According to the Electric Universe theory, the universe is basically powered by electrically charged plasma. But, this is the first report from Space.com that I’m aware of to suggest that, “Electric fields may explain superfast particles in Earth’s radiation belts.”
Space.com contributer Charles Q. Choi writes about the published findings made using NASA’s Van Allen space probes sent up last summer:
Now, using the Van Allen probes, scientists have detected structures that pop in and out of existence in the outer belt that could help explain the high-energy electrons seen in that zone.
The structures in question are known as “double layers.” They are each made up of a pair of parallel layers of particles with opposite electrical charge that move along Earth’s magnetic field. The probes saw huge numbers of double layers in the outer belt —7,000 in the course of a minute, each lasting on the order of seconds.
These double layers were discovered “sort of by accident as the Van Allen probes passed through this region of space, and only captured a snapshot,” said study lead author Forrest Mozer, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley.
According to the report, Mozer suggests that the ‘double layers’ may in combination act as drivers for these electrical fields. Choi further quotes Mozer:
“It has been surprising that there are mechanisms that accelerate electrons to relativistic energies in Earth’s radiation belt and throughout all of astrophysics,” Mozer said. “There have been a lot of theories about what those mechanisms are, but many of them have shown not to work.”
These findings suggest double layers may help drive electrons to relativistic speeds elsewhere in the cosmos.
“These results provide one step in shedding light on the processes that can lead to rapid acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies,” Mozer told SPACE.com. “The processes we’re starting to define certainly could be at work in regimes like the sun, for example, and probably all throughout astrophysics.”
Read the full report, click here.