Charles Bruce

Charles Bruce electric stars thermonuclear theory universe euCharles Bruce was an early proponent of electricity linked to stars and our sun but he seems to have suggested that the electrical activity was only external and not internal.

Bruce believed the theory that stars were powered internally by some form of nuclear fusion but that all its atmospheric phenomena were explained by electrical processes.


The object is to show that all cosmic atmospheric phenomena can be explained as deriving from electrical discharges, resulting from the breakdown of electric fields generated by the asymmetrical impacts between dust particles, such as are effective in terrestrial electrical sand and dust storms and in thunderstorms. These electrical discharges form, for example, the solar photosphere at 6,000°K, superposed on an atmospheric background temperature of less than 4,000°K at which solids can and do form. Isolated discharges form the solar prominences and solar flares.

The electrical discharge theory of the latter led to the prediction (1959) that they must emit X-rays before these were observed by the first U.S.N. satellite observations in 1960 and observations of the transverse magnetic fields surrounding two flares in 1966 by Severny have confirmed that the flares are, in fact, electrical discharges.

Despite over 50 years of observations of longitudinal magnetic fields in the umbra of sunspots and of gas velocities limited to around 2 km per second in the Evershed effect, Severny confirmed that the former are actually transverse and Bumba confirmed that the latter reach 8 km per second, each in accordance with the theory's predictions.
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Sunspots: Explanation and Structure

Whereas most astrophysical theories were and probably still are embarrassed by the observation of the low temperatures of sunspot's in which we are able to see further down into the sun's atmosphere, this relatively low gas temperature naturally confirmed one of the discharge theories earliest tacit predictions, that, the temperature of the atmosphere surrounding the photospheric arcs must, be much lower than that of the discharges themselves.

It was suggested in the original summary of these ideas that the cause of the extinction of the photospheric arcs is the occurrence of a much larger discharge or facula which neutralized the electric field in their immediate neighbourhood. It was then emphasized in support of this view that, "sunspots are always accompanied by faculae, and are in fact preceded by them", as had been then determined at Greenwich and as is generally agreed.
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The existence of the penumbra too was readily accounted for and followed from the attraction on one another of parallel currents. The current decreases outwards in these atmospheric discharges since the current passing any point has to maintain the lateral corona currents beyond that point. It follows that the the discharges near the "surface" of the photosphrere will be pulled outwards from the centre of the spot and downwards so that a vertical section through a spot will have the form shown in Fig.1, in which the width of the individual arc channels represents diagrammatically the magnitude of the current.
Charles Bruce - Successful Predictions of the Electrical Discharge Theory of Cosmic Atmospheric Phenomena and Universal Evolution (1968) |

Charles Bruce biographies

In 1944, the late Charles Bruce wrote of many astronomical phenomena in a privately published monograph, A New Approach in Astrophysics and Cosmogony, a work which some of you will be familiar with. There he noted that many of the phenomena seen above the surfaces of stars can be explained as analogues, on a much grander scale, of lightning discharges which are observed in the atmosphere of the Earth. Using the notion that the things happening above the surfaces of stars are electrical, Bruce was able to explain many curious things that have puzzled astronomers about the very brightest stars, and also about those stars which vary in brightness over periods of years, weeks, or in some cases even hours.
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... Extending his idea of the existence of cosmic-scaled electrical discharges, Bruce noted that the nova eruption - popularly perceived as the explosion of a star - could also be explained using a cosmic atmospheric model. Seen conventionally, the nova eruption can mark the death of a star; to Bruce it was a discharge of great extent but with no fatal consequence for the star. Bruce's theorising, despite its congruence with observation, was not considered at all by astronomers, because he introduced the wrong word into the language: that word was electricity.

... Whatever the reason, Bruce did not question the notion that the stars were thermonuclear-powered; he accepted the current astronomical opinion about how stars generated energy. His insight was to note that electrical processes were happening above the surfaces of many stars. He dealt only with the observational part of the astronomy: what goes on inside stars is a sort of fantasy which we all subscribe to because none of us have seen what happens inside stars. All we can observe is the radiation that emerges from the stars' surfaces, and what happens to the atmosphere transmitting that radiation.

...Bruce's work didn't even draw attention when he predicted the quasi-stellar objects (or quasars) which have dominated astronomy in the decade from 1960 to 1970. He described very nicely the phenomena accompanying the galaxy-scaled electrical discharge which he claimed produced the observed quasar. When spacecraft were built and launched, they observed all the things he said were there; yet nobody pays attention to Bruce.
Charles Bruce (1902 - 1979) - Electrical Discharge Theory |

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Electrical current naturally flows through space in “thin streamers”. It can accelerate matter over vast distances and form high velocity jets. It can light up “blobs” of gas far from any star. The late Dr. Charles Bruce of the Electrical Research Association in England and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society identified planetary nebulae as catastrophic stellar electric discharges as long ago as the 1960’s. His insight has been ignored.

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1924 he joined the Electrical Research Association (now ERA Technology Ltd) in Leatherhead, England, where he begun analysing the operation of oil circuit-breakers. An interest in electrical arcing developed into a study of lightning discharges, where:

Similarity between quantities he had calculated from first principles in his work on lightning, and values deduced from astrophysical observations, led Charles Bruce to the conclusion that most astrophysical phenomena could be interpreted as the results of electrical discharges on the cosmic scale. The idea totally captured his imagination, and he developed it with great vigour in a series of about fifty publications, being greatly encouraged in this work by two highly respected astrophysicists, Sydney Chapman at Oxford and F.J.M. Stratton at Cambridge.
Charles Edward Rhodes Bruce | plasma-universe

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Since it looked like a supernova, one naturally would assume that was the end of the star. All that should be left are beautiful nebula and, perhaps, a neutron star or black hole where the original star once stood. Instead, Eta Cannae is still there.

For The Electric Universe there are no surprises. As long ago as 1968 Dr Charles Bruce of the UK Electrical Research Association identified planetary nebulae as bipolar electrical discharges from a central star. Eta Carina obviously belongs in that category.

Electrical work - Bruce's first years at ERA were spent working on the analysis of oil-based circuit breakers. He published a sequence of papers on the subject including one that won the Institute of Electrical Engineers' Kelvin Premium award, and helped keep ERA on top of the then-rapid growth in circuit breaker technology. In 1939, still at ERA, he shifted his attention to lightning. His 1941 paper "The lightning discharge" is heavily cited, and was again the winner of the Kelvin premium. His contributions included a significant strengthening of the electrical gradients known to occur in lightning strikes, and a demonstration that grounding of transmission lines may be counterproductive.

Astrophysics - Beginning in 1941, when he attended a lecture on astrophysics at Edinburgh University, Bruce's own interests headed in the same direction. He immediately developed a theory that solar prominences consisted of electrical discharges in plasma, rather than of moving solar matter, and he eventually published over 100 papers concerning the electrical basis of various cosmological phenomena. However, his work in this area has been largely ignored by mainstream science.
Charles Bruce (physicist)

In August 1972 Ralph Juergens introduced the concept of the electrically powered Sun. 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; by Melvin Cook's attempts to unify the electromagnetic and gravitational fields; 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.
Electric sun hypothesis - Electric Sun Model |

The term 'Electric Universe' has been used before, but never in the same broad, holistic sense. Australian Physicist, Wal Thornhill, is regarded as the founder of this Electric Universe. In July 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Sagnac award for lifetime achievement at the 20th annual conference of the Natural Philosophy Alliance.

Previoulsy, Charles Bruce used the term in 1960 in: "An All-Electric Universe". Electrical Review, 162, pp. 1070-1075, 23 Dec. 1960.
A Brief History of The Electric Universe |

Charles Bruce bibliography

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Charles E R Bruce detailed bibliography list | plasma-universe

Charles Bruce links to some of his articles:

  • A New Approach in Astrophysics and Cosmogony (1944)
  • Solar prominences (1946)
  • The emission spectra of novae (1949)
  • Cosmic Thunderstorms (1959)
  • Temperatures reached in Electrical Discharges in the Solar Atmosphere (1960)
  • Stellar temperatures (1962)
  • The Extension of Atmospheric to Space Electricity (1963)
  • Magnetic fields in solar flares
  • The magnetic fields of sunspots
  • Successful Predictions of the Electrical Discharge Theory of Cosmic Atmospheric Phenomena and Universal Evolution (1968)
  • The role of electrical discharges in astrophysical phenomena (1975)