on the “Galaxies Grow From Black Hole Seeds” thread a while back, with several links to Wikipedia, but the stupid bird brain just ignored them, and he is now regurgitating the same “Electric Universe” rhetorical rubbish onto the Universe Today comments section like a bloody sick parrot!

  77. @ Ivan:

    A bloody parrot that’s passed on! Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If it hadn’t been nailed to its perch it would be pushing up the daisies. It has ceased to be, gone to meet its maker and joined the bleeding choir invisible! It…is…an…ex-parrot!

    Well, in one’s dreams, anyway.

  78. Lance Bergstrom

    Nothing material has ever proved the existence of a Higher Power. I won’t say that someone sometime will never be able to do this. I do not know.

    What I do know from reading the comments here is that a whole bunch of people are angry at Religious institutions because of some of the people in them. It is like being angry at a forest because a few of the trees have poisonous sap. You can concentrate on the material, quantifiable aspects of all that surrounds you all you want. I have no issue with that. But, when atheists and agnostic people badger those with other belief systems you simply become the poison-sap trees within your own “religious institution.”

    Even atheists and agnostic people can be nice and follow some semblance of ethics. The Golden Rule seems fairly ethical to me. But one could argue that it is moral and that morals change with the times. I would tend to find this person to be a post-modern narcissist. But, I probably would talk to him or her. At least until I needed to go to the bathroom or get something to eat or sleep or talk to someone who can actually be my friend at some point in the future.

    If it were not for the human brain and it’s almost obsessive wanting to make meaning, (Yes, I know it is the brain cells doing this with neuro-transmitters and other chemicals. And yes, I realize that I am anthropomorphizing the human brain. I am pretty sure that will not stop the flames, but hey I tried.) no one would be spending any money to look at the stars in the first place. And some other species would be a heck of a lot smarter than us. And probably farming us out and cooking us over open flames in the summer.

    Have fun talking about neutrons. It really is fascinating to me. And that is not sarcasm. None of this post was. Some was tongue in cheek poking, admittedly. Fabulous picture. I think I can see a blue hand. When I look at my own hand the complexity there is quite literally fathomless too. Or is it? I just don’t know.

    God Bless

  79. Maybe he wamted to something else in life.
    (click my name)

  80. DrFlimmer

    I was waiting for such a comment all the time….. I can forsee…. the dark side of the force is back. But enough of it…

    @Tom and Ivan

    I think that, next to the magnetic field of the neutrons, there are also some free floating charged particles on the surface of the neutron star. They can also contribute to the magnetic field of the neutron star. That’s what I heard somewhere ;)
    But it’s still interesting that the neutrons are so perfectly aligned in a neutron star to creat such enormous fields. But probably this is an explanation why we have magnetars (believe it or not, OIM used this name himself) and “normal” neutron stars. It could depend on the grade of alignment.

  81. @ DrFlimmer, and @ Tom Marking,

    You guys may find this interesting; it’s an extract from an article (click on my name for the link) on…

    The Guts of a Neutron Star

    [I]magine starting at the surface of a neutron star and burrowing your way down. The surface gravity is about 10^11 times Earth’s, and the magnetic field is about 10^12 Gauss, which is enough to completely mess up atomic structure: for example, the ground state binding energy of hydrogen rises to 160 eV in a 10^12 Gauss field, versus 13.6 eV in no field. In the atmosphere and upper crust, you have lots of nuclei, so it isn’t primarily neutrons yet. At the top of the crust, the nuclei are mostly iron 56 and lighter elements, but deeper down the pressure is high enough that the equilibrium atomic weights rise, so you might find Z=40, A=120 elements eventually. At densities of 10^6 g/cm^3 the electrons become degenerate, meaning that electrical and thermal conductivities are huge because the electrons can travel great distances before interacting.

    Deeper yet, at a density around 4×10^11 g/cm^3, you reach the “neutron drip” layer. At this layer, it becomes energetically favorable for neutrons to float out of the nuclei and move freely around, so the neutrons “drip” out. Even further down, you mainly have free neutrons, with a 5%-10% sprinkling of protons and electrons. As the density increases, you find what has been dubbed the “pasta-antipasta” sequence. At relatively low (about 10^12 g/cm^3) densities, the nucleons are spread out like meatballs that are relatively far from each other. At higher densities, the nucleons merge to form spaghetti-like strands, and at even higher densities the nucleons look like sheets (such as lasagna). Increasing the density further brings a reversal of the above sequence, where you mainly have nucleons but the holes form (in order of increasing density) anti-lasagna, anti-spaghetti, and anti-meatballs (also called Swiss cheese).

    When the density exceeds the nuclear density 2.8×10^14 g/cm^3 by a factor of 2 or 3, really exotic stuff might be able to form, like pion condensates, lambda hyperons, delta isobars, and quark-gluon plasmas.

    [Picture of the interior of a Neutron Star]


  82. BJ

    It’s Andross! (Star Fox anyone?)

  83. It turns out that each pulsar has a characteristic parameter called the breaking index (although I don’t know why it’s not called the braking index) which determines how quickly it slows down. In the case of the pulsar in question, PSR B1509-58, the breaking index is 2.839. Given the breaking index, the current pulse period, and the current decay rate of the pulse period, you can compute the complete history of the pulsar from the time right after it was formed from a supernova to any date in the future. In the case of PSR B1509-58 the theoretical age is ~1,700 years which means it was formed in ~300 CE. Of course, this assumes it has been following the standard model of pulsar period decay which there is some doubt about.

    In any case, right after it was formed the pulsar was spinning 48 times per second and it was losing rotational energy at the rate of 19 million suns. Currently it is spinning 6.6 times per second and losing just 9,700 suns of energy so it is 1,900 times dimmer than when it was first born. One thousand years from now it will be spinning only 5.2 times per second and losing 3,800 suns of energy so it will be 2.5 times fainter than it is now. Eventually it won’t have enough power to light up the “hand” we see today.

    *****************************************************
    Program to compute the rotational slowing of a pulsar
    Pulsar name = PSR_B1509-58
    Maximum time for the simulation = 1000 years
    Current period of the pulsar = 150.989 milliseconds
    Current decay rate of period = 128.736 nanoseconds/day = 1.49E-12 seconds/second
    Breaking index of the pulsar = 2.839
    Mass of the pulsar = 1.75 solar masses
    Radius of the pulsar = 12.50 km
    Moment of inertia of the pulsar = 2.18E38 kg-m^2
    Age of the pulsar = 1,700 years

    Year ……. Period ….. Freq …… Decay …… Energy loss
    ………… (msec) ….. (hertz) … (ns/day) … (suns)

    300 CE ….. 20.929 ….. 47.78 ….. 675.65 ….. 1.90E7
    500 CE ….. 52.027 ….. 19.22 ….. 314.71 ….. 5.78E5
    1000 CE …. 95.093 ….. 10.52 ….. 189.74 ….. 5.70E4
    1500 CE …. 125.682 …. 7.96 …… 150.16 ….. 1.95E4
    1900 CE …. 146.224 …. 6.84 …… 132.25 ….. 1.09E4
    2000 CE …. 150.989 …. 6.62 …… 128.74 ….. 9.67E3
    2100 CE …. 155.631 …. 6.43 …… 125.51 ….. 8.61E3
    2500 CE …. 173.146 …. 5.78 …… 114.76 ….. 5.71E3
    3000 CE …. 193.142 …. 5.18 …… 104.71 ….. 3.76E3

  84. Here is the same simulation for the Crab Nebula pulsar which formed from a supernova explosion in 1054 CE. Today the pulsar is spinning 30 times per second but right after it formed it was spinning almost twice as fast, 52 times per second. Its breaking index is 2.509 which is slightly less than the breaking index of PSR B1509-58. Today the pulsar is losing 250,000 suns worth of rotational kinetic energy but right after formation this value was 7 times higher. One thousand years from now the pulsar will be spinning 22 times per second and losing 85,000 suns of rotational kinetic energy.

    The current energy loss of the Crab Nebula pulsar is 26 times greater than the energy loss of PSR B1509-58. That’s because the Crab pulsar is younger, 946 years old (for an epoch of 2000 CE) instead of 1,700 years old. Interestingly enough, PSR B1509-58 has a higher period decay rate (129 nanoseconds per day) than the Crab Nebula pulsar (36 nanoseconds per day).

    *****************************************************
    Program to compute the rotational slowing of a pulsar
    Pulsar name = Crab_Nebula
    Maximum time for the simulation = 1000 years
    Current period of the pulsar = 33.403 milliseconds
    Current decay rate of period = 36.374 nanoseconds/day = 4.21E-13 seconds/second
    Breaking index of the pulsar = 2.509
    Mass of the pulsar = 1.75 solar masses
    Radius of the pulsar = 12.50 km
    Moment of inertia of the pulsar = 2.18E38 kg-m^2
    Age of the pulsar = 946 years

    Year …….. Period ….. Freq …… Decay ….. Energy loss
    …………. (msec) ….. (hertz) … (ns/day) .. (suns)

    1054 CE ….. 19.159 ….. 52.19 ….. 48.27 ….. 1.77E6
    1100 CE ….. 19.962 ….. 50.10 ….. 47.27 ….. 1.54E6
    1200 CE ….. 21.652 ….. 46.18 ….. 45.36 ….. 1.15E6
    1300 CE ….. 23.278 ….. 42.96 ….. 43.71 ….. 8.96E5
    1500 CE ….. 26.369 ….. 37.92 ….. 41.03 ….. 5.78E5
    1900 CE ….. 32.061 ….. 31.19 ….. 37.14 ….. 2.91E5
    2000 CE ….. 33.403 ….. 29.94 ….. 36.37 ….. 2.52E5
    2100 CE ….. 34.719 ….. 28.80 ….. 35.67 ….. 2.20E5
    2500 CE ….. 39.748 ….. 25.16 ….. 33.29 ….. 1.37E5
    3000 CE ….. 45.613 ….. 21.92 ….. 31.04 ….. 8.45E4

  85. @IVAN3MAN “That’s what I had tried to tell Anaconda on the “Galaxies Grow From Black Hole Seeds” thread a while back, with several links to Wikipedia, but the stupid bird brain just ignored them, and he is now regurgitating the same “Electric Universe” rhetorical rubbish onto the Universe Today comments section like a bloody sick parrot!”

    Don’t worry. I’ve been steadily working over the last month or so to deduce the EU debate flow chart. I think I’ve got it pretty much figured out. It goes something like this:

    ELECTRIC UNIVERSE DEBATE FLOWCHART

    1.)
    Assert: EU explains the entire universe.
    Objection: What about gravity?
    Next step: 2

    2.)
    Assert: Electromagnetism is 1.0E39 times stronger than gravity.
    Objection: EM charges can cancel out. Gravity has a single charge.
    Next step: 3

    3.)
    Assert: Electromagnetism is 1.0E39 times stronger than gravity.
    Objection: Hey!, you didn’t respond to my last objection.
    Next step: 4

    4.)
    Assert: You gravity-only people are so stupid. You don’t believe in
    electric currents in space.
    Objection: We believe in electric currents in space.
    Next step: 5

    5.)
    Assert: You deny the existence of Birkeland currents in outer space.
    Objection: What is your definition of a Birkeland current?
    Next step: 6

    6.)
    Assert: A Birkeland current is a Z-pinch.
    Objection: What is your definition of a Z-pinch?
    Next step: 7

    7.)
    Assert: A Z-pinch is a Birkeland current.
    Objection: Say, why doesn’t EU have any quantifiable predictions?
    Next step: 8

    8.)
    Assert: Because plasma phenomena can scale to 18 orders of magnitude.
    Objection: What does that mean? What are the scaling laws?
    Next step: 9

    9.)
    Assert: Dr. Anthony Peratt is my hero. He’s a very smart guy. Why else
    would he work at Los Alamos National Laboratories?
    Objection: I have 8 specific objections to the Peratt galaxy formation model. Will you address them?
    Next step: 10

    10.)
    Assert: (no response)
    Objection: Hey, what’s up with that? You didn’t address my objections.
    Next step: 11

    11.)
    Assert: Black holes are stupid. Dark matter is stupid. I can’t believe you
    guys believe in that stuff.
    Objection: Why don’t you believe in black holes?
    Next step: 12

    12.)
    Assert: Because they involve an infinite density which is impossible.
    Objection: What about the gravastar solution which has no singularity?
    Next step: 13

    13.)
    Assert: Black holes are stupid. So is the Big Bang.
    Objection: What do you have against the Big Bang theory?
    Next step: 14

    14.)
    Assert: Space can’t expand, dude! Space is infinite.
    Objection: So you accept infinity in the case of space as a whole but reject
    infinity for a black hole? What’s up with that?
    Next step: 15

    15.)
    Assert: 99.9999% of the universe is plasma.
    Objection: How did you calculate that number?
    Next step: 16

    16.)
    Assert: Double layers are important. Double layers can do anything.
    Objection: What is a double layer?
    Next step: 17

    17.)
    Assert: A double layer is a plasmoid. It can do almost anything.
    Objection: What is a plasmoid?
    Next step: 18

    18.)
    Assert: A plasmoid is a Birkeland current.
    Objection: Where is your evidence for Birkeland currents connecting stars?
    Next step: 19

    19.)
    Assert: My evidence is the solar wind.
    Objection: The solar wind only flows outward from the sun. Where is the inward current?
    Next step: 20

    20.)
    Assert: Your all-encompassing gravity-only theory is a crock. General relativity is a mathematical abstraction with no experimental proof.
    Objection: GR has made numerous predictions that have been verified experimentally.
    Next step: 21

    21.)
    Assert: EU can make the same predictions as GR and with better accuracy.
    Objection: Give me one specific quantifiable EU prediction.
    Next step: 22

    22.)
    Assert: Wallace Thornhill is my hero. He’s a smart guy for an Aussie.
    Objection: Where’s my one specific quantifiable EU prediction?
    Next step: 23

    23.)
    Assert: Venus used to be a comet.
    Objection: What a crock! Where’s your evidence for that?
    Next step: 24

    24.)
    Assert: I win the debate. You haven’t answered any of my questions or provided any evidence.
    Objection: You EUers are a bunch of looney tunes.
    Next step: 1

    :)

  86. @ Tom Marking:

    It took you 24 steps to come to that conclusion? :O

  87. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tom Marking,

    A bloody good assessment of the EU/PC ‘debate’, but you left out the one question, that I had asked of EU/PC proponents at Universe Today, which gets them flummoxed: What is the source of those “Birkeland currents” which ‘power’ the Sun?

  88. the one watching you all make a fool of yourselves from the corner

    these comments are the funniest i’ve seen, they have everything,religious debates, random nonsense, ppl who are nitpickily discussing every single facet, those who think it’s shopped, and the few ones here who ignore it all and just look at the picture, i mean, seriously, it’s beautiful

  89. Ivan click my name for on why the explain stars.

  90. it was suppose to read “for how some of them explain stars.”

  91. Todd W.

    @Tom Marking

    That was a brilliant, and highly amusing, summary of an EU/PC-infected thread.

  92. @ the Watcher:

    We all know it’s beautiful. Goes without saying, wouldn’t you say?

  93. IVAN3MAN

    @ Davidlpf,

    Exactly my point to those EU/PC ignoramuses (ignoring evidence): If “huge electric currents” allegedly power the Sun, and that “stars are not thermonuclear engines”, then WTF drives those bloody “Birkeland currents” to ‘power’ the Sun and other stars in the first place?

    Those EU/PC proponents are a bunch of berks! (See cockney rhyming slang for the true meaning.)

  94. @IVAN3MAN “Exactly my point to those EU/PC ignoramuses (ignoring evidence): If “huge electric currents” allegedly power the Sun, and that “stars are not thermonuclear engines”, then WTF drives those bloody “Birkeland currents” to ‘power’ the Sun and other stars in the first place?”

    It must be the double layer. As you know, a double layer can do anything. :)

  95. DrFlimmer

    @ (almost) ALL

    Thanks for the information and especially TOM MARKING for that great summary.

    And it’s right, double layers are the ultimate solution. And how do they get their energy? What powers them?

    Ah, I know… Birkeland currents.

    Perpetuum mobile, I say.

  96. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tom Marking,

    Yeah, it’s the same with creationist/ID proponents; ask them where “God” came from and/or who designed the ‘designer’, they reply: ‘Oh, er… He/It is outside of time… He/It has always existed.’ :roll:

  97. IVAN3MAN

    @ DrFlimmer,

    Err… actually, it’s Perpetual Motion, not “Perpetuum mobile”. :-)

  98. Jay Clark

    Sad to see everyone ‘bent on destruction’, rather than an image of creation, or something more positive. Pull your heads out of the dark side folks and just enjoy nature’s wonders. God of your understanding or not, photoshopped or not, look at the trend in commentary=O :(

  99. @DrFlimmer “Thanks for the information and especially TOM MARKING for that great summary. And it’s right, double layers are the ultimate solution. And how do they get their energy? What powers them? Ah, I know… Birkeland currents. Perpetuum mobile, I say.”

    Actually, there have been many folks who have debunked this BS over the years. One of the most thorough thrashings of EU pseudoscience came from a guy named Tim Thompson about 10 years ago:

    http://www.tim-thompson.com/electric-sun.html#hypothesis

    He tears Thornhill a new posterior.

    Leaving aside the ultimate energy source (which I agree is a BIG, BIG problem it is easy to refute the whole thing). The EU folks like to hide behind their lack of quantification but from the few bits and pieces I’ve been able to tease together here are some of the numbers:

    Voltage of the sun relative to the rest of the universe = +1.0E10 volts

    Since we know that the power of the sun is a constant 3.85E26 watts we can approximate this by the simple DC power formula:

    P (watts) = V (voltage) * I (amps)

    So I = P / V = 3.85E16 amps

    The radius of the sun is 6.96E8 meters which means its cross-sectional area is 1.52E18 square meters. If we equate the power emitted by the sun with the power of the incoming Birkeland current (made up of electrons attracted to the sun’s positive charge) then the current density of the Birkeland current is 0.025 amps per square meter. The number represents what Don Scott and others call the “electrical stress”.

    Apparently Ralph Juergens, the founder of EU, left some notes after his death in which he claimed the incoming Birkeland current moves at 105 meters per second and is composed of 50,000 electrons per cubic meter. Now an electron has a charge of -1.60E-19 coulombs so 50,000 of them per cubic meter = 8.0E-15 coulombs/m^3. Multiply by 105 m/s gives 8.4E-13 amps/m^2 which is a factor of 30 billion lower than what it should be (0.025 amps/m^2). So just on the basic facts of matching the sun’s luminosity the EU hypothesis fails badly by more than 9 orders of magnitude.

    To be continued… (She who MUST be obeyed is calling :) )

  100. DrFlimmer

    @ Ivan3man

    Indeed. Since “my version” sounds latin and is used in Germany, I though it would be used everywhere, too. So I didn’t check it out. Thanks for correcting ;)

  101. DrFlimmer

    @ Tom Marking.

    I made such a claculation myself. Taking the potential difference of 10^10 V, it means that there is a tremendous electric field. Since an electric field (in contrast to magnetic fields) accelerates particles along its field lines, the electrons entering the sun should have speeds of about 99,99999% of c. That’s just due to the elctric field between the sun and the interstellar medium. But, instead, there is supposed to be a “slower” drift current. Why, I wonder.
    I could go on asking the typical follow-up-questions, but I think, we all know them.

  102. Using the higher number, this 25 milliamps falling on each square meter of the sun’s surface causes that square meter to emit 63 million watts of energy and heat up to 5,800 Kelvin. 25 milliamps is probably less current than what your pocket cell phone is using.

    We now compute the resistance which is voltage (1.0E10 volts) divided by current (3.85E16 amps) or 2.6E-7 ohms. So the entire sun offers only one fourth of a micro-ohm of electrical resistance. The formula for conductivity is:

    sigma = L / (R * A) where L is the length of the conductor (meters), R is the resistance (ohms), and A is the cross-section area (square meters). Using 2*r for L where r is the radius of the sun and pi*r^2 for A we get:

    sigma = 2 / (pi * r * R) = 0.0035 siemens per meter

    By contrast a good electrical conductor (e.g., silver) has a conductivity of 63 million simens per meter. Sea water has a conductivity of 4.8 siemens per meter. The sun is supposed to be a plasma under the EU hypothesis and plasmas have high electrical conductivities. Why then does EU compute an electrical conductivity for the sun which is millions of times lower than conductors on the earth?

  103. IVAN3MAN

    Tom Marking:

    Actually, there have been many folks who have debunked this BS over the years. One of the most thorough thrashings of EU pseudoscience came from a guy named Tim Thompson about 10 years ago…

    Actually, I did provide a link to that web-site by Tim Thompson, on the “Galaxies Grow From Black Hole Seeds” thread, for Anaconda (EU/PC nutter) to peruse, but (yeah, you guessed it) he totally ignored it! :roll:

  104. DrFlimmer

    Why then does EU compute an electrical conductivity for the sun which is millions of times lower than conductors on the earth?

    This point is really interesting.
    But those guys would counter that the sun does not need to conduct the current. It must absorb the current in order to “get” its energy.

    Hm. I’m asking myself: Those guys need fusion (on the surface) for the neutrinos. But if they say, well, there is fusion taking place – why can’t it happen in the core, it it happen on the surface? Maybe I can get an answer from them at UT.

  105. Amalekite

    Someone’s probably already said this but :

    Babylon-5 – “a Great Hand reaching out from the stars …” ;-)

  106. Amalekite

    Not the electric universe people again .. Sigh. :roll:

  107. Amalekite

    Awesome photo though .. Thanks, Bad Astronomer. 8)

  108. ND

    The EU people are still promoting the idea that nuclear fusion is not taking place inside the sun because we’re only seeing 1/3 of the predicted neutrinos. Despite the recent developments in neutrino detections.

    Another favourite tactic is to brush off new ideas and changes in theories because of new observations as ad hoc. For example, the idea that neutrinos from the sun change flavors is brushed off as ad-hoc. My understanding is that the neutrino oscillations were theorised before the “missing neutrinos” from the sun were discovered and that the detectors that showed this issue could only detect one type of neutrino.

  109. Amalekite

    Knew it! ;-)

    @ CF : (April 10th, 2009 at 4:19 am)

    “As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds. The sounds of billions of people calling your name.”

    “My followers?”

    “Your victims.”

    [Elric, and Londo Mollari, “The Geometry of Shadows”, _Babylon 5_]

    Now that’s the line I was thinking of!

    Thanks for refreshing my memory! :-D

  110. IVAN3MAN

    DrFlimmer:

    Since [Perpetuum mobile] sounds latin and is used in Germany, I though[t] it would be used everywhere, too.

    Actually, according to Wikipedia, perpetuum mobile is a musical term which means:

    * 1. pieces of music, or parts of pieces, characterised by a continuous steady stream of notes, usually at a rapid tempo.
    * 2. whole pieces, or large parts of pieces, which are to be played repeatedly, often an indefinite number of times.

    Stay tuned for more useless information from me! :-P

  111. An electron has a mass of 9.11E-31 kg. If it moves at 105 meters per second it has a kinetic energy of 5.02E-27 joules. If you have 50,000 of them per cubic meter then that means the energy density is 2.51E-22 joules per cubic meter and the power flux is 2.64E-20 watts per square meter. The cross-section area of the sun is 1.52E18 square meters so the total power absorbed by the sun from the Birkeland current is 0.04 watts.

    0.04 watts! You must be joking. The sun puts out 3.85E26 watts of energy. EU can account for 1 part in 10 thousand trillion trillion of this power. How’s that for accuracy? EU is only off by 28 orders of magnitude.

  112. Now, we all know that in the real universe the absorption of 25 milliamps per square meter (or perhaps 0.84 picoamps per square meter) cannot cause matter to heat up to 5,800 Kelvin and emit 63 million watts per square meter. But what if it could? What would happen to planets, moons, asteroids, comets, etc. that pass through the beam of the Birkeland current? Wouldn’t they also heat up to thousands of degrees and become just like the surface of the sun?

    Since the energy comes from outside any object passing through the beam would experience the same heating as the sun. So this is yet another obvious objection to the EU hypothesis. If the Birkeland beam is greater than 2 AU in diameter than the Earth will be in the beam no matter what inclination the beam has. The only way to save the EU hypothesis is to put ad hoc restrictions on the width of the beam and its orientation to prevent planets and other objects from wandering into it and becoming incinerated. But there are enough high-inclination comets and other objects that there should have been at least some of them crossing the beam and becoming incinerated. So the whole energy-from-the-outside paradigm falls apart at the first breath of wind – or I should say the minute you first begin to analyze it quantitatively.

  113. ND

    Tom Marking,

    Excellent summary of the typical EU/PC discussion. Dejavu all over again. All this has happened before and it will happen again. etc…

  114. DrFlimmer

    @ Ivan3man

    Stay tuned for more useless information from me! :-P

    Buisness as usual….. ;)

    @ Tom Marking

    So the whole energy-from-the-outside paradigm falls apart at the first breath of wind – or I should say the minute you first begin to analyze it quantitatively.

    Indeed, thanks a lot. I am saving all your information for a later use against those guys.

  115. IVAN3MAN

    DrFlimmer:

    Buisness as usual….

    Spelling errors as usual… :-P

  116. Davidlpf

    first thing
    The fool said to the wiseman “there must be some way out of here”.
    Second thing is you know who have argued against EU/PU supporters to much is when you come up counter arguments before they post. But I guess you can say that about any kind of woo.

  117. Jimytoucan

    well first of all great photo, posts entertaining, never even heard of the eu theory, for good reson it seems, tho if we can see that far then who’s watching us?

  118. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tom Marking,

    Again, splendid analysis and debunking of EU/PC “Electric Sun” hypothesis(!) by Tom Marking with some cold, hard mathematical facts! I, too, shall be saving your excellent efforts onto my computer’s hard-drive for use, at a future date, against those “Electric Sun” berks.

    Tom, if you ever come round these parts (London, UK), I would like to buy you an Imperial pint of beer! :-)

  119. Davidlpf

    But who watches the watchers.

  120. DrFlimmer

    @ Ivan3man

    Spelling errors as usual

    Dammit ;)

    @Jimytoucan

    I didn’t heard of the EU-crap, either, until a few month ago. Three literally month-long “discussions” marked the first month of 2009 on this page. Then the EU-guy (it was really only one!) went away to “Universe Today”. For good reason: It is much easier over there to present that BS, because there are many more of those guys (3 at least).
    This thread here seems to be something like a “training camp”. Some information are shared and then we can go on again (although it is fairer to say that Tom Marking shared the information).
    The advice is: Stay away from EU/PC/PU. If your life is boring then those discussions will destroy the boredom. Otherwise enjoy the good life. My life isn’t boring at all (I am studying physics). But somehow those discussions tend to become like a drug. You know, it’s bad, but you cannot stop.

  121. IVAN3MAN

    DrFlimmer:

    But somehow those discussions tend to become like a drug. You know, it’s bad, but you cannot stop.

    More like those damn soap-operas on TV: You know you should not watch that make-believe crap, but you feel compelled to watch it anyway because you want to see if “Johnny” will find out about his wife’s affair with a lesbian ‘woman who wears comfortable shoes’, and/or how the bloody hell blue-eyed blonde “Jenny” is going to explain to her blue-eyed blond husband why ‘their’ baby is brown! ;-)

  122. dave

    ok, belated and REALLY stupid question: why isn’t there a symmetric red nebula below the neutron star? i’d imagine the original nova blew off a more-or-less symmetric sphere of gas in all directions; if what we’re seeing above the star in this picture is the effect on the gas at one pole, why dont we see the gas at the other pole?

  123. Panacea44

    I see Jesus. What you say is his hand is the beard. What you see as fingers , I see the crux of his nose. And the red dot that appears on our right , would be his left eye. His right eye is shadowed. And the crown of thorns are easy enough to see on their own. LMAO! Seriously, I threw in the jesus thing, but truly I actually seen the face long before I seen the hand, and never even noticed the hand scenario until I read it in the post. I was amazed noone mentioned it in the remarks. Interesting Maybe I see things most don’t. LMAO again. Peace, nonetheless, I think it’s cool either way you look at it. Pan44

  124. But who watches the watchers..

  125. DrFlimmer

    @ Dave:

    I guess, the red nebula was not from the star, originally. It is just lit up by the neutron star (or its jet). The red nebula is prbably a part of another gas cloud that is dark in this picture (probably shining in different wavelength or just too cold).
    On the other hand the blue nebula likely belonged to the star that blew up.

  126. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. I ran some calculations on the altitude of the various electromagnetic source regions assuming cyclotron radiation. This altitude is measured from the surface of the pulsar upward along the magnetic field axis. For PSR B1509-58 (the “hand” pulsar) I get the following:

    Hard gamma rays (0.001 nm wavelength) cannot be produced by electrons, protons, or alpha particles

    Soft gamma rays (0.01 nm wavelength) are produced by electrons at an altitude of 5.28 km. Protons and alpha particles cannot produce them.

    Hard X-rays (0.1 nm wavelength) are produced by electrons at an altitude of 25.8 km. Protons and alpha particles cannot produce them.

    Soft X-rays (10 nm wavelength) are produced by electrons at 165 km and protons at 2.02 km. Alpha particles cannot produce them.

    Far ultraviolet (150 nm wavelength) is produced by electrons at 426 km, protons at 23.3 km, and alpha particles at 16.0 km.

    Near ultraviolet (300 nm wavelength) is produced by electrons at 540 km, protons at 32.6 km, and alpha particles at 23.4 km.

    Blue light (400 nm wavelength) is produced by electrons at 595 km, protons at 37.1 km, and alpha particles at 27.0 km.

    Red light (700 nm wavelength) is produced by electrons at 720 km, protons at 47.3 km, and alpha particles at 35.1 km.

    Near infrared (1 micrometer wavelength) is produced by electrons at 813 km, protons at 54.9 km, and alpha particles at 41.1 km.

    Far infrared (100 micrometer wavelength) is produced by electrons at 3,820 km, protons at 300 km, and alpha particles at 236 km.

    Microwaves (10 cm wavelength) are produced by electrons at 38,300 km, protons at 3,120 km, and alpha particles at 2,480 km.

    FM radio (3 meter wavelength) is produced by electrons at 119,000 km, protons at 9,710 km, and alpha particles at 7,720 km.

    AM radio (300 meter wavelength) is produced by electrons at 552,000 km, protons at 45,100 km, and alpha particles at 35,900 km.

    Thus, the electron source region is vastly greater in volume than the proton source region or the alpha particle source region for any given wavelength of radiation. In the case of PSR B1509-58 only electron emission can generate hard X-rays (wavelengths less than 0.1 nanometers) and these X-rays get generated very close in to the pulsar (only a few pulsar radii). Some of these X-rays travel long distances and interact with gas in the surrounding nebula, heating it up and causing it to re-emit X-rays shown as blue or red in the image.

  127. “Thus, the electron source region is vastly greater in volume than the proton source region or the alpha particle source region for any given wavelength of radiation. In the case of PSR B1509-58 only electron emission can generate hard X-rays (wavelengths less than 0.1 nanometers) and these X-rays get generated very close in to the pulsar (only a few pulsar radii).”

    This calculation is ignoring the effect of charged particles getting trapped far-out in the magnetic field and then being forced to accelerate due to the rotating magnetic field. That will produce some amount of synchrotron radiation far from the pulsar.

  128. @ Tom Marking:

    You sure talk strong behind somebody’s back. Too Bad you can’t back it up.

    “Neutron” stars are a mathematical construct. The study of nuclear physics doesn’t recognize the existence of “neutronium” because neutrons packed together are not stable, this is the principle known as the ‘Island of stability.

    Pulsars are known to ‘pulsate’ or periodically oscillate over a 1000 times second, that would require a “neutron” star to rotate at over 60,000 miles an hour — ripping it apart.

    “Neutron” stars are estimated to have a density of 100 million tons per cubic centimeter — about the size of the tip of my pinkey finger.

    There really isn’t any theory that supports that kind of density.
    Sorry, not even General Relativity supports that.

    “Neutron” stars a figment of imagnination with a patina of mathematical overlay so it sounds plausible. But when you know the facts about the limited amount of observation & measurement Science actually has about ‘pulsars’, you can understand the temptation to overstate the evidence, still, astronomy being science, one must limit oneself to the observations & measurements at hand.

    The observation & measurement is limited to the rate of pulsation and the electromagnetic wavelength spectrum, but primarily x-rays, which are generated by electric current.

    Marking, your mathematics about a figment of imagination is a waste of time, not because mathematics is a waste of time, it’s highly valuble if based on quantifiable observations & measurements of physical objects and energies.

    It’s worthless, if it’s used as a veneer of legitimacy for conclusions that the observations & measurements simply don’t support.

  129. @ Tom Marking:

    Marking states: “This calculation is ignoring the effect of charged particles getting trapped far-out in the magnetic field and then being forced to accelerate due to the rotating magnetic field. That will produce some amount of synchrotron radiation far from the pulsar.”

    Magnetic fields are only caused by electric currents, Marking knows this, but leaves it out because electric currents, electromagnetism, doesn’t fit the gravity “only” model. Also, synchrotron radiation is the product of electrons spiralling in a magnetic field, electric current.

    Remember, magnetic fields & electric current go together like bread & butter. Actually, even more so. Magnetic fields can’t exist without electric currents to generate them.

    Marking is a pure mathematician, they simply don’t appreciate the empirical method, which is a limiting and demanding task master. You see pure mathematicians unless schooled in the rigors of physics have a tendency to want to reify their mathematical abstractions into physical objects when the supporting evidence simply isn’t sufficient to justify the conclusion.

  130. IVAN3MAN

    Whistle while you work,
    Anaconda is a berk,
    He’s half as barmy…
    As Oil-Is-Mastery,
    Whistle while you work.

    :-)

  131. roxanna

    uhm. its called photoshop

  132. @Anaconda “You sure talk strong behind somebody’s back.”

    Behind somebody’s back? Hmmm, who would that somebody be? Last time I checked this was a publicly available blog. There is no “behind somebody’s back” on a public blog. You just make yourself look foolish by saying trash like that.

    ““Neutron” stars are a mathematical construct. The study of nuclear physics doesn’t recognize the existence of “neutronium” because neutrons packed together are not stable, this is the principle known as the ‘Island of stability.”

    Yet another reverse NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) proposition. Anaconda essentially believes that if you cannot duplicate the physics in an earthly laboratory then it doesn’t exist anywhere in the universe. So, Anaconda, got to ask, how are those EU experiments coming along where they attempt to duplicate the luminosity of the sun (400 trillion trillion watts) in a laboratory? Please give us an update since all of our solar physics studies must be put on hold until the experiment succeeds.

    “Pulsars are known to ‘pulsate’ or periodically oscillate over a 1000 times second, that would require a “neutron” star to rotate at over 60,000 miles an hour — ripping it apart.”

    As usual, Anaconda doesn’t know what the heck he is talking about, once again. The fastest rotating pulsar is PSR B1937+21 with a rotation period of 1.5578 milliseconds. Plugging in a mass of 1.75 solar masses and a radius of 12.5 km (typical for a pulsar) we get the following:

    rotation velocity at equator = 50,400 km/sec = 0.168c = 110 million miles per hour (Anaconda is off by a factor of 1,800 – GET USED TO IT!!!)

    surface gravity = 152 billion g’s

    centrifugal force at equator = 20.7 billion g’s

    The surface gravity is 7 times stronger than the centrifugal force. PSR B1937+21 isn’t even close to getting ripped apart via centrifugal force. Anaconda, suggest you come back and try that —- when you actually have an object whose centrifugal force is greater than surface gravity.

    ““Neutron” stars are estimated to have a density of 100 million tons per cubic centimeter — about the size of the tip of my pinkey finger.”

    Harumph! A density has SI units of kilograms per cubic meter. The size of the tip of your pinkey finger has units of meters. Get your units straight for once, Snake Man. Otherwise you come off as uneducated.

    “There really isn’t any theory that supports that kind of density.
    Sorry, not even General Relativity supports that.”

    What do you think the density of the atomic nucleus is, Snake Man? If nature doesn’t support that kind of density then why doesn’t the nucleus in each atom fly apart?

    “The observation & measurement is limited to the rate of pulsation and the electromagnetic wavelength spectrum, but primarily x-rays, which are generated by electric current. Marking, your mathematics about a figment of imagination is a waste of time, not because mathematics is a waste of time, it’s highly valuble if based on quantifiable observations & measurements of physical objects and energies.”

    How do you explain the fact that using simple rotational dynamics for objects of the size and density of neutron stars, the loss of rotational kinetic energy balances out the luminosity of the nebula? Is that just another amazing accident?

  133. @Anaconda “Magnetic fields are only caused by electric currents, Marking knows this, but leaves it out because electric currents, electromagnetism, doesn’t fit the gravity “only” model.”

    You have to be careful to define where the “electric current” is. Sometimes it is internal to the particle itself, as in the neutron:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_magnetic_moment

    Traditional electric currents are, of course, not ruled out in the case of neutron stars, but they can get a majority of their magnetic field by the alignment of their constituent neutrons.

    “Also, synchrotron radiation is the product of electrons spiralling in a magnetic field, electric current. Remember, magnetic fields & electric current go together like bread & butter. Actually, even more so. Magnetic fields can’t exist without electric currents to generate them.”

    Yes, and this refutes the standard model of pulsars how? All of my altitude data for electrons, protons, and alpha particles is using synchrotron radiation (actually cyclotron radiation since relativistic effects were not included).

    “Marking is a pure mathematician, they simply don’t appreciate the empirical method, which is a limiting and demanding task master. You see pure mathematicians unless schooled in the rigors of physics have a tendency to want to reify their mathematical abstractions into physical objects when the supporting evidence simply isn’t sufficient to justify the conclusion.”

    Dang, Snake Man, you obviously have never met a “pure mathematician” in your life. If I was a pure mathematician I would be throwing tensors, manifolds, etc., etc. your way. All of my math on this blog is something a college educated person should be able to follow. There is nothing advanced about it. The fact that you don’t seem to be able to follow it speaks volumes about you, not about me.

  134. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tom Marking,

    Anaconda would not know ‘electric currents’ from a blackcurrants!

  135. ND

    Oh wow. Anaconda has paid a visit to BA again. It’s time for you to take some math and physics classes duder.

  136. THREE REASONS ELECTRIC UNIVERSE PSEUDOSCIENCE CANNOT EXPLAIN PULSARS

    1.) All of the pulsars we have observed so far (more than 1,000) are slowing down gradually over time. This makes no sense if they were being powered by interstellar Birkeland currents. But it does make sense if they are being powered by rotational kinetic energy which decays over time. If EU theory was correct we would expect some pulsars to slow down as the Birkeland current got weaker and others to speed up as the Birkeland current got stronger.

    2.) EU cannot explain the close correlation between loss of rotational kinetic energy and the luminosity of the nebula. This is good proof that pulsars are powered by rotational kinetic energy. There is no room for interstellar Birkeland currents since they can’t contribute to the energy.

    3.) If EU supports a rotation object model for pulsars then it must either support high density or faster than light travel. Since EU rejects high density it must support faster than light travel which is a violation of special relativity. The minimum density of a rotating sphere is:

    rho-min = 6 * pi^2 * m * freq^3 / c^3

    rho-min is the minimum density in kg/m^3
    pi is 3.14…
    m is the mass in kg
    freq is the rotational frequency in hertz
    c is the speed of light in m/sec

    For PSR B1509-58 freq is 6.6 hertz. If we let m = 1.75 solar masses = 3.48E30 kg, then the minimum density is 2 billion kilograms per cubic meter or 2 million times the density of water. If the density is less than this than that means that a point on the pulsar’s equator must be travelling faster than the speed of light.

  137. Todd W.

    @Tom Marking

    how are those EU experiments coming along where they attempt to duplicate the luminosity of the sun (400 trillion trillion watts) in a laboratory?

    You’re forgetting that plasma experiments are infinitely scalable. Or something like that.

  138. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd w.,

    Yeah, sort of like, er… homoeopathy! :P

  139. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    So, the less electricity there is, the more powerful its effects?

  140. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    Yeah, man, that’s it! Like, er… the more dilute my joint is, the greater its effect!

  141. DrFlimmer

    DRUGS, gimme DRUGS!!!

    Btw: I always wonder, what Anaconda has with the “island of stability”.

    AFAIK it is a THEORETICAL construct about very heavy atoms with Z-numbers of about 128 or so (and even higher!) that are stable (most heavy atoms tend to decay). Why does this exclude neutron stars that have NOTHING to do with this?

  142. Todd W.

    @DrFlimmer

    My guess is that, as he has shown in other previous threads, he doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about, having never actually studied any of the fields involved.

  143. IVAN3MAN

    @ DrFlimmer,

    Because Anaconda, and others of that ilk, live in their own little universe with its own ‘laws’ of physics!

  144. José

    @ Tom Marking
    I’m late to the game, but you forgot “If it’s a black hole, why doesn’t it suck up it’s companion star?”

  145. ND

    IVAN3MAN,

    You mean like cartoons where one would pause for a split second in mid-air before falling, and being able to survive after a huge slab of rock falling on your head?

  146. IVAN3MAN

    @ ND,

    Yeah, like in those Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons.

    Anaconda is like Wile E. Coyote! :D

    Beep, Beep!

  147. ND

    I wonder if Wile E. Coyote (super-genius) ever worked with plasma? I don’t remember.

  148. Todd W.

    @ND

    I believe Wile E. Coyote was primarily a gravity and gunpowder kinda guy, though he occasionally used large horseshoe magnets.

  149. ND

    Ah yes. Saturday morning cartoons. Fond memories. They helped me learn English.

  150. IVAN3MAN

    @ ND,

    I don’t know either, but considering the amount of time, energy, and money(?) that Wile E. Coyote spent on trying to catch Road Runner, he could have just simply bought himself a meal!

    It’s the same with those EU/PC berks, UFO nutters, and Moon Landing Hoax lunatics; if only they would devote their time, energy, and money to more practical endeavours, they might be able to achieve something in life and contribute to the general good of society!

  151. Flying sardines

    @ IVAN3MAN:
    (April 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm )

    Anaconda would not know ‘electric currents’ from a blackcurrants!

    ROTFLMAO! :-D

    That wins both my ‘post of the thread’ & my ‘witty insult of the day’ awards.

  152. DCF

    wow. it’s like I just stumbled into a dinner conversation in the middle of the show the Big Bang Theory.
    You guys are way to smart for me. Hiding back in my cave now.

  153. IVAN3MAN

    Todd W.:

    I believe Wile E. Coyote was primarily a gravity and gunpowder kinda guy, though he occasionally used large horseshoe magnets.

    According to Anaconda:

    Remember, magnetic fields & electric current go together like bread & butter. Actually, even more so. Magnetic fields can’t exist without electric currents to generate them.

    I’ve told him before, that he should read the Wikipedia article on Spin (physics)en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(physics) — but he just ignores it — as usual!

  154. ND

    Anaconda “Marking is a pure mathematician, they simply don’t appreciate the empirical method, which is a limiting and demanding task master. You see pure mathematicians unless schooled in the rigors of physics have a tendency to want to reify their mathematical abstractions into physical objects when the supporting evidence simply isn’t sufficient to justify the conclusion.”

    Such brilliant rhetoric.

  155. Todd W.

    @DCF

    Don’t worry. I don’t know anything either.

  156. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    Nice cartoon, Todd. You should e-mail it to (“gravity is a myth”) OilIsMastery! :-)

  157. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    I’m just glad I finally looked into how to put images in here. :) Surprisingly simple, really.

  158. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    You have to be careful to define where the “electric current” is. Sometimes it is internal to the particle itself, as in the neutron:

    Well, not that I can anything about QED, but I think that Anaconda’s claim (that EM fields simply corresponds to electric current) is problematic when quantum effects are considered.

    Any charged particle with spin may have a magnetic moment. So the degree of “internalness” when looking at elementary particles with no measurable physical width (i.e. outside the compound ones) gets really tight. And you can’t explain spin (or the resulting magnetic moment) as a simple rotating particle or rotating charge because the numbers famously doesn’t multiply up.

    [To the best of my knowledge spin is rather a geometric property, telling us how much to rotate a particle to get back to the same quantum state by way of its symmetry, say 720 degrees for a spin 1/2 particle.]

  159. @Anaconda “Pulsars are known to ‘pulsate’ or periodically oscillate over a 1000 times second, that would require a “neutron” star to rotate at over 60,000 miles an hour — ripping it apart.”

    It’s also hilarious to me how Snake Man has absolutely no sense of any astronomical numbers. He thinks that 60,000 miles per hour is some stupendous speed which will rip a pulsar to shreds, where in fact it’s actually less than the orbital velocity of the earth around the sun. ROFLMAO.

  160. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Oops, since I didn’t update before posting I missed that Ivan3man took the same point out for a spin.

    if only they would devote their time, energy, and money to more practical endeavours, they might be able to achieve something in life and contribute to the general good of society!

    But this is probably, and tragically, wrong. The best empirical model for denialists of any kind, whether fundamentalist creationist or fundamentalist physics mutter, is to my knowledge “denialism” blog’s “model of the crank”. [Or similar name.]

    Google it, and up comes a very nifty figure where they show measurements of the competency of incompetents to judge their competence in relations to others. Suffice to say they were sadly lacking.

    Ironically and logically, incompetents are simply incompetent to understand competence. (Nor will they likely ever learn how to learn.)

    Perhaps the best we can hope for is that they will stop trying to understand what they can’t (or stop telling themselves that they have). Their silence instead of having their blather confuse the many truly innocent but able normal learners that are out there would be good for society.

    It is either that, or use them as examples of how not to approach empirical matters. That would work too, especially since mocking is a great way to create memorable facts. :-o

  161. Annacoulter:Magnetic fields can’t exist without electric currents to generate them.

    One word: lodestone.

    J/P=?

  162. IVAN3MAN

    @ Torbjörn Larsson, OM,

    What I had meant by “more practical endeavours” was that certain people should stick to tasks at their level of competency and not have ideas above their station.

    Also, I am already aware of: scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/04/unified_theory_of_the_crank.php

    and at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(person)

    :D

  163. IVAN3MAN

    @ John Paradox,

    Good point, but “Annacoulter”? :P I assume that error was intentional, eh? :-)

  164. DrFlimmer

    :-D

    It’s really awesome to see what happens in the few hours I didn’t come here.

    A little slogan comes to my mind: Yes, we can!

  165. # IVAN3MAN Says:
    @ John Paradox,
    Good point, but “Annacoulter”? :P I assume that error was intentional, eh? :-)

    :-)

    J/P=?

  166. @Myself “THREE REASONS ELECTRIC UNIVERSE PSEUDOSCIENCE CANNOT EXPLAIN PULSARS”

    Just as I expected. Whenever I make a quantitative argument against EU pseudoscience there is no rebuttal whatsoever. Instead, Snake Man goes off and hides in the broom closet until the coast is clear for him to spout his nonsense again.

  167. Brucey

    So the hand of destruction wears a nintendo power glove eh?
    I knew it!

  168. GodFearing Lawyer

    If it may be accepted in some circles (namely yours), that 5 to 11 dimensions exists in in space according to the unified theory (perhaps the Large Haldron Collider Rap would be ripe for review) … Why is it so implausible that a higher being exists (who knows what is in those other dimensions Neo)?

    Oh, thats right, when you physicists check which slit the electron went through in the double slit experiment… the wave function does NOT collapse like with the rest of us.

    Love the picture, explanation and the site, Phil.

  169. DrFlimmer

    No, he hides at Universe Today. He’s having some good friends there….

  170. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tom Marking,

    EU/PC pseudoscience proponents are like cockroaches: Turn the light on, and immediately they scuttle into the shadows of crevices, etc.!

  171. Matisses

    Let me get this staight. Neutron stars are so dense that the gravity they self-exert converts protons and electrons into neutrons- Hence the name. But they are able to throw out a polar field because ~10% of the original proton/electron amount, or that same percentage of their current mass, still remains.
    I may be opening up a can of worms here, but what about black holes? They appear to be polar as well, or are they completely governed by gravitational forces, being solely composed of xxxx? Do we know what particles compose these things?

  172. DrFlimmer

    @ Matisses:

    By now, we do not know what black holes are made of. At the moment we must they: They are made of nothing. The gravity has shrunk everything (and I mean really EVERYthing) into a tiny point. A black hole is therfore governed by its mass, its angular momentum (which needs to be conserved) and probably by its charge (which is unlikely since stars tend to be neutral (overall)).
    The “point” mass has the problem that is would have an infinite density. On the other hand, quantum mechanics tells us that there is no “point”. But we lack a theory of quantum gravitation, so we have to deal with the point mass at the moment.

  173. casey

    “Why is it so implausible that a higher being exists (who knows what is in those other dimensions Neo)?

    Oh, thats right, when you physicists check which slit the electron went through in the double slit experiment… the wave function does NOT collapse like with the rest of us.”

    Why is it so implausible that Ramtha, 35,000 year old Lemurian warrior, exists in spirit form and is able to speak to us through J.Z. Knight to tell us what quantum mechanics is *really* all about? I mean, come on, show me some evidence that this isn’t true. After all, there are 5 to 11 dimensions, so *anything* is plausible.

  174. Drew

    You guys are all just players in my dream

  175. Gosh

    Observe the power in my hand.

  176. Wow, that truly is quite amazing. I plan to share this with my youth pastour!

    Has anybody seen How Great Is Our God by Louis Giglio, where he showed a picture of a stellar formation which appeared to be laid out in the form of an eye?

    It just shows God is in every aspect of creation, from the biggest (like this) to the smallest (like laminin).

    God Bless,
    Steve Wiilliams,
    Steve Wiilliams’ Blog

  177. Behold! This is the hand of my undead warlock casting a destructive spell! ;-)
    Absolutely amazing!

  178. Whatney's Red Barrel

    Surely the picture is upside down? Try it the other way. Why not put it the other way up underneath the first picture. Go on. Please.
    By the way has anyone heard about the ‘shoe exchange’?

    Carry on!

  179. Icecycle

    Never heard of EU before; seems to be some kind of bastardization of Hannes Alfvén’s stuff that was ‘all the rage’ a few years back.
    Then it went all Fred Hoyle steady state and I kinda lost interest.

    I don’t know; if I were going to refute what looks like more of a religion than science, (or is that the same thing now?) I would ask why in the hell they think the sun could be negative while the solar wind is made of protons.

    I feel for them though; I have my own ‘fruit loop’ theory (and hey it’s cool) which I will not share with you because I MIGHT NEED to take over the world and all sorry, (at least I suppressed the laugh.)

    With EU I would tell them that things have to grow, and branch, and at this stage of our knowledge everything we ‘know’ now will be wrong in 10 years tops.

    So I would go back to Alfvén and look at what he actually said and what might be right and what is just religion.

    But that is just me and (Yeah, you will curse the day you ign. . .) sorry again.

  180. Christina Viering

    VERY cool pic!

  181. IQ70

    Golly…God needs a manicure!

  182. I can’t comprehend the siza, power and heat of that thing!! Therefore, God made it.

  183. this is just a bunch of stars , deffinatly not gods hand. what the heck, most of you don’t believe in god any way. maybe its an alien and a bunch of scientist planning to destry another world

  184. Because I can

    If this nebula is the “Hand of god”
    is the crab nebula the ” Crabs of god”?

  185. Thanks Phil. Pretty damn cool and amazing..

  186. john b

    OBVIOUSLY PHOTOSHOPPED. YOU CAN TELL BY THE PIXELS.

  187. BEN

    the only thing that creates a magnetic field is an electrical current.

    torsion physics

    nassim haramein

  188. L

    @Marshall

    The definition of ‘light year’ is, “The distance light travels in one Earth-year.”

    With that being said, the light given off that we’re seeing is thousands of years old. If it’s 17,000 light years away, it’d take 17,000 Earth-years to get there if we could travel at the speed of light. Not to mention that this article doesn’t mention when the supernova that caused the nebula to form happened.
    So if the entire universe is 7,000 years old, and the nebula was formed 17,000 years ago, then your math would be correct. Otherwise, please refrain from trying to be a smart-ass and open a book (I hope you have done so since you posted your comment).

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