Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Interested in the whole earth magnetic polarity swap thing

  1. Oct 11, 2010 #1
    Hello, I am just very interested in the whole earth magnetic polarity swap thing. I was informed by my Geography teacher as far back as 2001 about it, he said that the earth was due for a magnetic polarity swap pretty soon.

    I watched a program on Saturday about it. In the program they stated that one of the phenomena that would occur during such a swap is that aurora would be seen in more places, as the earths magnetic field would become weaker during the period prior to the swap.

    Well, the point of this thread is that I think I have seen aurora on at least three occasions in the past two years. I live in and around East London, South Africa - which is actually relatively close to the 'South Atlantic magnetic depression' spoken about in the program. Apparently, there is a region over the South Atlantic where the earth's magnetic field has become so weak, that Nasa turns off the Hubble whenever it travels over the region, simply to prevent any damage to the expensive electronics.

    I have not been able to take photographs of any of these phenomena I think are actually auroras, however I shall be sure to when I do get the opportunity. I can, however, describe them.

    I always see them on a very hot and humid day, on a small patch of the sky. The sky simply becomes colorful over that region, however, this region does not move around like the auroras of the north pole, it remains completely stationary. It also occurs much higher in the atmosphere.

    Could I be seeing auroras?

    Well, anyway, I just thought you guys would be interested.


  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2010 #2
    Re: aurora

    Aurora are usually too faint to see in the day - although I'm wondering if you've seen a noctilucent cloud (essentially a cloud of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere that catches the sun). They're also very faint, but you generally see them around dusk...and they certainly sound a little more like your description.
  4. Oct 11, 2010 #3
    Re: aurora

    Can your teacher elaborate why we are due? Would that be the conclusion of http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7043/full/nature03674.html?

    Their work elaborated http://scienceblogs.com/highlyallochthonous/2009/02/is_the_earths_magnetic_field_a.php[/URL]

    [quote]This shows that the time between reversals is not constant, varying from a few hundred thousand years to many millions of years, ...
    This longer view suggests that trying to predict the geomagnetic future from the 'periodicity' of past reversals is a risky enterprise, to say the least. [/quote]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Oct 11, 2010 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  6. Oct 12, 2010 #5
    Re: aurora

    They actually have always appeared in the morning. But not at any particular time in the morning, in fact 2 out of the three occasions it appeared at around 10h00, the other, which was yesterday, appeared at 06h00 but went away very quickly.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Interested in the whole earth magnetic polarity swap thing