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No. 135: MAY-JUN 2001

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Sourceless Magnetic Fields?

Our pocket compasses attest to the reality of the earth's magnetic field, and astronomers can also measure the magnetic fields of the sun and some other stars. Plasmas streaming along the Milky Way's spiral arms also create galactic magnetic fields. But nowhere in the immense distances between the galaxies do astronomers see anything that might generate even a few lines of magnetic force.

Nevertheless, intergalactic magnetic fields do exist. Furthermore, they are just as strong as the magnetic fields measured in the ponderously swirling, star-rich galaxies. Given the great volume of intergalactic space, we cannot ignore these apparently sourceless magnetic fields. Because, as astrophysicist S.A. Colgate observes:

These magnetic fields are the dominant free energy of the universe.

If so much energy pervades intergalactic space, it is there that we may find of the source of those perplexing high-energy cosmic rays mentioned in the preceding item.

(Musser, George; "Magnetic Anomalies," Scientific American, 283 :22 , August 2000.)

Comment. Imagine that! Cosmic rays of incomprehensible energy emanating from a region where resides the dominant free energy of the universe. And yet, we see nothing there in our telescopes. Future science is going to be littered with the fragments of smashed paradigms.

From Science Frontiers #135, MAY-JUN 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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