Electricity in the Universe has been identified from beneath our feet, in animals and plants, our biosphere, and out to the furthest reaches of the Universe. In general, electricity is present wherever we find plasma, and since 99.999% of the visible universe is in the plasma state, magnetic field and electric currents are nearly everywhere.
This page summarises where electricity and electric currents have been considered to be important. Each item is supported by peer reviewed papers from scientists in a number of different disciplines.
“Meteors are atmospheric phenomena observed in the atmosphere or at the surface of the earth”. “Electrometeors” are “visible or audible manifestation of atmospheric electricity”, ie. “.. phenomena resulting from the interaction of electric charges with the atmosphere. Examples of such phenomena are storms, lightning, thunder, St Elmo’s fires and polar aurora”.
Lightning is probably the most common and well-accepted form of terrestrial electricity
Fair weather field is the measured voltage different between the ground and upper atmosphere
St Elmos Fire is a well-documented, but less common form of electrical discharge
Auroras are an electrical phenomena in the upper atmosphere.
Rattlesnakes generate 75-100 volts when shaken! The electrostatics may be used to sense their environment.
Extraterrestrial (cosmic) electricity
General cosmic electricity
Cosmic electricity: “Almost all cosmic plasmas that have been studied in detail seem to be penetrated by magnetic fields. The presence of the magnetic fields implies that considerable electric currents must exist in the cosmic plasmas. As has been stressed by Alfvén such currents often have a pronounced tendency to flow in relatively thin filamentary and sheet structures. Nearby examples of this are found in the ionosphere and magnetosphere of the Earth. In situ measurements show that currents here flow in a complex network of filaments and sheets. Also in more distant plasmas like the chromosphere and corona of the sun, the solar wind, and the interstellar medium we find thin structures in the form of filaments and sheets. There is strong evidence that many of these narrow structures are subject to the pinching action of electric currents.”
Neutral sheet and near-earth magnetotail flux ropes whose “field-aligned current within these ropes may approach a million amps”.
Comet dust charges electrostatically causing it to levitate from the comet surface.
Cometary current system: plasma tail streamers separated by a neutral current sheet, has a total current exceeding 108A.
Cometary plasma tails, generate magnetic fields and electric currents of up to a billion Amp.
Cometary atmosphere feature electric currents.
Cometary aurora due to “current discharges into the atmosphere from the tail.
Venus’ tail (flux ropes)
Venus current system: Pioneer Venus Orbiter identified an induced electric field in the tail, and magnetic field reversals indicative of electric currents.
Meteoroids: “… in space are electrically charged due to cosmic rays, solar UV, and other effects (solar wind and ions and electron impacts)”
Moon dust: charges due to photoelectric effect, interaction with the local plasma environment,  and contact charging. that results in levitation of the lunar dust, (sometimes called Moon Fountains), up to altitudes of up to 100km. Lunar craters charge too.
Surface of the Moon: “the moon’s surface becomes electrified during each full moon. The moon passes through the Earth’s magnetotail, a cone of highly-charged particles, for about 6 days each month. On the side of the moon facing the sun, ultraviolet particles disrupt the electromagnetic effect, keeping the voltage at low levels, but on the dark side, the voltage can reach hundreds or thousands of volts.”
Io-Jupiter flux tube
Io-Jupiter flux tube: as Io crosses through Jupiter’s atmosphere, an electric current is generated estimated at 10 million amps.
Io’s volcanoes have been suggested to be powered electrically.
Saturn’s moon Enceladus has electrically charged ice particles making up its plumes.
↑ Walter A. Lyons, CCM, Thomas E. Nelson, Russell A. Armstrong, Victor P. Pasko, and Mark A. Stanley, “Upward Electrical Discharges From Thunderstorm Tops”, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 84, Issue 4 (April 2003) (PDF)
↑ M Voiculescu, et al, “Clouds blown by the solar wind”, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 8 Number 4, October-December 2013 (abstract and full text)
↑ Alfven, H., Cosmic plasma (1981) Astrophysics and Space Science Library. Volume 82), 1981. “III.5.3. “Current Systems in the Magnetosphere of Venus” Page 62
↑ Edmond Murad, Iwan P. Williams, “Meteors in the Earth’s Atmosphere: Meteoroids and Cosmic Dust and their Interactions with the Earth’s Upper Atmosphere” (2002) Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521804310 (p.257)
↑ J.S. Halekas et al, “Extreme lunar surface charging during solar energetic particle events”, Geophysical Research Letters., 34, L02111, doi:10.1029/2006GL028517 (Full text, PDF)
↑ Saur, Joachim; Neubauer, Fritz M.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Zarka, Philippe; Kivelson, Margaret G., “Plasma interaction of Io with its plasma torus“, In: Jupiter. The planet, satellites and magnetosphere. Edited by Fran Bagenal, Timothy E. Dowling, William B. McKinnon. Cambridge planetary science, Vol. 1, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-81808-7, 2004, p. 537 – 560. (PDF)