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Stars may not be balls of gas/plasma! (what else must we rethink?)


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#1 Orpheus

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 10:23 PM

This lecture is definitely worth the time to watch. Ignore any bits you don't understand -- and you probably don't understand them, not because they are "hard" but because Modern Science really doesn't care to teach the history of science (its own foundations) except to build a [false] narrative of "inexorable progress forward, reaching its pinnacle in the things we teach today". Every field of human endeavor indulges this conceit, and it's more or less equally false in almost all of them. Science (and other endeavors) don't like too deep a study of their foundations because their history shows a much less glorious path, with major revolutions each generation that are nothing more that throwing off obvious errors from the last generation.

No pyramid gets built without a LOT more zig-zagging than upward progress. I consider it a duty to point to areas where current science may be wrong.

TL;DW
Almost everything you've been told about the structure of the Sun (or other stars) is incorrect. It's not a ball of gas (or plasma); it's "condensed matter" (liquids and solids). This can easily be proved, in many ways, even using the solar images you've seen a million times on layman "science news sites". This particular speaker presented 40 proofs in a single paper, but I think you'll find at least one or two very compelling arguments in this presentation, whatever your background. (Ask me about limb-darkening, if you don't get those arguments: it's easy enough for a kid to get, but he wasn't speaking to kids.)

The deeply flawed physics assumptions we've made over 150 years to justify a gas/plasma sun affects much of what assume about other astronomical features, such as exo-planets and nebulas. Remember all the common-sense we "knew" about stellar systems/planets -- until we started being able to see any (except our own)? When you get down to the bottom of it, 99% of the argument for a "ball of gas" boils down to "no liquid/solid can survive such temperatures". But what if there is [a lot of] evidence that suns are condensed matter? That'd simply mean there are kinds liquids/solids that we don't yet know. Is that so hard?



I have to confess that I have often used this "received wisdom" on basic physics (e.g. Planck's black body radiation being independent of the composition of the body) in discussions here. I believed it because I was taught it in Uni, though I knew VERY WELL that the composition and texture of a "black body" DOES affect its apparent thermal "temperature". This is a warning found in the manual for every IR thermometer.

Though I still find it to be a good "first level approximation", it is unusable in industries that actually need to use IR thermometer readings. Those industries always construct calibration tables for their specific materials. Astronomy can pretend it's a "law of physics", due to its lack of direct experience/consequences.

#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 05:39 PM

I don't have time to watch the whole video, but I've always thought that that description of the sun was just a convenient quippy phrase, like "Gas Giant."  A Gas Giant can't be all gas with all that mass, and sure enough they do have some kind of solid core, whether it's metallic hydrogen or a big-ass diamond the size of the Earth. And there must be a gradual transition from gas to solid. Given that the sun is many orders of magnitude more massive, and that it manufactures heavy elements, and that it would collapse into a neutron star or black hole without the constant nuclear fusion inflating it, there's got to be structure and substance to its innards.  Besides, doesn't it take something like ten thousand years for a photon to make its way from the core to the surface?  Probably wouldn't take that long if it was just a big bouncy house.  :lol:
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#3 Orpheus

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 07:42 PM

You really ought to watch the video. Though he's a bit dry/mathy at moments, it's very watchable overall.

I think you, in particular will enjoy it. Part of the wonder of science is the appreciation of the possibilities opened by a change in theory. "The Next Revolution"?

If he's right, it will tweak a LOT of our models/hypotheses, not just about the surface of the sun, but about astrophysics and physics in general. Among other things, he critiques our possibly over-inclusive acceptance of the universality of Planck's blackbody radiation. This alone could lead to a profound readjustment of Quantum Mechanics -- perhaps not "this changes everything", but "this means we have to re-examine the bases of everything". It's an exciting prospect, in much the way the early 1900s were exciting/unsettling, Some of the biggest quandaries of astrophysics may be cleared up as a result, or we may have to re-examine how much (or how strictly) we've applied the universal blackbody model, which we've always known was only an approximation. At the very least, one might argue that too many astrophysics models are *too* exact a fit to the ideal situation, given what we know empirically on Earth.

He may be a crackpot. I'm catching up on his recent work. Most critiques were based on an essay he published at personal expense ($100,000) in 2002, and he has both responded to his critics and refined/extended his premise since then. For example: he has offered a far more compelling (but completely different) model for 3K radiation than he did in the original essay. The origin he postulated in 2002 was enough to make many [including myself] dismiss him out of hand at the time.

[As writergroupie might say "So many crackpots, so little time" (or so little pot?)].

Though it'll take me a bit to digest the math on his current model of the origin of 3K radiation (to see if his predictions really fit the observed data), his 2015 paper refuting Kirchhoff's Laws of Radiation (on which Planck's Universal Blackbody work was based) seems to have been well received. That would be equally important.

There's a lot of interesting stuff outside the pure science, such scientific politics (which are very real and well acknowledged in/by even the highest levels of science), both in Planck's time and today.

The rapid acceptance of Kirchhoff's Law of Equivalence was affected by scientific politics and "receiving credit" (e.g. Kirchoff's "Law" was actually published a year earlier by Balfour Stewart, a Scottish experimental physicist, who took measurements on "lamp black" (aka "soot" or a mixture of carbon agglomerates, fullerenes, graphenes, etc.) who wrote the principle but explicitly refused to call it a "law", because he'd only measured one material; Kirchhoff was perfectly happy to call it a law based on an imagined/theoretical thought-experiment, and claimed he himself deserved the credit, not Stewart, because Stewart's experimental results were "insufficient" and "not theoretical". To this day, we primarily use carbon black and similar carbon mixtures in black body experiments, because they are "nearly ideal" -- i.e. they correspond most closely with the "law", which was based on observations of lamp black. That's like proving "all animals can fly" using primarily pigeons, because they provide the "most nearly ideal" results.

Similarly, in the modern world, Robitaille's work is often rejected because some groups that are termed "fringe science", such as advocated of the "electric universe", embrace him, and he's willing to speak at their conferences (he also speaks at mainstream conferences). I was embraced by My Dear Aunt Sally, but that doesn't mean her level of science/math reflects on mine. [Since we both went to public school in MA, we know that My Dear Aunt Sally, does little to help with higher math]

#4 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 07:14 PM

I just downloaded it and I'll try to see it over the weekend, if shopping (ugh!) and Mother's Day allows for it.  It definitely looks interesting.  And I love things that might inspire story ideas.  :lol:
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