Spiral 0313-192: The Right Kind of Galaxy

Spiral galaxy 0313-192 with its radio continuum lobes superimposed

The NASA website, in 2003, announced the discovery of radio lobes being found around the edge on spiral galaxy 0313-192.  They claimed that this was “the wrong kind of galaxy” for such radio lobe features to be seen in, noting that radio lobes are normally instead seen in giant elliptical galaxies.

I would counter this by saying, “No, this is the right kind of galaxy in which to expect to see radio lobes.”  In fact, back in 1983, in chapter 2 of my Ph.D. dissertation I pointed out that on occasion one should expect to see radio lobes around edge-on spirals extending approximately perpendicular to their galactic plane.  For those who have not had the opportunity, I recommend reading this reference which currently is available in expanded and updated form as the book Galactic Superwaves and their Impact on the Earth.  A brief explanation is also given in Appendix B of my book Earth Under Fire.

In my thesis I had taken the example of Centaurus A.  There I pointed out that Centaurus A is actually an edge-on spiral galaxy that has an ellipsoidal appearance because its high latitude gas is scattering visible emission from the core which is not seen at the galaxy’s equator due to the light attenuating effects of its edge on “spiral arm” dust lane.

Centaurus A with its inner radio lobes superimposed

Centaurus A is the nearest galaxy to us which is observed to have an active galactic nucleus.  The reason why we see it surrounded by light is because its nucleus is currently seen in its active state, as verified by the intense gamma and x-ray emission coming from its core.  When its core activity shuts off, this galaxy will once again appear as an edge on spiral galaxy having little or no activity at its core.  However, the cosmic rays forming its radio lobes will nevertheless continue propagating outward from the core beaming their synchrotron radio emission in our direction, just as galaxy 0313-192 is doing.  Thus 0313-192 would be an example of a spiral galaxy whose core Seyfert activity has recently shut off.  Evidence that this radio emission was associated with its core can be seen in this blow up image which shows a radio emission jet emanating from the galaxy’s core.

Close up of edge-on spiral galaxy 0313-192 showing a radio emission jet coming from its core.

Radio lobes are also seen flanking the edge-on spiral galaxy M82 seen below.

Edge-on spiral galaxy M82. The red lobes extended above and below its plane are radio emission lobes.

So, the discovery of spiral radio galaxy 0313-192, showing evidence of past cosmic ray emission from its core, is far from unexpected.  It in fact confirms the evolution sequence I had posited in 1983 where an edge-on active galaxy would evolve from a giant elliptical form to an edge-on spiral form as its core activity subsided.

For more information about this confirmed prediction and why an edge-on spiral galaxy would generate radio lobes in this fashion, see the above two cited books.

Paul LaViolette

Crab pulsar beams most energetic gamma rays ever detected from a pulsar

The Crab Nebula in the constellation of Taurus

On October 5, 2011, an international collaboration of astrophysicists announced that they had detected pulsed gamma ray emission from the Crab pulsar having the same period as the Crab pulsar.  Using the VERITAS Cherenkov telescope array in Arizona, they detected gamma ray energies in the range of 100 – 400 billion electron volts, higher than anything previously observed from a pulsar and so energetic that current pulsar cosmic ray acceleration models fail to explain it.


Earlier this year, astronomers announced that they had detected a gamma ray flare from the Crab Nebula that was produced by cosmic ray electrons having energies of up to 10 quadrillion electron volts.  See story at: http://starburstfound.org/superwaveblog/?p=75.  This is 100,000 times greater than the gamma ray energies observed to come from the Crab pulsar.  A conservative estimate would place the particle energies involved in producing the Crab Nebula flare as being several orders of magnitude higher than the particle energies inferred from the pulsar’s gamma emission.  So as concluded earlier, it is unlikely that the Crab pulsar is responsible for the Crab Nebula’s gamma emission.

Viewing coherent gamma synchrotron emission from the Crab Nebula

In a comment to the previous posting, gmagee has asked why a superwave hitting the entire remnant would  cause us to see a flare, given that the remnant is many light years in size.  He wonders why the emission due to a brief rise in superwave cosmic ray intensity would not average out over the entire remnant, thus preventing us from seeing an intensity change lasting only a few days.

The reason is that we are seeing gamma radiation from a very small area of the Nebula.  We don’t see the majority of the gamma ray emission radiated by the entire Nebula during a gamma ray flare; we only see the gamma emission that is directed precisely in our direction.  In other words, this gamma emission is coherent synchrotron emission, rather than incoherent synchrotron emission.  Consider that the cosmic rays producing this gamma emission are normally considered to have energies of between 1015 to 1016 ev.  This means that the cosmic ray electrons have Lorentz factors (γ) of between 109 and 1010.  Electrons of such high energy beam their gamma synchrotron emission in a narrow cone in the forward direction of their travel where the cone aperture has a half diameter of: θ =  1/γ radians = 10-9 – 10-10 radians.  This equals just 0.2 to 0.02 milliarc seconds!  So when these gamma rays are orbit around magnetic field lines encountered in the Crab’s magnetized plasma sheath, they will beam their radiation in a very limited direction which we will see only when those electrons are aimed towards us in their gyration orbit.  A deviation of more than this angle and their radiation will be entirely invisible to us.  The actual radiation cone that will be beamed out will be wider than this because the superwave cosmic rays impacting the Nebula will have some degree of angular dispersion.  Let us say that the incident volley has an angular variation of 1 degree of arc.  Then cosmic ray electrons spiralling around Nebula field lines a short distance away which beam their radiation, let us say two degrees away from our line of sight will be totally invisible to us.
If you calculate the depth of the Nebula in the line of site (considering that the superwave cosmic rays are travelling away from us toward the Galactic anticenter) then this calculates to d = r (1 – cos θ), where r = 4 light years, the approximate radius of the Nebula.  For θ = 1 degree this calculates to 0.0006 ly, or a depth of 0.2 light days.  So variations in cosmic ray intensity lasting 1 light day or more should certainly be reflected in gamma ray intensity variations of comparable duration.

In 1977 W. Kundt wrote that the incoherent synchrotron emission can only account for ~1% of the optical luminosity in the Crab Nebula’s wisp region and neither can it account for the 1% fraction of the optical emission which is circularly polarized.  This led him to propose that the Crab Nebula was being energized by a cosmic ray “beam” that was producing coherent synchrotron emission, the mechanism we are proposing above.  In particular, he proposed that the emission was being produced by stimulated synchro-Compton emission being beamed toward the observer.  As I pointed out in 1983 (p.177 – 179 of my Ph.d. dissertation), this emission is most likely stimulated by superwave cosmic rays propagating along our line of sight toward the Galactic anticenter and impacting the Crab Nebula.  The pulsar is an unlikely origin for the beamed emission comiing from the wisps since the vector from the pulsar to the wisps makes a large angle with respect to our line of sight.  The superwave source is left as the more plausible alternative.

Kundt, W. “The Wisps in the Crab Nebula: A Cosmic Laser?” Astronomy and Astrophysics 60 (1977):L19.


Events triggered by the 40,000 year BP superwave

OC inquired:

“Do you think the C 40,000 BC superwave event had anything to to do with this?  Significant new information shows that the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption from the Phlegrean Fields, southern Italy, was much larger than hitherto supposed and in fact one of the largest late Quaternary explosive events.  The eruption can be dated to 40,000 calendar years ago, within the interval of the so-called Middle to Upper Paleolithic ‘transition’.  Its position can be precisely correlated with a number of other environmental events, including Heinrich Event 4 (HE4), the Laschamp excursion, and a particular cosmogenic nuclide peak.”

Yes, many of the events you describe here would have been caused by the 40,000 years before present superwave.  Actually the Vostok ice core indicates that the beryllium-10 concentration peak (the cosmogenic nuclide peak) began its rise around 45,000 years before present (B.P.), or around 43,000 years B.C; see the Vostok Be-10 chart below.

Earth's cosmic ray exposure based on the Vostok beryllium-10 deposition rate record

The 40,000 superwave passage date that I had estimated from the observed polar azimuthal extent of the Fermi bubble relative to the galactic plane was based on the assumption that we lie 23,000 light years from the Galactic center.  Other astronomers prefer to use a slightly greater distance estimate of 26,000 light years.  If we were to instead use the 26,000 light year distance value, we would then calculate a superwave passage date of 45,000 years B.P.  So we can say that the Fermi gamma ray bubble predicts that its associated superwave would have passed the Earth between 40 and 45 thousand years ago.

Looking at the Cariaco Basin radiocarbon record, we see that there was also a pronounced and prolonged rise in the atmosphere’s radiocarbon excess.  This began around 44,000 years ago and peaked around 40,000 years ago; see graph below.

Radiocarbon record from the Cariaco Basin ocean sediment core (Hughen, et al. 2004). Arrows indicate times of rapid increase in C-14 excess.

This too was likely due to the arrival of superwave cosmic rays from the Galactic center.  At no time in the past 50,000 years did Earth experience such a pronounced and prolonged rise in atmospheric C-14 concentration.  The superwave would have injected cosmic dust into the solar system and this would have aggravated the Sun causing an increase in severe solar storms.  So it is not surprising that we find the Laschamp excursion coinciding with this event.  Also Heinrich event H5 occurred in the midst of this event (42,000 to 43,000 years B.P.).  As I describe in my dissertation update http://etheric.com/LaVioletteBooks/EUF-CD.html, Heinrich events mark times of pronounced glacier wave activity when sudden climatic warming caused mountainous waves of glacial meltwater to sweep across the ice sheets and out into the ocean, depositing continental debris far out to sea.  This would be another symptom of a superwave passage.  It is difficult to tell if the CI volcanic eruption was also causally associated with the superwave passage.  For a causal connection one might either look to isostatic changes due to ice sheet thickening or thinning, or to gravity wave effects.

OC further inquired:

“Regarding the beryllium-10 concentration peaks (please remember I’m not a scientist), there is one around the time of the Toba super-volcano explosion … roughly 73,000 BC as well.  What could be said about that event with relation to a superwave event (gravity wave connected?), or do we know?”

This is an interesting observation.  Two major volcanic eruptions appear to correlate with the dates of major Be-10 peaks in the Vostok record, i.e., with passage dates of major superwaves.  It would be interesting to do a complete statistical analysis of volcanic eruption dates to see if a sound correlation is found with Be-10 peak dates.  I have not done this.

P. LaV.