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Do magnetic fields tend to align? (moving charge & other B)

  1. Nov 30, 2014 #1
    When a moving proton travels through a magnetic field, doe's it's magnetic field (that it's giving off) naturally align with the outside magnetic field (due to a magnet or something in the environment)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    No. The magnetic field at any given point will be the vector sum of all the contributions from all of the sources of magnetic fields in the area. The magnetic field of the moving proton is just one of these contributions; it can be calculated from Maxwell's equations using the only the speed, direction, and charge of the proton.

    Although the external magnetic field doesn't affect the proton's magnetic field, it does affect the proton's movement.
  4. Dec 1, 2014 #3


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    Science Advisor

    In classical physics, no. But in quantum mechanics, this depends on what kind of measurement you make. If you measure along the direction of the external magnetic field, then the proton spin will suddenly become aligned or anti-aligned with the field.
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