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Planet Earth and its Magnetic Field

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Max Hannon

on 27 March 2013

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Transcript of Planet Earth and its Magnetic Field

Planet Earth and its Magnetic Field What is a Magnetic Field? A Magnetic Field is the area of influence exerted by a magnetic force
Dipole meaning it will two poles, North and South A Magnetic Field is the result of electric currents. An electric current is an electric charge moving in a defined path. This movement is what creates magnetic fields. Where do they come from? What about Earth's Magnetic Field? No one knows for sure
Working Theory
Earths core is thought to consist largely of molten iron. But at the very core, the pressure is so great that the iron crystallizes into a solid. Convection caused by heat radiating from the core along with the rotation of the Earth, causes the liquid iron to move in a rotational pattern.
It is believed the these rotational forces lead to weak magnetic forces around the axis of spin Whats a Magnetosphere? A magnetosphere is the region surrounding a planet where the planet's magnetic field dominates.
The shape of the Earth's magnetosphere is the direct result of being blasted by solar wind.
It prevents most of the particles from the Sun, carried in the solar wind, from hitting the Earth. Anatomy of the Earth's Magnetic Field Magnetotail In contrast to the day side magnetosphere, compressed and confined by the solar wind, the night side is stretched out into a long "Magnetotail"
It can extend to such great distances because on the night side the forces associated with the magnetic field and the solar wind are parallel. ~1,000 Earth radii.
This part of the magnetosphere is quite dynamic Bow Shock The bow shock is a shock wave formed at a distance of 3-4 Earth
radii or so in front of the nose of the magnetopause by the encounter of
the supersonic solar wind with the
"obstacle" to its flow presented by
the Earth's magnetic field. Magnetopause The Magnetopause is an equilibrium region, with a characteristic thickness of 100 km (60 miles) and marks the outer boundary of the magnetosphere. Van Allen Radiation Belts Van Allen Radiation Belts, two zones encircling the earth in which there are relatively large numbers of high-energy (fast-moving) charged particles. The particles are mainly protons and electrons, which are trapped within the belts by the earth's magnetic field. Magnetosheath The Magnetosheath, a region of magnetic turbulence in which both the magnitude and the direction of Earth’s magnetic field vary erratically, occurs between 10 and 13 Earth radii toward the Sun. Who cares? Animals use it to navigate Deflects charged particles in the solar wind away from the Earth. Without it, the energetic electron stream would destroy cells. Without it we wouldn't know North from South Without it Earth would be dead. These particles would strip away the ozone layer Because it just is Interesting Phenomena Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Aurora Aurora Australis Southern Lights What Causes Them? Occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with elements in the earth's atmosphere
Solar winds stream away from the sun at speeds of about 1 million miles per hour
When they reach the earth they follow the lines of magnetic force and flow through the magnetosphere, a teardrop-shaped area of highly charged electrical and magnetic fields
As the electrons enter the earth's upper atmosphere, they will encounter atoms of oxygen and nitrogen at altitudes from 20 to 200 miles above the earth's surface.
Color The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting Green - oxygen, up to 150 miles in altitude
Red - oxygen, above 150 miles in altitude Purple/violet - nitrogen, above 60 miles in altitude Blue - nitrogen, up to 60 miles in altitude Dance All of the magnetic and electrical forces react with one another in constantly shifting combinations.
These shifts and flows can be seen as the auroras "dance," moving along with the atmospheric currents that can reach 20,000,000 amperes at 50,000 volts.
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