[2015] Micah F: Magnetosphere

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[2015] Micah F: Magnetosphere

The magnetosphere is the area around the earth and other planets in which charged particles are trapped. It protects the earth from harmful particles from the sun that are carried on solar winds and extends about 36,000 miles from the surface of the earth. Despite its name, the magnetosphere is not spherical in shape.


Feedback Loop


Without the magnetosphere, the supposed global warming that is occurring today would be much more extreme. The magnetosphere is responsible for blocking the charged particles that come from the sun via solar wind that would otherwise eventually completely destroy the ozone layer and consequently let in increasing amounts of sunlight. Much of the ice at earth's poles would melt, and earth would heat up. The ozone layer would never be allowed to replenish itself, and the ice could not refreeze.

Earth's magnetic field, as well as all magnetic fields, are created by a feedback loop. The magnetosphere is created by the core of the earth, which generates electric currents.These currents generate a magnetic field, which in turn generate an electric field, which then effect the cause of it all; the electric currents.


Magnetotail: The tail of the magnetosphere that is on the side away from the sunSolar wind: a stream of ionized particles that flow out of the sun's CoronaBow Shock: shock wave created when solar wind collides with the magnetosphere



According to the dynamo theory, there are three requirements for a properly functioning dynamo. An electrically conductive fluid medium, Kinetic energy provided by planetary rotation,and an internal energy source to drive convective motions within the fluid are all required for a magnetic field to be produced. All these important factors can be found on earth.(obviously, or we wouldn't have a magnetic field)Earth's magnetic field is produced by the convection of the liquid iron in the earth's core.


Magnetometer: Tool for measuring the magnitude of a magnetic field. Invented by Carl Friedrich Gauss, they are also used by the military to detect submarines. Early magnetometers could tell the strength of Earth's magnetosphere by magnetising a bar magnet that is hanging from a fibre and measuring the osilations.




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