Hans Alfven and his contributions to Modern Astronomy

If you Wikipedia Hans Alfven this is what comes up

“Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén (Swedish: [alˈveːn]; 30 May 1908 – 2 April 1995) was a Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). He described the class of MHD waves now known as Alfvén waves. He was originally trained as an electrical power engineer and later moved to research and teaching in the fields of plasma physics and electrical engineering. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the behavior of aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effect of magnetic storms on the Earth’s magnetic field, the terrestrial magnetosphere, and the dynamics of plasmas in the Milky Way galaxy.”

Hans

If you dig a little deeper you will find

“Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén (Swedish: [alˈveːn]; 30 May 1908 – 2 April 1995) was a Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). He described the class of MHD waves now known as Alfvén waves. He was originally trained as an electrical power engineer and later moved to research and teaching in the fields of plasma physics and electrical engineering. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the behavior of aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effect of magnetic storms on the Earth’s magnetic field, the terrestrial magnetosphere, and the dynamics of plasmas in the Milky Way galaxy.”

Hasalfv

“Applications of Alfvén’s research in space science include:

Van Allen radiation belt theory
Reduction of the Earth’s magnetic field during magnetic storms
Magnetosphere (protective plasma covering the earth)
Formation of comet tails
Formation of the solar system
Dynamics of plasmas in the galaxy
Fundamental nature of the universe”

From here..

Hans Alfven in a Plasma universe

Hans Alfven did a lot of work with plasmas in the laboratory and recognised some of the same structures in space. This lead him to an understanding of workings within the universe that conflicted with mainstream Astronomy.

He was a critic against the Big Bang. ” The problem with the Big Bang was that astrophysicists tried to extrapolate the origin of the universe from mathematical theories developed on the blackboard. The Big Bang was a myth devised to explain creation, according to Alfvén”

“Alfvén’s work was disputed for many years by the senior scientist in space physics, the British-American geophysicist Sydney Chapman. Alfvén’s disagreements with Chapman stemmed in large part from trouble with the peer review system. Alfvén rarely benefited from the acceptance generally afforded senior scientists in scientific journals. He once submitted a paper on the theory of magnetic storms and auroras to the American journal Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity, and his paper was rejected on the ground that it did not agree with the theoretical calculations of conventional physics of the time.”

Some quotes of his include

“I have always believed that astrophysics should be the extrapolation of laboratory physics, that we must begin from the present universe and work our way backward to progressively more remote and uncertain epochs.”

“We should remember that there was once a discipline called natural philosophy. Unfortunately, this discipline seems not to exist today. It has been renamed science, but science of today is in danger of losing much of the natural philosophy aspect.”

“Most people today still believe, perhaps unconsciously, in the heliocentric universe every newspaper in the land has a section on astrology, yet few have anything at all on astronomy.”

“We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture.”
Hannes Alfven

His Honours include..

Honours
Alfvén was also honoured with the following:
1947 Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
1947 Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (resigned 1980).
1958 Foreign Member, Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Akademia NAUK).
1962 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston.
1965 Honorary DSc, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
1966 Foreign Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC.
1967 Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
1970 Nobel Prize in Physics.
1971 Lomonosov Medal of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
1971 Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute.
1972 Foreign Member, Indian National Science Academy.
1974 Yugoslavian Academy of Science.
1977 Honorary DSc, University of Oxford.
1980 Foreign Member, Royal Society, London.
1985 Honorary PhD, Stockholm University.
1987 Bowie Gold Medal, American Geophysical Union.
1994 Dirac Medal, University of New South Wales and the Australian Institute of Physics.”

credits

http://www.plasma-universe.com/Hannes_Alfv%C3%A9n

Wiki

Our electric star is connected to us through plasma

Thanks to the thunderbolts crew for their great work.

plasma

This is an awesome accomplishment. Cleo Loi, a 23-year-old undergrad student, “has discovered that giant, invisible, moving plasma tubes fill the skies above Earth.”

First she was met with disbelief. “Ms Loi told news.com.au that her research was initially dismissed as being based on imperfections in the telescope images. ‘They had never seen this type of thing before. No one had looked at the data in this way before,’ she said. ‘A lot of the people were pretty convinced is was some problem with the imaging, that it was nothing to get excited about.'”

The implications could be far-reaching. “Ms Loi said the drifting plasma tubes could distort astronomical data, especially satellite-based navigation systems. It may also mean we need to re-evaluate our thinking about how galaxies, stars and clouds of gas behave and what they look like.”

Cleo Loi is a student of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. She has been working on this research as a part of her undergraduate thesis and is the lead author of this award winning research paper which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Cleo Loi et al has invented a three dimensional way to view the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Loi said: “For over 60 years, scientists believed these structures existed but by imaging them for the first time, we’ve provided visual evidence that they are really there.”

Basically, Sun is constantly emitting charged particles or ionized particles towards Earth. Scientists believe Earth is surrounded by complex magnetic field known as magnetosphere (that protects life on Earth from any damage). When these ionized particles approach Earth their path gets diverted due to which some of the particles may get deflected while some may be funneled towards the pole of Earth resulting in a spectacular array of light, due to the interaction between the magnetic fields and the eruption of gas from these charged particles, thus leading to a display known as ‘aurora’.

Earth’s protective magnetosphere further comprises of ionosphere and plasmasphere. The innermost being ionosphere and the layer above that is plasmasphere. Though not much is known about these complex structures and the research work is still under progress; however scientists believe that these are embedded with a plasma structures which are in the form of tubes and various other strange shapes.

The ionosphere does interfere with satellite navigation systems as well as it affects the images that are received by the radio telescopes hence a detailed study of this layer is a must.

By using the Murchinson Widefield Array (MWA), a radio telescope in the Western Australian desert, Loi probed these regions and ultimately landed on discovering the visual evidences of the 60 year old theory of tubular plasma structures drifting around the Earth.

Loi said: “The discovery of the structures is important because they cause unwanted signal distortions that could, as one example, affect our civilian and military satellite-based navigation systems. So we need to understand them.”

A forerunner of Square Kilometer Array (SKA), MWA consists of 128 antennae that are spread over a huge area of three kilometers which is almost 2 miles.

In her research study, Loi attempted to achieve a vision similar to binocular by splitting the western ends of the array from the eastern ends thus making it possible to get a three dimensional view of the magnetosphere.

Usually when the MWA is used for astronomical work, with a three kilometer baseline it cannot give the required parallax effect that is essential to get the in-depth view. However, during this research the situation was entirely different as the astronomers were looking close to Earth.

During her study, Loi was able to map a series of high and low density plasma tubes that connected the ionosphere and plasmasphere,  in addition these tubes were running parallel to the magnetic field. Says Loi: “We measured their position to be about 600 kilometres [373 miles] above the ground, in the upper ionosphere, and they appear to be continuing upwards into the plasmasphere. This is around where the neutral atmosphere ends, and we are transitioning to the plasma of outer space.”

Further it was seen that with time the tubes are moving slowly hence a changing interference effect has been experienced by the telescopes.

While speaking to IFLScience, Loi said that earlier researchers have been successful in limited probing into the ionosphere using Very Large Array, which is some other type of radio telescope; however applying parallax and getting a visual evidence is something totally new and has never been previously applied to the problem.

Loi said: “People theorized something like this from observations of a type of very low frequency electromagnetic wave. We can detect lightning from another hemisphere and people concluded there must be plasma tubes guiding the signal. It’s a very indirect conclusion, and no one had much idea what these tubes were like.”

For her breakthrough research, Cleo Loi has been awarded the 2015 Bok Prize of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

Loi has mentioned that it was amazing to visualize the giant plasma tubes using MWA’s enormous 30° field. Loi further envisages that the SKA is used in future to study the ionosphere and hopes that the publicity of her research would definitely be successful in bringing about this major change.

credit

News story regarding this discovery of Plasma tubes.