The location of the suns magnetic axis


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Even if many questions are still unresolved, one thing is certain: magnetic fields which emerge on the surface of our Sun from within its depths are the cause of the manifold activities.

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This even allows predictions to be made about the strength of a forthcoming activity cycle. Stormy star: The Sun resembles a gigantic ball of gas whose activity is driven by strong magnetic fields.

The Sun is a huge ball of gas in whose interior hot gases flow, rise and sink. It takes the form of a dipole whose magnetic field lines emerge from the surface at the solar poles. The magnetic fields are, however, bound to the hot, electrically conducting gas, and this gas stretches and warps the fields in a complicated way — like rubber bands in honey which is stirred. A magnetic field line originally running parallel to the axis of rotation is thus entrained by the rotating gas.

Earth's Magnetic North Pole Is Shifting, Prompting Fears of a Coming Global Chaos

The gas in the equatorial region moves much faster than in middle and high latitudes, however. This means that the field lines in the equatorial region are stretched lengthwise and actually twist tight in the course of several rotations: a ring-shaped magnetic field forms in the east-west direction, also called a toroidal field. These magnetic field lines can merge to form thick bundles that rise up until they eventually emerge from the surface and form a loop. The familiar, dark solar spots form at the two points of emergence. They therefore usually occur in pairs in the east-west direction and form a magnetic north and south pole respectively.

Over an eleven-year cycle, the magnetic orientation of all spots is identical.

What Causes the Sun's Magnetic Field Flip?

The toroidal field is therefore always in the same direction. This theorem relates the fields at the surface to those in the interior of a body. The scientists used this purely mathematical argument to prove that the magnetic field which can be measured at the surface of the Sun is the sole source for the ordered toroidal field in its interior, which, in turn, causes the activity phenomena of the subsequent eleven-year cycle.

The spacecraft which have examined the Earth's magnetosphere are too numerous to name and have been launched by all the spacefaring nations. At present the most active area of research in magnetospheric physics is energy transfer from the solar wind to the magnetosphere. In the mid's a consortium of space agencies ESA, Intercosmos and NASA are going to launch a flotilla of spacecraft into the magnetosphere to study this problem.

This program is called the International Solar Terrestrial Program and will consist of over 15 different spacecraft. Jupiter The magnetic moment of Jupiter, as befitting the largest planet in the solar system, is also the largest of the planetary system over 10, times that of the earth.

A new look at the sun's magnetic field

Its equatorial surface field is over 10 times that of the Earth. The strength of its magnetic field combined with the weakness of the solar wind at Jupiter produces a magnetosphere that is enormous.


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The sun could easily fit inside the magnetosphere. Its tail is thought to extend past Saturn, over 5 AU away. If Jupiter's magnetosphere could be seen from Earth it would appear to be larger than the Earth's moon. Deep inside the jovian magnetosphere orbit the Galilean satellites. One of these, Io, has a volcanically produced atmosphere that is constantly being bombarded by the intense radiation belts of jupiter.


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  • This bombardment knocks atoms out of the atmosphere of Io into the magnetosphere of Jupiter where they become ionized. This process produces a torus, or doughnut, of hot ions circling Jupiter near Io's orbit. This torus together with the enormous electrical and magnetic forces in the Jovian magnetosphere leads to intense radiation belts and radio emissions.

    These emissions can be detected from Earth and were the first indication of Jupiter's enormous magnetic field well before the first interplanetary spacecraft were launched. Jupiter has been visited four times by spacecraft: Pioneer 10 in ; Pioneer 11 in ; and Voyager 1 and 2 in Each of these spacecraft were on flyby trajectories.

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    At this writing the Galileo spacecraft is on its way to Jupiter when it will be injected into an elliptic near equatorial orbit in Saturn The magnetosphere of Saturn is quite benign compared to that of Jupiter. Since Saturn is a smaller planet, its conducting core in which the planetary magnetic field is generated is smaller, and so is the planetary magnetic field. The magnetic moment of Saturn is times that of the Earth but its equatorial surface magnetic field strength is about equal that of the Earth.

    In stark contrast to the magnetic fields of all the other planets, the Saturnian dipole moment is not tilted with respect to the rotation axis of the planet. This observation was a great surprise to those studying planetary magnetic dynamos. Saturn's ring system absorbs radiation belt particles so that the radiation belts are weaker than at Jupiter and none of Saturn's moons exhibits volcanic activity similar to that of Io.

    As a consequence Saturn's radiation belt resemble more those of the Earth than those of Jupiter and few radio emissions are produced. Saturn has been visited by 3 spacecraft Pioneer 11 in , Voyager 1 in and Voyager 2 in

    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis
    The location of the suns magnetic axis The location of the suns magnetic axis

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