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Birkeland Current Transformer

Build a thing in near space for free-ish energy
  [vote for,

The Birkeland Currents, or Field-Aligned Currents, flow along geomagnetic field lines between the magnetosphere to the high latitude ionosphere. The currents in the magnetosphere are influenced by the solar wind and IMF (interplanetary magnetic field), and by plasma activity through the magnetosphere.

I propose (or porpoise, depending on autocorrect) that we build a kind of transformer secondary, purely for the purposes (or porpoises, depending on autocorrect) of stealing energy all for ourselves. On the other hand, legitimately we could claim that it is ours anyway. If indeed we consider the earth and all around to be ours, even though it was here before we were. On yet another hand, this would finance interplanetary invasions, if we could tap similar energy currents from other planets before they realise they even have them (‘they’ being the inhabitants of the planet – probably Cyanobacteria).

The whole system of Birkeland Currents varies throughout the day, much like Telluric Currents do within the surface of the Earth. Put together, the entire Earth acts as a dynamo. Add to this the moon as a geomagnetic modulator, and you have an informational dynamo. Add to this the effect of corona discharge which is misinterpreted by Kirlian photography but correctly witnessed when seen as the effect of Aurora at the poles. In the latter case this is the plasma interaction between solar wind hitting the ionosphere and interacting with the magnetosphere and releasing energy as specific bandwidth photon emissions. The visible effect of Auroras is due to a secondary Hall current flow which is cancelled out on the ground, leaving the effect visible due to a secondary current – the auroral electrojet.

A specific kind of Aurora is the less visible “diffuse aurora”, and I’d like to propose a theory (wedged into this idea of a global transformer secondary) that the reason the sky is blue is not because of shorter blue wavelength scattering in the atmosphere (the Tyndall Effect, or more commonly but less correctly, Rayleigh scattering), but rather, that has some effect but doesn’t explain all of it. I suggest the main reason it is blue in the daytime is that we’re constantly being bathed in a low level coronal discharge, forming in effect a sky-wide blue aurora every day (but not at night – the “magnetic midnight”).

Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora [Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018]

https://en.m.wikipe...i/Birkeland_current [Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018]

https://en.m.wikipe...%27s_magnetic_field [Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018]

https://en.m.wikipe...ki/Telluric_current [Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018]

Birkenhead Currents https://www.icevirt...80/imotp.1869.23103
May 11th 1869, with plates - crank up the Babbage Engine!!! [not_morrison_rm, Jun 10 2018]

Proteus https://en.wikipedi..._Composites_Proteus
It's not big, but it IS clever ... and frighteningly fragile ... [8th of 7, Jun 10 2018]

Electric Ian, by Ian K Tindale https://distrokid.c...ow/ianktindale/emfN
My new album [Ian Tindale, Oct 12 2018]

Summer Blue Fade by Ian K Tindale https://youtu.be/yT04M-_lxNo
My new single, which is actually written partly about the Birkeland Currents, as featured in this idea (and partly about the Auroral zone) (and partly about those complex gradations of blue that you get in late summer sundowns). [Ian Tindale, Oct 12 2018]

Summer Blue Fade by Ian K Tindale https://distrokid.c...ow/ianktindale/emeI
My new single (the Spotify and Apple Music links) [Ian Tindale, Oct 12 2018]

Harnessing of the power of the solar wind particles captured in the Van Allen belts https://www.esa.int...2Space-Yakovlev.pdf
A paper on a related scheme. I only skimmed it, but it looks like they're capturing voltage instead of current. [notexactly, May 18 2019]

Space Tether Experiment https://www-spof.gs...cation/wtether.html
Cable trailing from the Space Shuttle induces a current from the Earth's magnetic field [discontinuuity, May 23 2019]


       It's a lot of messing about. Why don't you just harvest fusion plasma from your star ?
8th of 7, Jun 09 2018

       Sun’s over there, the magnetosphere is over here.
Ian Tindale, Jun 09 2018

       It's only eight of your minutes away, you lazy sod. Maybe an extra minute if you have to dodge round Venus or Mercury.   

       In planetary terms, it's still in TfL Zone 1. No-one's asking you to schlep out to Uxbridge or Cheshunt ... think of it as two stops along the Circle line.   

       Maybe when you've used up your sun then you'll have to go mine those gas giants for deuterium, but even with your species' notorious profligacy that's a while off ...
8th of 7, Jun 09 2018

       But how is it constructed? Most of the things I can think of are at lower altitudes.   

       Perhaps an EM mass driver that throws up neural particles, that then land fully charged onto a big static harvester? Perhaps something could be done with seawater.   

       At much lower altitudes, probably, would be a weather effecting thing like HAARP is purported to be, that would cause weather systems to gain altitude, then dip low to the ground to discharge.
beanangel, Jun 09 2018

       Yes, but what's in it for the porpoises? Nevertheless [+]   

       Later edit: possible prior art in Birkenhead Currents (see link) my [+] has now gone into the HB escrow account until the matter has been resolved.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 10 2018

       I keep reading this as Bikerland.   

       By //high latitude ionosphere// did you mean high altitude?   

       No, latitude, as in nearer the pole. The auroral zone is intercepted by the Birkelands, linking the magnetosphere with the ionosphere, at those places, at those times of day (region 1 and region 2 being the low latitude sheet, although still near the pole).
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2018

       Ah, it sort of made sense both ways.   

       beanangel, – as to how it is to be constructed, that’s probably not as problematic as one would at first think. An Earth battery (see Telluric current reference) would usefully pick up the potential difference in the underground magnetosphere current, as I’ve mentioned before on here, but that isn’t a lot of energy. A better arrangement might be to design a scheme which looks like a ridiculously large long-wire antenna array, but high up in the atmosphere. It would be a fairly loose and wide-open transformer secondary spread over a large geographical area. In fact, see the reference to the Aurora for an interesting recorded episode where telegraph operators at both ends within an Aurora event switched off their own power supplies. This kind of thing could be designed for, as a more permanent arrangement.
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2018

       // ridiculously large long-wire antenna array, but high up in the atmosphere. //   

       Have a look at some of Scaled Composite's (Burt Rutan) designs ... airframes with the capability to loiter at super high altitude. There are solar powered "flying wing" comms relay designs, intended to sub for LEO satellites.   

       Now, LEO bottoms at about 250km - below that, drag causes rapid orbital decay. According to the Wiki article, Birkeland had estimated currents "at heights of several hundred kilometres, and strengths of up to a million amperes". So you could run a conductor mesh between satellites, but what would you then do with the energy ? Microwave beaming ?   

       If there was free energy to be had at ground level or a bit above, it would be utilized already.
8th of 7, Jun 10 2018

       I wonder if it would be efficient enough to ‘chain’ consecutive airy transformers downwards?
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2018

       //Have a look at some of Scaled Composite's (Burt Rutan) designs ... airframes with the capability to loiter at super high altitude. //   

       Have you a link, [8th]?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 10 2018

       ^I can't provide the link, but weather balloons go high, so maybe a chain of those...
not_morrison_rm, Jun 10 2018

       Whenever I hear someone say things like “If there was x it’d be utilised already” or “David, please. The police are satisfied. I’m certain that if a monster were out roaming northern England we’d have seen it on the telly”, that’s a fairly sure sign to me that the situation isn’t closed, there’s more to explore, and the current wisdom is waiting to be overturned.
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2018

       [Ian], you must be right because if you were wrong we'd already know it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 10 2018

       // Have you a link, [8th]? //   

       Not only a link (q.v.), but close-up photos, and various unwelcome bruises ... it's not exactly spacious inside, and extrication is considerably more challenging than entry (for those who aren't actually emaciated midgets) as the entire vehicle is effectively marked "NO STEP" and "NO HANDHOLD" and its acolytes are not only attentive and highly protective of it but have a distinct predisposition to shout at guests for the most trivial of reasons. After all, we only wanted a bit as a souvenir. What harm can removing one tiny bolt do ?   

       On the plus side, in an emergency no ejector seat is necessary. Simply sniff the miniscule packet of pepper with which you are provided; one good sneeze will cause the thing to disintegrate around you.   


       // I’m certain that if a monster were out roaming northern England we’d have seen it on the telly”, //   

       We have. There is. Its name is Andy Burnham and it's never off the bloody telly ... its grinning simian countenance looms from every regional news program at every hour of the day and night. If only someone would deny it the "oxygen of publicity", or for preference just deny it oxygen - strangulation with a length of hemp rope would be favourite, followed by a wooden stake through the heart(s)*, submergence in Holy Water infused with garlic, and finally incineration in a responsibly-sourced environmentally-friendly vegan Wicker Man.   

       The alternative would be to coax it up the outside of the Manchester Hilton with a bait of TV news crews, and then attack it with machine gun fire from aerobatic biplanes.   


       *if any.
8th of 7, Jun 10 2018

       [beanangel] - //Perhaps an EM mass driver that throws up neural particles// sounds quite mind-blowing
lurch, Jun 10 2018

       I can now reveal that why I was interested in the Birkeland Currents was that I was writing the lyrics to my new single “Summer Blue Fade” at this time, and the song goes on about Birkeland Currents, and Auroral Zones and late summer sunset gradation depth and complexity.   

       Give it a listen and see if you like the song, if you don’t, spread it around and tell everyone else.
Ian Tindale, Oct 12 2018

       Something like this was tried with the Space Shuttle in the '90s (see link). It made 3500 volts before the cable melted.   

       The problem with this scheme was that it would gradually slow down the Shuttle. I'm not sure if a ground-based station would work the same.
discontinuuity, May 23 2019


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