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Compact Cosmos

43 42 A PLASMAUNIVERSE into the vortex A great deal of the visible universe is in the form of plasma, a gaseous,highenergy state of matter where electrons,stripped from their atoms,zip freely about. Plasmas conduct electricity excellently, tightly spiraling electrons through magnetic fields to produce dynamic Birkeland currents that coil into filaments. Such currents flow between Jupiter and its moons, and filaments over a hundred lightyears long, yet only three wide, have been detected in our galactic center. Plasma ribbons reaching far across deep space have been discovered,along with braided jets that shoot at near light speed from the cores of active galaxies. It has even been suggested that the galaxies themselves are acting as giant electrical generators opposite. Experiments show that at extremely high temperatures plasmas behave like liquids. It is possible that early on in its life the incredibly hot,young cosmos could have been filled by a searing plasma sea of strange subatomic quark molecules. The maximum size that filaments can achieve before becoming unstable has been calculated to be similar to the largest structures so far observed, the Great Walls. Galactic evolution has also been modelled by twisting currents in the laboratory below. It seems that plasmas may well hold the keys to many riddles.
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