Electric Sun theory

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The Electric Sun
The Electric Sun analogy with a hydro-electric power station. Drift currents of incoming electrons are very difficult to detect. The surface area of the heliopause is some 300 million times greater than the surface area of the Sun

The Electric Sun theory (also Electric Star theory, and Electric Sun Model and Electric Sun Hypothesis) is the idea that the Sun (and stars) derives the main sources of its power electrically from its surroundings, rather than from within by nuclear fusion (the mainstream view).

The Electric Sun is often attributed to a 1972 article by Ralph Juergens,[1] who acknowledges priority to a 1958 Melvin Cook monograph, and inspiration from Immanuel Velikovsky's 1946 monograph, Cosmos Without Gravitation (though Velikovsky himself did not endorse it, see below). Others who have continued to research and promote the Electron Sun theory include Wal Thornhill, and Don Scott.

The Electric Sun model is a part of the Electric Universe theory.


Electric sun hypothesis

Ralph Juergens

In 1972, Ralph Juergens wrote:

"The known characteristics of the interplanetary medium suggest not only that the sun and the planets are electrically charged, but that the sun itself is the focus of a cosmic electric discharge -- the probable source of all its radiant energy."[1]

Earl R. Milton recalled Juergens' concept of an "electric" sun:[2]

"In August 1972 Ralph Juergens introduced the concept of the electrically powered Sun.(1a)[1] He was inspired by Immanuel Velikovsky's contention that electromagnetic forces played a crucial role in sculpting the surfaces and shaping the orbits of the bodies of the solar system; (1b)[3] by Melvin Cook's attempts to unify the electromagnetic and gravitational fields; (1c)[4] and by the voluminous literature of Charles Bruce intimating that the phenomena observed in stellar atmospheres could be described adequately by an electrical discharge model .(1d)[5]
"Juergens, however, went farther than all of his preceptors in electrifying both the cosmic bodies and their interactions. He perceived the astronomical bodies as inherently charged objects immersed in a universe which could be described as an electrified fabric.(1e)[6] The charges appearing locally on cosmic bodies, he posited, arose from the separation of positive ions and electrons on a galactic scale.(1f)[7] Later, he discussed both the problems arising if the solar interior is truly the source of stellar energy (1g) and the nature of the phenomena observed as the solar photosphere.(1h) The two papers cited in notes (1g)[8] and (1h)[9] were the last he published about the electrical Sun before his untimely death in November of 1979." (References in original)

Milton continues:

"In the first of his papers, Juergens related the Sun's ability to modulate the incoming flux of cosmic rays (which are protons impinging upon the solar system from all directions at relativistic velocities) to the Sun's driving potential, its cathode drop.(1i)[10] He estimated that a value in excess of 10 billion volts would suffice. From the flux of solar wind protons observed at the Earth's orbit, he calculated that a 1015 ampere solar wind current was flowing because of the solar discharge.(1j)[11] The solar luminosity of 3.9 x 1026 watts seemingly requires a discharge current which exceeds that of Juergens' estimate by forty fold, but since both the cathode drop and the discharge current values he chose were minima, the power shortage is not likely serious, as either or both values can be adjusted to erase the deficit without affecting the credibility of his arguments.
"Then, Juergens showed that the solar photosphere can be compared to a "tufted anode glow" in an electric discharge tube].(1k)[12] The tuft forms because the body of the Sun, immersed in the interplanetary plasma, which at its inner boundary is the weakly luminous outer solar region called the corona, cannot maintain an electrical discharge into the surrounding electrified galactic space. Juergens noted that the problem could arise from any one or more of the following conditions: (1)the solar body forms too small a surface to conduct the current required for the discharge, (2) the surrounding plasma is too "cool", (1l)[13] and/or (3) the cathode drop is too large. The "anode tuft" detached from, and now lying above, the "surface" of the solar body increases the effective surface area over which the Sun can collect electrons. Within the "tuft", volatile material - vapourized from the Sun - increases the gas density and contributes large numbers of extra electrons because, now, many of the frequent collisions between the gas atoms result in ionization."

Acknowledgement of Melvin Cook

Juergens acknowledges:

"Dr. Cook does not mention it, but it would seem that he has many years' priority over me in suggesting that the sun may be electrically powered. In his 1958 monograph, The Science of High Explosives, is an appendix in which he points out that "the kinetic energy of accretion" of electric charge on the sun per unit time should be of the same order of magnitude as the sun's rate of radiating energy. He adds: "Apparently one thus has a likely explanation for the solar constant [rate of energy emission] that need not include, or is at least approximately of the same relative importance as, the [thermonuclear-energy generation] that is supposed to be taking place in the core of the sun."[14]

"Electric Star" and "Electric Sun" phrases

Ralph Juergens' first referred to Electric Stars in his 1972 paper:

".. it is interesting to note that the calculated energy density of cosmic rays in our galaxy is comparable to the total energy density of electromagnetic radiation, including starlight. This is what one would expect to be the case if electric stars were responsible."[1]

Earl R. Milton appears to be the first person to use the term "Electric Sun" in the context of Juergen's model. He writes:

"As I visualize the electric Sun, the cosmic space within which the Solar System is embedded possesses a net negative charge per unit relative to the Sun's charge per unit. As the Sun "burns", it acquires increasing negative charge. The Sun's radiative lifetime will extend until the solar charge density equals that of its galactic surroundings."[15]

Velikovsky's views

Main resource: The Velikovsky Encyclopedia

Alfred de Grazia reports that Velikovsky never accepted Juergens' theory, because the thermonuclear theory seemed sound to him.[16] de Grazia writes that he

"asked Velikovsky, more than once, whether he could accept Juergens' theory, he would reply with a definite negative. He adhered to internal thermo-nuclear fusion as the secret of the Sun's radiation".[17]

The publishers of Pensée note:

"In this issue we feature a paper by Ralph Juergens, whose theses represent a pioneering effort to bring electromagnetic considerations to bear upon celestial mechanics, and thereby to illuminate the physical side of the events described in Worlds in Collision. While Velikovsky urges discussions of this sort, he does not, of course, feel that final answers have been found, and retains reservations about Juergens' conclusions."[18]

Comparison with Hannes Afvén

Ragnar Forshufvud noted that:

"In two recent KRONOS articles,(1,2)[2][19] Ralph Juergens' theory of an electrically powered Sun has been presented. According to Juergens, a large electric current is flowing from the Sun out into space. Juergens assumed the current to be approximately 4 x 1016 amperes.
"I should like to call attention to a work by Hannes Alfven(3)[20] where he describes the electric current system in interplanetary space. According to Alfven, there is a current sheet near the equatorial plane of the Sun. The current circuit is closed by other currents passing through the polar regions of the Sun. The total current in the current sheet is 3 x 109amperes."[21]

Electric powered binary stars

In 2002, Kinwah Wu et al proposed:

"a model for stellar binary systems consisting of a magnetic and a non-magnetic white dwarf pair which is powered principally by electrical energy. In our model the luminosity is caused by resistive heating of the stellar atmospheres arising from induced currents driven within the binary. This process is reminiscent of the Jupiter-Io system, but greatly increased in power because of the larger companion and stronger magnetic field of the primary. Electrical power is an alternative stellar luminosity source, following on from nuclear fusion and accretion"[22]


From Martin Kruskal

Princeton University mathematician and physicist Martin Kruskal comments on Ralph Juergens's 1972 paper:[1]

"This is certainly an imaginative paper and gives evidence of wide-ranging research and extensive thought on important and challenging problems. Nevertheless, I have serious misgivings about the soundness of the arguments and of the author's competence to tackle such difficult investigations [..]"
"The idea that the "solar gases are electrically charged ... almost surely negative" (p. 8) doesn't seem to make sense. If a conducting body has net negative charge, the excess electrons tend to move as far apart as possible and hence gather on the surface. Swirling gases inside may well be charged, but some should be positive and some negative."[23]

Juergen's replies:

"I appreciate Professor Kruskal's willingness to read my paper and submit his criticisms for publication in Pensée. Though I disagree with much of what he has to say" [23]

From C. Leroy Ellenberger

C. Leroy Ellenberger criticizes Electric Stars in his article "Still Facing Many Problems":

"Thus, the electric star model originated with an erroneous conception of what turbulence and chaos entail and, despite an impressive argument by analogy with electric discharges, it fails, as will be explained, because of a feature of solar structure discovered through observations from Skylab in 1973, but which was never discussed by either Juergens or Milton - the coronal hole [..]
"Yes, the Sun could theoretically be powered by an influx of relativistic electrons; but if the Sun were fueled by incoming electrons, why are none observed at the places where they would be expected to be most numerous? Until the theory is reconciled with this observation, the electric star model can be given no credence; and de Grazia's remark that "Juergens had fully disestablished the thermonuclear theory of the Sun . . ." [Cosmic Heretics (1984), p. 186] is painfully premature at the very least. This point about the absence of electrons in coronal holes is neither abstruse nor esoteric; it is fundamental and elementary in any discussion of solar structure."[24]

From Tim Thompson

Astronomer and physicist Tim Thompson has criticised the Electric Sun Hypothesis, for example:

"The solar wind is a flow of protons and electrons, away from the sun, in all directions, both at the same speed. Now, if the first "major property" of the electric sun model were true, we would expect the positively charged sun to repel positively charged protons, and attract negatively charged electrons. That's what the third "major property" says is happening, but we see that reality is somewhat different. The observation of electrons & protons both being "repelled" by the sun immediately negates any consideration of the sun having a net electric charge that can be detected anywhere in the solar wind flow. If the sun had a net charge that was large enough, then it should repel one charge and attract the other, depending on the sign of the sun's excess charge. But we don't see that. "[25]

Don Scott has replied that "Wal Thornhill has already referred Thompson to low-pressure gas discharge physics as being the appropriate model to use, not simple electrostatics."[26]


  1. a b c d e R. E. Juergens, "Plasma in Interplanetary Space: Reconciling Celestial Mechanics and Velikovskian Catastrophism," Penseé IVR II (Fall 1972), pp. 6-12; Velikovsky Reconsidered (N. Y., 1976), pp. 137-155. First presented at the Lewis & Clark Symposium, Portland, OR, August 15-17, 1972.
  2. a b Ralph E. Juergens, Electric Discharge as the Source of Solar Radiant Energy (Part I), Kronos Vol. VIII No. 1 (Fall 1982), compiled by Earl R. Milton after the death of Juergen
  3. (1b) I. Velikovsky, "Cosmos Without Gravitation" (N. Y., 1946); Worlds in Collision (N. Y., 1950).
  4. (1c) M. A. Cook, "Quasi-lattice Model of Plasma and Universal Gravitation" (Univ. of Utah 6/2/58), Bulletin Vol. 48, No. 18 (also Bulletin No. 93 of the Utah Engineering Experiment Station); "Bands in Solids and Their Influence on Thermal Expansion and Compressibility, " Appendix III in The Science of High Explosives (N. Y., 1958), see especially pp. 420-426.
  5. (1d) C. E. R. Bruce, A New Approach in Astrophysics and Cosmogony (London, 1944); "Terrestrial and Cosmic Lightning Discharges" in Recent Advances in Atmospheric Electricity, L. G. Smith, ed. (London, 1959), pp. 461-468; "The Extension of Atmospheric to Space Electricity" in Problems of Atmospheric and Space Electricity], S. C. Coronti, ed. (N. Y., 1963), pp. 577-586; "Lightning, Novae, and Quasars, " Letter to Nature 209, 798 (2/19/1966); "Successful Predictions of the Electrical Discharge Theory of Cosmic Atmospheric Phenomena and Universal Evolution, " Electrical Research Association (Leatherhead, 1968), Report No.5275; and many others.
  6. (1e) His theory assumes that cosmic processes involve the redistribution of electrical charges between bodies bearing different levels of one of the electric charges. Locally, that charge is chosen to be a "surplus" of electrons. Thereby all of the bodies within the solar system are considered to carry some surplus of electrons. This local "surplus", however, also turns out to be a "deficiency" of electrons on the galactic scale. Any electric interaction between the galaxy and the solar system produces an electric current which takes ions to the galaxy and bring electrons to the Sun and its satellites. Such an interaction, Juergens claimed, was the source of the Sun's radiant power. By it, the Sun's charge level is brought continually closer to that of the galactic environment around the solar system.
  7. (1f) R. E. Juergens, "Galactic Space Charge and Stellar Energy," SIS Review I:4 (Spring 1977), pp. 26-29; "S.I.S. vs Ralph Juergens, The Critics and Stellar Energy", SISR II:2 (December 1977), pp. 46-51.
  8. (1g) R. E Juergens, "Stellar Thermonuclear Energy: A False Trail?", KRONOS IV:4 (Summer 1979), pp. 16-25; plus Editor's Note by L. M. Greenberg, Ibid., pp. 25-27.
  9. (1h) R. E. Juergens, "The Photosphere: Is it the Top or the Bottom of the Phenomenon We Call the Sun?", KRONOS IV:4, pp. 28-54.
  10. (1i) R. E. Juergens, Penseé II, op. cit., p. 11.
  11. (1j) R. E. Juergens, SISR I:4, p. 28. He assumed a disc-like solar wind sheet, only two solar diameters thick at the Earth's orbit, to arrive at this (order of magnitude) estimate. Based upon measurements made by several space probes, the actual wind sheet is much thicker. At thirteen solar diameters above or below the ecliptic, the density of the solar wind is reduced by about 37% around the time of sunspot minimum; toward maximum there is little difference in the density with latitude (over the range noted here). See M. Dobrowolny and G. Moreno, "Latitudinal Structure of the Solar Wind and Interplanetary Magnetic Field ," Space Science Reviews 18, 685-748 (1976), especially pp. 690 and 693.
  12. (1k) R. E. Juergens, KRONOS IV:4, pp. 28ff.
  13. A "cool" plasma is one where the drift velocity, imposed upon the plasma by the local electric field, is small compared to the random velocity (of the ions or of the electrons) characteristic of the temperature of the plasma.
  14. Ralph Juergens (in reply to Melvin Cook), "On Celestial Mechanics", Pensée Vol. 3 No 1: (Winter 1973) "Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered III"
  15. Earl R. Milton, "The Not So Stable Sun" Kronos Vol. V No. 1 (Fall 1979)
  16. "ABC's of Astrophysics", Cosmic Heretics: Part 3 (1984) ISBN:0-940268-08-6
  17. Alfred de Grazia, Cosmic Heretics, Ch.10: "ABC's of Astrophysics", p. 228
  18. "The Future of A Publishing Idea", Pensée Vol. 2 No 3: (Fall 1972) "Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered II"
  19. Ralph E. Juergens, "Electric Discharge as the Source of Solar Radiant Energy (Part II)", Kronos Vol. VIII No. 2 (Winter 1983)
  20. H. Alfven: "Electric Current Structure of the Magnetosphere" in Hultqvist and Stenflo (eds.): Physics of the Hot Plasma in the Magnetosphere (N.Y., 1975). ISBN 0306337002
  21. Ragnar Forshufvud, "Juergens, Alfvén and the Electric Sun", Kronos Vol. IX No. 2 (Winter 1984)
  22. Wu, Kinwah; Cropper, Mark; Ramsay, Gavin; Sekiguchi, Kazuhiro, "An electrically powered binary star?", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 331, Issue 1, pp. 221-227
  23. a b "On Celestial Mechanics", Martin Krustal, Ralph Juergens, C. E. R. Bruce, Eric W. Crew, Pensée Vol. 3 No 1: (Winter 1973) "Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered III"
  24. C. Leroy Ellenberger, "Still Facing Many Problems (Part II)", Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985)
  25. Tim Thompson, "On the 'Electric Sun' Hypothesis". Online at his web site
  26. Don Scott, "Tim Thompson – A Rebuttal". Online at his web site

Selected bibliography


  • C. Leroy Ellenberger, "Still Facing Many Problems (Part II)", Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985)
  • Tim Thompson, "On the 'Electric Sun' Hypothesis". Online at his web site
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