December 9, 2017
Deeper Look – Episode 95 (2017)
On December 7th I had a phone call with Dr. Gurnett (Space Plasma Physics, University of Iowa) who co-authored the paper on ion-trapping dust hiding the electric currents at Enceladus. While I recorded the call, we had numerous long-winded discussions and I have simply selected some of the important points below:
Regarding the ‘hiding of electric currents in space,’ I asked: “Is this a process unique to Enceladus or could it be applied elsewhere in the cosmos.”
Dr. G: “This is a very general process. It can happen anywhere there is dust… If they attract electrons you can have most of the negative charge on the dust. Dust has got some really interesting affects on plasmas.” But he cautioned this works “Only in very specialized regions where there happens to be a lot of dust.”
“Another good example is the ring system around planets,” he said. He declined to comment much on larger-scale structures of the universe, but said that he does pay attention to the dark matter debate. When describing a recent colloquium on dark matter, Dr. G said “It really sounds kind of depressing.”
I also was able to reach one of the co-authors of the “Cosmic V-Web” studies, Dr. Tully (U.Hawaii) and was disappointed to see he was 100% dark matter. I was able to have a slightly better response from Dr. G on the topic.