Conventionally plasma is a state of matter, the fourth state of matter after solid, liquid and gas. It is a very energised and volatile state of matter. Matter is made up of atoms of elemental substance. These atoms in turn comprise a central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons. The nucleus carries a positive electrical charge and the electrons a negative one. The relationship between the nucleus and its cloud of electrons determines the external relationship between neighbouring atoms. It determines how strongly they link together and consequently what type of matter they form. The various forms of matter can be summarised in general terms as follows:
- In the solid-state atoms are in their least excited state. They bond together in close formation to form more rigid structures. These collections of atoms generally form molecules. At a higher level of structure, they can form crystals of various kinds. The atoms are fairly bound in place with little freedom of movement.
- In the liquid state atoms are a bit more excited. They need more space and are further apart from each other. There is more freedom to move so that atoms or molecules can flow past each other. This gives fluidity. But there still isn’t enough space for the substance to be compressible.
- In the gaseous state atoms and molecules are more excited again. This equates to a higher temperature. They need still more space. There is greater freedom of movement and in addition there is scope for compression.
- In the plasma state atoms are most excited. In this case there is enough energy to separate some of the electrons from their host nucleus. This leaves an unbalanced positive electrical charge on the nucleus, which is now known as a positive ion or charged particle. The lighter electrons float around more freely with their negative electrical charge. It’s as if the two polarities in the atom are no longer ‘married’. The components revert to single status and ‘do their own thing’. The two components can still interact with each other, but are no longer bound to each other.
Plasma therefore is an energised or excited state of matter. There is a significant degree of ionisation, where clouds of electrons move through a sea of ions. Generally, not all the atoms in a plasma are ionised. But enough are to give it its characteristic properties. Because of the freedom of the electrical components, plasmas are very good conductors of electrical energy. Electrical currents flow easily through them. They are also very susceptible to electro-magnetic influences, fields, etc. The currents flowing through plasmas in turn can create their own electro-magnetic fields, which can interact with external fields. Plasmas are very energised and are easily influenced.
It is important to appreciate that plasma is separate from light and lies ‘below’ it in the natural scheme of things. Plasma is matter. It comprises atomic particles that move at matter speeds. Light is a purer form of energy. It is more refined in nature and moves at much higher speeds, the speed of light. Light comprises a broad spectrum of radiations from radio waves to visible light, X rays, cosmic rays, and so on up the scale of frequency. Light also has an electro-magnetic nature. As such it can interact with the electro-magnetic properties of matter, plasmas and so on.
The arrangement is illustrated in the diagram above. Matter condenses or increases in density down through the four states from plasma to solid state. Conversely there is a rarefication, expansion and increasing refinement as we go in the opposite direction from solid towards gas and plasma. Energy and matter are more bound in the solid state and more free and flowing in the plasma state. Although we don’t see a lot of plasma on earth much of the matter in the universe exits in the form of plasma in stars, inter stellar plasma currents and so on.
This composition of matter is present on earth also. Matter is present in the solid state as land, rocks, mountains, etc. It exists in the liquid state as water, the oceans, etc. on the surface. It also exists as lava flows within the core of the planet. Matter exists in the gaseous state as air in the atmosphere.
There is a constant stream of energy flowing from the sun. This strikes the upper levels of the atmosphere. It energises the gas there, ionising it to create a layer of plasma in the upper levels of the atmosphere, about 60 to 400 miles up. This plasma region forms the ionosphere. It is regarded as a sub layer within the thermosphere. This plasma layer is dynamic and volatile and varies between the day and night sides of the planet due to the varying incidence of solar radiation.
The electrical nature of the ionosphere causes it to reflect radio waves. This allows radio transmissions to propagate large distances around the planet with repeated bouncing off the ionosphere. It acts much like a mirror in the sky to such electromagnetic wave transmissions. It therefore plays a major role in modern communications. Its behaviour is of great interest in relation to this. It is monitored closely and has been studied extensively.
Obviously, the sun is the primary source and distributor of energy within the solar system. It is the power station for the system. The great bulk of energy arrives from the sun in the form of light or electromagnetic radiation. We experience some of this as sunlight. The different ranges of frequency form bands of light radiation, e.g. infra-red, visible, ultra-violet (UV) light, X-rays and so on. These are illustrated to the right in the diagram above. Most of the lower frequency bands, such as visible light, come down through the atmosphere onto the surface of the earth to warm us, provide energy for plant growth, etc.
Most of the higher frequency bands such as UV are filtered by layers in the atmosphere or reflected by clouds. The diagram above indicates that not all of these bands reach the surface level. Effectively the atmosphere has sun screens to filter the more energetic and potentially more harmful rays such as UV and X-rays. In absorbing the energy of these rays these atmospheric layers are energised and become ionised to form plasma in the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is electrically charged and very conductive. Its interaction with the earth’s magnetic field causes electric currents to flow through it. These currents in turn create additional magnetic fields. The incoming radiation and energisation causes streams of plasma to boil off from the ionosphere and to rise up higher in the atmosphere. These in turn interact with earth’s magnetic field. They are contained by it and directed back towards the earth.
These plasma flows form a huge Plasmasphere around the planet that is shaped by the earth’s magnetic field. This is illustrated in the diagram above. This containment of the plasma is very important, as otherwise significant portions of the atmosphere would gradually leak off into space. Likewise, water vapour from the oceans rising through the atmosphere could gradually leak into space, if there were no containment at this level. Our planetary water resources as well as our atmosphere could be boiled off without it.
There is another stream of energy coming from the sun in addition to light radiation. The abundant energy of the sun creates a huge plasma ball around it known as its corona. The sun has its own magnetic field which mostly contains this plasma within a plasma sphere. However, the containment isn’t perfect. Some of the plasma leaks through cracks in the magnetic containment and shoots away from the sun in high speed jets to form what is known as the solar wind.
Disturbances on the sun create local sun spots, solar flares and plasma eruptions known as corona mass ejections (CMEs). These further contribute to the plasma flow from the sun and the solar wind. The solar wind propagates out through the solar system striking any planets along the way. As a stream of plasma, it is very energised matter that has strong electrical and magnetic characteristics. The variations in the solar wind create what is known as space weather.
The solar wind approaching the earth is influenced by the earth’s magnetic field. The earth’s magnetic field derives mostly from the earth’s core with contributions from the currents in the ionosphere. This interacts with the stream of electrically charged plasma particles flowing from the sun deflecting the flow around the planet. This zone of magnetic interaction with the solar wind is known as the magnetosphere. It is illustrated in the diagram below.
The magnetosphere acts as a deflection field directing the solar wind and any additional cosmic plasma flows coming in from outside the solar system around the planet. The sun has its own magnetic field reaching out through the solar system. The solar wind is also magnetised. The nature of these external magnetic fields, shown to the left in the diagram above as IMF (Interplanetary Magnetic Field), influences the nature and strength of the interaction with the earth’s magnetic field.
The magnetosphere has more the shape of a comet with a long tail than that of a sphere. The plasma zone and magnetic fields are compressed on the sun facing side of the planet, to the left in the diagram above. The plasma currents in the solar wind diverge around the planet and gradually come together again in the wake of the planet. The plasma currents drag the earth’s magnetic field with them into an extended magneto tail on the side of the planet facing away from the sun. This tail extends over a large distance.
There are some additional structures within the magnetosphere. The Van Allen Radiation Belts comprise pockets of energised plasma within the magnetosphere. There are two levels to this – an inner layer of heavier positively charged protons and an outer layer of lighter negatively charged electrons. There is a zone in the southern Atlantic where the Van Allen belts dip into the lower atmosphere weakening the earth’s magnetic field in that region. This is known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.
Earth’s magnetic field lines converge on the planet near the North and South poles. These carry plasma currents into the middle atmosphere layers, where they manifest as the Aurora Lights. When there is a lot of electrical activity due to a lively solar wind the Aurora currents are stronger. Also, the nature of the fields in the incoming solar winds can cause the Aurora currents and associated lights to spread out from the Poles and to appear at lower latitudes.
The magnetosphere provides a significant interface between solar influence and the earth. It is where earth meets the sun and interacts with its energy flows. The ionosphere is a significant part of this interaction. The flow of energy from the sun impacts the planet as space weather. This space weather is mediated through the magnetosphere and ionosphere. This is known and studied as the Sun-Earth Connection. See Refs [7, 8 & 9].
These solar energy flows and influences propagate down through the atmosphere to influence both atmospheric and ocean currents. These in turn distribute the inflowing energy on the surface of the planet to create our normal climates and weather. See Ref  for a beautiful animation by NASA of solar influences impacting the planet and providing the energy to drive our weather systems. This is well worth viewing.
The magnetosphere and ionosphere play key roles in protecting the planet. They provide a deflection field to divert excessive or potentially harmful incoming energy flows around the planet. The also play a significant role in preventing the evaporation of our atmosphere and oceans.
Our neighbouring planet Mars, for example, did have a magnetic field in the past. At a certain point this magnetic field collapsed for some reason. This removed the deflection field from the planet and allowed the solar wind to access its atmosphere and progressively blow most of it away over time. Likewise, Mars appears to have lost most of whatever water it had. This severely compromises the capacity for such a planet to support life. Venus likewise lacks sufficient magnetic field protection and has had its atmosphere severely compromised.
The planetary magnetic field is key to the sustainability of a living environment. This geomagnetic field changes over time and has undergone polarity reversals in the distant past. The sun’s magnetic field likewise changes. It undergoes a polarity reversal on a regular basis. The solar magnetic field reverses polarity about every 11 years at the peak of its solar cycle. The sun experienced such a reversal in late 2013 and is now completing its latest polarity reversal.
The ionosphere and associated plasmasphere are a natural abode for any plasma ships or beings and a natural theatre for any plasma related issues or conflicts
The ionosphere provides a significant interface with the magnetosphere and the vital role it plays in the life of the planet. It helps regulate the solar energy flows and mediate their interaction with the lower atmosphere and surface weather systems. It also plays a major role in communications by providing a deflection field to bounce radio waves back to the surface and around the earth. Without it wireless communications would tend to leak off into space and be much less effective.
Because of its planetary and economic importance, the ionosphere is monitored closely and is studied actively. There is a large network of monitoring locations, some of which are detailed in such as Ref . Live information on aspects of the ionosphere is published in such as Ref  and is readily available.
In addition to monitoring, there are locations equipped to interact directly with the ionosphere. Ionospheric heaters are used for this. These are arrays of antennae that send focused beams of electromagnetic radiation up into the ionosphere. This radiation energises the plasma in the ionosphere, heating it and causing it to rise higher in the atmosphere. The energies involved (several MWs) are quite significant in terrestrial terms although less so when compared with energy flows from the sun.
The ionosphere is already quite excited and very volatile. It is easily influenced. We can think of it in terms of a conventional plasma ball. Putting a finger on the plasma ball has a significant impact on the plasma, which is very easily moved around. Ionospheric heaters are significant agents of influence on the earth’s plasma field.
An ionospheric heater beam pokes the plasma somewhat like a finger on a plasma ball. It can move the plasma around, cause electric currents to re-distribute energy and so on. The heater beams are tuned to plasma resonant frequencies, so their impact is amplified. They are also pulsed to send short but very intense bursts of energy into the plasma. Also, when synchronised between different locations around the planet they can presumably cause shifts in the plasma flows and behaviour.
One of the effects of the ionospheric heaters is to raise a plasma dome in the atmosphere. The ionosphere serves a major role in acting as a mirror to reflect radio waves back to earth and around the globe. The plasma dome acts like a concave mirror that can be used to reflect a focused beam of radiation / energy back to earth in a specific location, i.e. like a lens. Applications have been described where this can be used for ground penetrating radar, energy beams and so on. There have been news items describing the use of such heaters to generate and sustain artificial balls of plasma in the atmosphere.
Ostensibly these ionospheric heaters are used in atmospheric research and communications enhancement and many of the applications may well relate to this. However, there are obvious possibilities also for working with the solar – earth interface in the magnetosphere, with energy flows into the atmosphere that generate our weather and for directing energy beams to ground around the planet. If scalar waves are used in conjunction with these facilities that’s a whole other ball game. Also, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that the ionosphere may also be subject to beaming from outside, e.g. from such as the moon.
What appears to be the original heater installation is the Haarp facility around Gakona in south eastern Alaska. There are a number of both heater and monitoring facilities distributed around this location. These are illustrated by the red diamonds to the upper left in the diagram below. See Ref  for more details. Note that most of the locations marked in Ref  are monitoring locations. The active heater locations are marked by the red diamonds with a black background.
What is noticeable from the diagram is that the Haarp facility is located relatively close to the Pole of the Easter Island – Giza set of grids discussed earlier. These are the set of white grid lines. It is not exactly at the Grid Pole itself but is well within beaming distance. It is noteworthy to see such a facility so close to such a significant and powerful grid connection point.
The next most powerful ionospheric heater installation is the primary European facility known as Eiscat. This is a set of facilities in northern Scandinavia, mostly located in northern Norway near Tromso and with a smaller installation in Svalbard. These are illustrated to the upper right in the diagram above. These are pretty much aligned on the grid meridian coming up from Giza. The blue grid lines illustrate key grid lines through Svalbard, as mentioned previously.
There are other ionospheric heater installations located around the globe in Russia, China, India, Japan and so on, as detailed in Ref . There is a significant installation in the Caribbean at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. There is also a significant facility at Jicamarca in the mountains near Lima in Peru.