The Electric Universe and the Saturnian Idea

Hollow Planets and Moons?

Helen and Barry Setterfield, July 2017

Note:  As part of an email list-serve, we became aware of something called the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory being promoted by folk in the Electric Universe group.  Quite sure that there had been plenty of articles debunking it on the net, we simply wanted to put up a quick refutation in answer to some emails.  However, what we found on the net was that the Saturnian Reconstruction folk have flooded the internet with their ideas, regardless of any physics or astronomy which might be relevant.  Thus, we have only some YouTube offerings at the end for additional materials, and we are hoping that there will be more people who are familiar with what is being promoted by these folk who will present more good science, especially in physics and astronomy, to show that it is nonsense.

In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky captured the imagination of thousands, and probably tens of thousands, with his book Worlds in Collision.  He begins his book by describing what we knew about the solar system in that time and what various theories of origins were regarding bits of it, especially earth and its geological and geographical features.  He then proceeds, throughout the book, to look at ancient legends from around the world in an attempt to answer some of the quandaries presented in the first chapters.

Other books followed, following the same pattern, and generally relying more on ancient legends for explanations than anything else.  Before anything else is said, it must be firmly established that there are very few, if any, researchers into ancient legends and writings to match Velikovsky.  His research is amazing.  And it is still useful today in terms of the research itself.

From 1973 to 1979, more and more people were not only actively following Velikovsky’s work, but promoting it as fact.  According to legends, Venus, for instance, had originally been part of Jupiter, but been expelled, come close to earth, causing catastrophes, and then settled into orbit as the second planet out from the sun.  By 1979, Velikovsky proposed that, according to ancient legends, Saturn had originally been a brown dwarf and had been our sun.  At some point the planets were lined up, not along a plane of the ecliptic as they are now, but rather stacked on top of each other.  This is called the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory.
This idea of Saturn and the earlier position of the planets is now being promoted by folk in the Electric Universe group.  The reliance upon Velikovsky’s material is still foundational.  Recently one of their leading proponents has declared that Jupiter, the earth and our moon are hollow.  This, it is felt, accounts for some things which they do not feel can be accounted for otherwise.

In promoting their material, they have sought to come in the back door of science with the recent work and discoveries regarding the fact that our entire universe is composed of vast electric currents, normally seen as giant plasma filaments interacting with each other.  This is seen.  This is data.  This they are using to try to support the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory.

When one attempts to build a scientific model, as Velikovsky did, without a foundation of known facts, but rather simply a reliance on known questions and ancient legends, the results can be chancy.  There are legends that Venus sprang from the head of her father, Jupiter.  If that were to be taken literally as an astronomical fact, it would be impossible to account for Venus’ nearly circular orbit as the second planet out from the sun.  It would also be interesting to try to account for the fact that Venus’ core, in relation to its size, is exactly what one would expect from a planet in that position.  Core sizes, relative to planet size, start extremely large, as with Mercury, and decrease steadily as one goes out from the sun.  The simple physics of the matter deny Velikovsky’s idea, but that did not stop him.

Nor has it stopped those who hold to the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory which he began late in his life.  Saturn was never a brown dwarf.  Its core is exactly what you would expect from the sixth planet out and although its rings are the most prominent, all four of the gas giants have rings.

There are records of worldwide catastrophes in cultures all around the world, as Velikovsky researched.  They are described in various ways in various places.  This must be taken into account.  But the truth is that the memories of ancient events are often clothed in cultural understandings and the use of language that we may not recognize.  In addition, the actual science related to our understanding of plasma physics and the electrical nature of the cosmos has not only answered many of the questions Velikovsky started with, but has also explained many of the legends we have today, without resorting to the fancies of the Saturnian Reconstruction ideas.

For example, there are memories of some kinds of ‘wars between the gods’ referring to something that was happening in the skies.  Even in Psalm 18:7-15, there is recounted some kind of catastrophe involving thunderbolts, darkness, and giant tsunamis.  So what was going on?  There is a possibility involving the plasma spheres which we know surround each planet.  These spheres are incredibly large compared to the planet they surround.  Our earth’s diameter is 8000 miles.  Our plasma sphere (ionosphere or magnetosphere – all the same thing) is about 80,000 miles in diameter.  Jupiter’s is the largest, with an ionosphere, or plasma sphere, 4 million miles in diameter.  In addition, the solar wind pushes these spheres back beyond each planet in a form reminiscent of a giant wind sock.  Thus one planet can pass through another planet’s plasma tail.  The earth’s ‘tail’ extends 3.9 million miles out.  Jupiter’s extends out to Saturn.   While our tail does not reach Mars, Venus’ tail does reach us and we occasionally must pass through it.

In the early days of our solar system, voltages were greater and currents were higher.  If we do pay attention to the ancient legends, it is very feasible to think that the plasma spheres around each planet were not in dark mode, as they are now, but were glowing, much like a neon light.  This would have made Jupiter the largest, but not the brightest (the sun has always been brightest) object in the sky.  Thus it was the ‘king’ planet or king of the gods.  In addition, the plasma tails would have extended longer out past each planet.  Because the plasma spheres were so large, and glowing, the planets would also have seemed closer.  That must also be taken into account when we read the ancient legends.

We know that the solar wind is positive – essentially a lot of protons, or hydrogen nuclei shooting out from the sun.  Because they speed up the farther out they go, we have a strong indication that the outer reaches of our solar system are much more negatively charged.  This means that each planet has a more negative charge than the ones closer to the sun and a more positive charge than those farther out.  When one planet, in millennia past, orbited through the tail of another planet, it is very likely that electrical discharges would occur.  We see something similar happening today, very frequently, between Jupiter and its closest moon, Io.  These would have been the thunderbolts of the gods, visible from earth when between two other planets and quite devastating on earth when we passed through Venus’ tail or Mars passed through ours.  Even today there is the memory in astrology that ‘when the planets are aligned there will be disasters.’  They don’t know why, but the reason might be ancient.

It helps to look at the old legends for a direction, but not for the answers themselves.  They pointed to very dramatic things happening both in the skies and on earth.  So we search for the answers and cannot afford to think, as Velikovsky did, that the reference to a ‘different sun’ in terms of a different epoch or time really means there was a different sun shining on earth.

The electric universe folk are on the right track with the fact of an electric universe.  We can see the plasma filaments in space, and they contain vast electric currents surrounded by enormous circling magnetic fields.  This electromagnetism and the plasma physics involved seem much more capable of explaining what we see in space than simple gravity – a weak force – can.  So in this area, they are providing a valuable service.  But when they go marching out into left field with the Saturnian Reconstruction ideas, dependence on Velikovsky’s conclusions, and now the concept of hollow planets and a hollow moon, we must reject what they are doing using the concept of an electric universe.  A major problem is that in the stubborn insistence that the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory is correct to begin with, they are presenting a wrong and very confusing cosmology to people who read their material.  In addition, what they are presenting is becoming ever more at odds with what is being discovered by astronomers and other scientists on a daily basis.

We do subscribe to the fact that the universe is primarily an electric phenomenon, and that plasma physics has shown how stars and galaxies could form not only quickly, but with the exact features we see today.  This is the subject of many of the papers on this website.  We also feel that plasma physics and other demonstrable phenomena mesh perfectly with what the Bible tells us in terms of creation. But we also know that the sun has always been the center of the solar system and that basic astronomy regarding our solar system at least is quite on track, as evidenced by the ability to send space craft long distances and to achieve what we have aimed for with them.

What has happened is that the Electric Universe folk who subscribe to the Saturnian Reconstruction Theory adopted the electric universe model to support their theory.  It was like the tail wagging the dog.  In the meantime, it is very important to note that plasma physics, although adopted by them, has a much different past and was in existence beginning with Kristian Birkeland and Irving Langmuir in the early 20th Century.  Hannes Alfven and Anthony Peratt and others continued the research through the years, quite apart from any group of people, and the work with plasma physics today has become a very exciting field of study.

Additional suggested material:

Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs, A Geomagnetic Approach to Traditions of Axes Mundi – available on YouTube – – several parts are available but they are recordings of radio interviews with van der Sluijs, which make them a little difficult to follow.  Nevertheless, his research and information are excellent and roundly refute the Saturnian ideas. --  Bob Johnson presents the evidence that all the orbits of the five (then known) planets  -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn – were 1% less in their orbit times around the sun in the distant past than they are today.  This corresponds with the ancient figures that indicate the original orbit time for the earth was 360 days.  This video is very technical, so that is the conclusion for those who want to watch it.  He concludes that all planetary orbits were affected and there is no evidence in the documents he examined for any radical change in planetary orbits, let alone any planetary collisions involving Mars or Venus, which Velikovsky (and the Saturnian Reconstruction folks) claim these ancient writings suggested.   


In response to a couple of emails as well as The Electric Universe's stubborn insistence on the hollowess of planets and moons:

Hollow Planets and Moons?

Barry Setterfield, August, 2017

I personally believe that a fundamental error is being made by those who say that planets and/or moons have hollow interiors. If it were so, this would mean that all the mass is concentrated in an external or crustal shell. There are several ways in which this proposition may be examined.

First, it is generally agreed that, for planets and moons in our solar system, the main orbital characteristics are now acting under gravity. Whether or not this was so in the distant past is a different issue which will not be discussed in this immediate context. The tried and tested gravitational equations for the orbital characteristics of the planets and their moons have been verified by astronomical prediction since the time of Newton; that is, during a period of 350 years. Any alternate theory of mass and/or gravity must be able to reproduce these results before it can be considered seriously. Indeed, using these Newtonian equations, the mass, M, of a planet or its moon(s) can be found.  In addition, the radius, R, or diameter, 2R, of the planetary body or its moon can be directly determined. This allows the volume, V, of the body in question to be found. The average density, D, is then given by the quantity M/V. In the case of the earth, the average density is 5.51 grams/cc or 5.51 times the density of water.

Since the crust of the earth has been measured to have an average density of 2.7, this means that the interior of the earth must be at a much higher density in order to allow the average density of 5.51 to pertain. That suggests a rather dense core. This proposition is supported by seismology, although on their own, the seismological data may, perhaps, allow other possibilities. Together, the two sets of data we have, provisionally indicate denser cores for the earth, as well as most planets and moons. In order to have a hollow interior, all these bodies would have to have extremely dense crustal material, since all the measured mass of the planet or moon must now be accommodated in the crustal shell. The measurements we have of crustal density do not support this proposition. This in itself is a serious problem for those who support the hollow earth (or planet or moon) idea.

However, we can go further. There is another data set which is relevant here. Consider first an ice-skater in a spinning motion. When the arms are fully out, the spin is relatively slow. However, when the arms are pulled in, the rate of spin is fast. The mass of the ice-skater’s body has remained the same, but the distribution of that mass makes all the difference in the spin rate. When there is significant mass out on the extremities, the spin is slower than when it is concentrated near the center. This property of mass distribution over the radius of a spinning body is known as “moment of inertia,” and is often designated by the letter I.

There is then a quantity that we will call L here. It is defined as the moment of inertia divided by the object’s mass, M, and the square of the radius, R2. So L = I/(MR2) and it is a dimensionless number (that is a quantity without units). L gives a measure of the mass distribution with radius when compared with a homogeneous sphere of uniform density, but having the same mass and radius. Thus, for a completely homogeneous sphere, that is with uniform density throughout, the value of L is 0.400. For a body which has all its material concentrated in its crust and is otherwise hollow, L takes on a value of 0.667, significantly greater than for a uniform sphere. The reason is that, for a hollow body, the moment of inertia, I is higher because the concentration of material is further away from the rotation axis than it would be for a uniform sphere. Conversely, the denser the material becomes towards the core, the lower the value of L. Thus, for the Sun, L = 0.069, which implies that it has a lot of material concentrated in a very dense center.

In the case of the earth, L can be measured by the precession rate of our spin axis, like the precession of a spinning top. The mass-distribution within the top determines the precession rate, and, from measuring that rate, the moment of inertia, I, is known and so L can be established. The axis precession rate of Mars was measured early on by the Viking landers. Later, other data became available which confirmed the initial determination of L for Mars.

Third, there are other methods of determining the precession rate of planetary spin axes. Much data have been obtained by spacecraft exploring our solar system.  The polar flattening of a planet due to its rotation rate is one method which also supplies the needed data. As the planet spins it flattens at the poles and bulges at the equator. The degree to which this happens, given the rotation rate, the mass, the strength of the gravitational pull, and the axial tilt, allows the information we need to be deduced. These parameters can all be determined by orbiting spacecraft for any planet, moon or other body in the solar system.

As a result of these and other methods, it has been determined that Saturn has the lowest value of L at 0.210 while the earth has a value of L = 0.331. Both of these values indicate a significant core. In comparison, our Moon with L = 0.393 and Jupiter’s moon Io at 0.378 indicate a somewhat more uniform interior composition. From the available data, it is obvious that no planet or moon in the solar system has a value of L anywhere near 0.667 that would pertain if it was hollow. The conclusion is that the planets and moons are not hollow, but filled with material whose density generally increases towards the core.