Path of an electron from the Sun to the Earth

In summary: I think that this is a good summary.In summary, the electron is deflected away from Earth by the magnetic field, and some get trapped in the field and travel to the poles. The auroras seen near the Artic and Antartic latitudes are caused by the electrons that are trapped in the field.
  • #1
mcastillo356
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Let's suppose a solar electron moving directly towards Earth's equator at a high speed. This electron meets Earth's magnetic field, which points to the north, at a distance ten times the Earth's radius, where magnetic field is almost uniform. Which will be the direction this electron describes?
Attempt to solution:
At the first moment, magnetic field yields the electron to the West. This is the result of the cross-product between two vectors: velocity and magnetic field. Eversince, where does it go?; why?
Thank
 
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  • #2
Your ultimate question was where does it go and why.
Did you not just answer that in the previous sentence?
Are you asking if we agree with your logic?
Or are you asking what the electron does once it's been deflected?
Can you clarify?

Also, is this homework?
 
  • #3
Hello, DaveC426913, forum. It's been a long time since my last post.
I'm asking what the electron does once it's been deflected. The text-book I am reading continues saying, in a brief text, that some of the electrons will be engaged to the magnetic field and sent to the poles. West at the first time, North and South at the end. The question is: what happens to the electron once deflected. Does it turn North, trapped in the magnetic field?; does it sorround west hemisphere before joining the magnetic field?; how can it end at the south, despite the magnetic field, that leads to the North?. The problem is that I've been given very few information. I know the first step, which consist in the cross-product and its inmediate consequence: a force with direction West: does it mean electron first goes West?; what must I understand by West?.
It's no homework. I am trying to finish to read the text-book, and understand it.
I am at the course before entering the University, the Grade in Maths, at spanish UNED (National University of Distance Education).
Hope to have been less implicit.
 
  • #4
Well I'll be darned. So it does.
e-view-portion-magnetopause-current-ecliptic-plane.gif


Read up on the Left Hand Rule of electromagnetics.
 
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  • #5
DaveC426913, thanks!
Watching the picture I can see the electrons and the protons are deflected, away from the Earth, by the magnetic field.
At the very first moment, the electron to the west of the magnetic field; and then (this is what I ignored until I've seen the picture) it describes a circle, to end up turning round and away from Earth.
Some of these particles get trapped in the magnetic field, and travel to the poles. The auroras seen near the Artic and Antartic latitudes.
Thanks again!
 
  • #6
DaveC426913 said:
Well I'll be darned. So it does.
View attachment 262321

Read up on the Left Hand Rule of electromagnetics.
Then forget about it again, because it's confusing. Just use the right-hand rule all the time. If using it to deal with magnetic Lorentz forces, ##\vec{F}=q \vec{v} \times \vec{B}##, remember that for the electron ##q=-e<0##!
 
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  • #7
vanhees71 said:
Then forget about it again, because it's confusing. Just use the right-hand rule all the time.

Amen to that. I say that all the time to all of my students. Don't make your life harder, there's enough things to remeber already!
 
  • #8
I remember this "left-hand rule idea" as a completely failed didactic attempt of a well-meaning physics professor (experimental physics ;-)) to make live easier for biologists who usually struggle a lot with physics anyway. I had to take once a lab together with biologists, because I missed this lab for physicists. It was about the Hall effect. Usually if it comes to the Hall effect all the physicists present try to get the direction of the forces right using the right-hand rule. It's usually funny to see all your colleagues and yourself struggling to point the fingers in the correct directions.

Now these poor biologists learned that you "have to use the left-hand rule" for electrons. Some clever guys thought that they had to take into account the negative sign of the electron charge in addition, and the confusion was complete. I then just said, use the right-hand rule always and then you have to take into account the sign of the charge you are considering, i.e., flip the direction of the force, when this charge is negative. After that (the whole endeavor took about an hour) they understood the magnetic part of the Lorentz force much better.
 
  • #9
Ok, right-hand rule, and then take account of whether is a negative particle.
Thanks everybody!
 
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Related to Path of an electron from the Sun to the Earth

1. How does an electron travel from the Sun to the Earth?

An electron travels from the Sun to the Earth as part of a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind. The solar wind is created by the Sun's intense heat and magnetic fields, which accelerate charged particles and propel them outwards in all directions.

2. What is the path of an electron from the Sun to the Earth?

The path of an electron from the Sun to the Earth is not a straight line. The electron is affected by the Sun's magnetic field and can be deflected or redirected by other magnetic fields in space. It may also encounter other particles or objects along its journey.

3. How long does it take for an electron to travel from the Sun to the Earth?

The time it takes for an electron to travel from the Sun to the Earth can vary, but on average it takes about 2-3 days. This is because the solar wind travels at different speeds and can be affected by solar activity and other factors.

4. What happens to an electron when it reaches the Earth?

When an electron reaches the Earth, it enters the Earth's atmosphere and interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. This can cause the electron to spiral along the Earth's magnetic field lines and eventually collide with atoms in the atmosphere, creating colorful auroras.

5. Can electrons from the Sun cause harm to humans on Earth?

Electrons from the Sun are generally not harmful to humans on Earth. The Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field provide protection from the solar wind. However, during extreme solar events, such as solar flares, high energy electrons can pose a threat to astronauts and sensitive electronic equipment on Earth.

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