Seems like mainstream might be waking up to electro-magnetism in space. Gary sent in a link to www.quantamagazine.org/the-hidden-magnetic-universe-begins-to-come-into-… … which concerns magnetic fields in space. Magnetism permeates entire galaxy clusters it would seem, including the space between galaxies. Invisible field lines sweep through inter galactic space like the grooves of fingerprints on your hands. Last year astronomers had a close look at a region of space that had sparse sign of stars or other cosmic bodies. Yet, they discovered the largest magnetic field in space yet found. A large filament of the cosmic web. This, it seems, is just the tip of the iceberg and more discoveries awaitt hsoe astronomers that deem to look for the stuff.
The next question. Where do these magnetic fields originate? It clearly cannot be related to the activities of single galaxies. Is it primordial? Going back to Big Bang. Is it responsible for a faster than expected expansion of the universe?
They admit that magnetism has been avoided by cosmologists for years and it is now about to throw a lot of cosmological calculations into dissarray. Magnetic fields arise where electric charge flows. Earth's magnetic field, it is thought, has grown from moments after Big Bang, and astrophysical processes such as star formation and the flow of matter into black holes create magnetised winds that spread out from galaxies – into deep space. Still treading water it seems.
Ruth Durrer, a Swiss theoretical cosmologist, explained that magnetism is the only force apart from gravity that can shape the large scale structure of the universe, as only magnetisim and gravity are capable of reaching out over vast distances. In contrast. electricity is localised, and short lived. We might compare that statement to a flash of lightning. She continues by saying the nagative and positive charge in any given region will neutralise itself. However, it seems cosmologists are not prepared to ditch the standard model of the universe. Instead, they seem to want to use magnetism to solve the recent puzzles in red shift and measurement of the Hubble constant. It has become a tool to tweak their own version of the universe. This, we might hazard a guess, is why magnetism is in the spotlight. It is not being ignored for a reason. For the moment it is thought to be a useful tool for modelling but the chickens may come home to roost as electro-magnetism also involves electrictiy.