HomeISANProjects/PartnershipsJohn Dobson MonthHistoryJohn DobsonAstronomy NewsNewslettersRecognitionArticlesGalleryTelescope PlansshopLocal ContactsBoard MembersNat'l OrganizersRegional Org.LinksResourcesSchedule/EventsFlyersIYA 2009Dark SkyPlanet EarthKey contacts

TWISTERS IN TEXAS

By John Dobson
Published 2004-10-22 13:39:35
From 2002

It appears to me now that twisters in Texas are the observational evidence that galaxies are born in bunches.

 

In those early clouds of primordial hydrogen, condensing to form galaxies, it is to be expected that down in the center of such a cloud, where the density is greatest, several enormous galaxies, like M86 and M87, would curdle out first. Smaller galaxies, still falling in, on passing one of these larger galaxies would be spun up by gravitational interactions. (This would happen even to clouds not yet condensed to galaxies.)

 

Now stars condensing from a spinning cloud will themselves be spinning. They gather in the angular momentum of the cloud as they condense. And this angular momentum will be transferred by their spinning magnetic fields to what we may call the hovering layer (the halo of the galaxy).

 

This angular momentum is transferred to the hovering layer because young stars shine in the ultra violet and knock the electrons off the atoms near by, including the heavier atoms from stellar explosions. Then, since the stars are electrical conductors, their magnetic fields must spin with them. And it is these spinning magnetic fields (what I call the great magnetic eggbeaters) that transfer the angular momentum of those spinning stars to the surrounding atoms which carry it away on stellar winds to the hovering layer. In this way a large proportion of the angular momentum of the younger galaxy will be transferred to its hovering layer. It is this original angular momentum, picked up by passing a larger galaxy, that flattens the hovering layer to a disc and makes solar systems possible.

 

It appears to me now that only in the disc of a spinning galaxy could solar systems be expected to form. I see no other way to accomplish this. It takes a great deal of angular momentum to orbit spinning planets around a spinning star. And I see no way to get the required angular momentum unless galaxies are born in bunches and the smaller ones are spun up by passing the larger ones. And I think the stellar winds of the larger galaxies blow the dust and gas too far away to form a disc.

 

Now, about twisters. Since the molecular weight of water is only eighteen while the molecular weights of nitrogen and oxygen are twenty eight and thirty two, and since we have the same number of molecules in a given volume of air at the same temperature and pressure, wet air is a great deal lighter than dry air. (That's why the clouds are flat on the bottom. The drier air stays down below.) So the wet air goes up, cools off and drips. You must have noticed. And when water vapor precipitates out as cloud or rain its heat of vaporization is released into the cloud.

 

It takes five hundred and forty calories to evaporate a gram of water. That's almost three times as much heat as is required to melt a gram of ice and bring that water to a boil. And when water vapor is precipitated out, to cloud or rain, all that heat is released into the cloud. So the cloud goes up, cools off and drips some more. That starts it all over again, and it continues like that till it runs out of water vapor. And it's the air that comes in from below to replace the rising cloud that blows your house away.

 

Some time back, over the Gulf of Mexico, a large quantity of warm, wet air went up and cooled off while traveling north toward North Carolina. It dropped some ten inches of rain over North Carolina, and you have to think how much heat is required to evaporate ten inches of rain off North Carolina. That's how much heat went into that cloud. That's why it went up so high and was replaced by air from below. The hurricane doesn't bring the rain. The rain brings the hurricane. And it all starts when the warm, wet air goes up. And we could stop the whole thing by salting the Gulf of Mexico with ice cubes.

 

But why do we have twisters? Why does the air come in spinning? That's because our Galaxy itself was spinning, long ago, and the spin was transferred to the hovering layer so that the hovering layer could be flattened into the disc of the Milky Way in which the Sun and its planets were born. That's why the Earth is spinning. And the same Coriolis effect that throws you down sideways when you walk across the merry-go-round throws the wind sideways when it comes in from below, across a spinning Earth, to blow your house away. And the whirlwinds spin in the same direction south of the equator, only we see them from the other side.

 

If galaxies weren't born in bunches, I don't think we'd have twisters at all - in Texas or anywhere else. And I don't think we'd even have Texas.