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Question on Earth's magnetic field

  1. May 21, 2008 #1
    This might sound silly but...If you produce a magnetic field of large magnitude, does it locally distort the Earth's magnetic field? I figured that it might, but I didn't know how to go about analyzing it.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2008 #2
  4. May 22, 2008 #3
    moving charged particals at earth's surface.

    my question is , if a moving charged partical is made to rotate perpendicular by a uniform magnetic field , wouldn't the earth's magnetic field also make moving charged particals, on a global scale, spin in a cyclonic fashion? gravity guru.
  5. May 22, 2008 #4


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    Yes - that's why 1, you don't get irradiated by charged particles from the sun and 2, you get pretty northern lights in the north ( and presumably the south?
  6. May 22, 2008 #5
    mgb phys, thank you for your reply. i think my question was not stated properly. what i'm asking is, would the charged particals of the sahara desert become trapped in earth's magnetic field causeing them to spin and produce hurricanes? gravity guru.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  7. May 22, 2008 #6
    yep u do.. the ones in the north ar called 'aurora borealis' and the ones down south are called 'aurora australis'..
  8. May 22, 2008 #7
    thank you jablonsky27, yes the auroras are illuminated by collected charge, comming in from space, and being carried to the poles. but, the charge comming from the sahara is being trapped by a smaller,denser,portion of the earth's magnetosphere. closer to the core. so,would the density of charge being controlled by magnetism, be powerful enough to produce a hurricane. gravity guru.
  9. May 23, 2008 #8
    The magnetic field is stronger at the poles of a bar magnet than it is around the middle, similarly, the magnetic field at the equator is weaker than at the poles. Besides, the majority of charged particles are in the ionosphere, a bit too high up for hurricanes, so I severely doubt the answer to your question is "yes!".
  10. May 23, 2008 #9
    Plus, hurricanes form over the oceans by mechanisms not fully understood.
  11. May 25, 2008 #10
    thank you billiards for responding,the reason i ask is because i"ve been thinking about how micro systems can produce macro effects like grains of sand adding up to become tons of sand. well, i noticed how a compass needle spins around at earth"s surface,and points north (geo), and that made me wonder weather the field had enough force to spin a charge around, like the charges that produce thunder storms. and if it did, could it resemble the cyclonic proportions of a hurricane? gravity guru.
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  12. May 25, 2008 #11
    thank you billiards for your response, well, i thought about how a micro system can produce a macro effect like grains of sand adding up to become tons of sand. and when i thought about how a compass needle spins at earth"s surface pointing to (geo) north , i wondered weather the type charge that makes up thunder storms, if moving perpendicular to the earth"s field, would rotate and produce a hurricane? gravity guru.
  13. May 27, 2008 #12
    magnetic field.

    i"m new at the forum, but already i fell like i"m being tossed to the lions every time i ask a question. not so much here as other places on PF. but as Albert said " i"m passionately curious " so i"ll press on. does anyone know weather a magnetosphere is made up of individual magnetic lines or layers of magnetism like the layers of an onion or maybe fins? i really would like to know. thank you, gravity guru.
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  14. May 28, 2008 #13
    I don't think you are being tossed to the wind here. You should realize that a good detailed question often gets a better response than a brief question. All the details of the question are necessary, since those with the answers to your questions have many other related thoughts and ideas in their heads, and are unsure as to which one you might be referring to.

    Anyway, typically a magnet will distribute the lines evenly, depending on the permeability of the space surrounding it. Air is less permeable than Iron, so magnetic lines tend to flow through iron more densely than air, and can seem to be 'attracted' by iron. So I think the lines around the Earth would be fairly balanced around the globe.

    I do not believe that the magnetic lines around the Earth would cause any spinning of electrons, since only a *changing* magnetic field will cause a current. A current is not necessarily the same as a spinning electron either.

    You might begin to look at things a bit differently than you have been. You might find something wonderful.
  15. May 28, 2008 #14
    The magnitude of the magnetic field strength around the earth definitely varies in a continuous fashion, with no sudden steps. More observably, it varies with time. Sometimes violently (magnetic storms). What were you thinking then? I like your approach, you seem like an original thinker.

    Any charged particles in a desert would have to move very fast (or be very charged) in order to move in a circular fashion due to the earth's magnetic field, because this field is very weak. A campus gets an observable force from this field because it is magnetised. That means electrons in its molecules rotate very fast, in a similar manner. A macroscopic charged particle would have to move very fast to receive an observable force from the earth's magnetic field.
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  16. May 28, 2008 #15
    Wouldn't it be great if you could monitor these magnetic fields around the earth and make a strong enough electromagnetic field, Producing the same magnetic pole, to create a hovercraft of sorts...The MAGNITOCRAFT! sorry, childhood invention which I finally have a chance to bring up!
  17. May 29, 2008 #16
    Here's a good one for boffins here to mull over:

    In the film The Core some idiots drilled into the earth's core and set off some nuclear explosions to try to stop the Earth's magnetic field from reversing. But imagine that the Earth's magnetic field really was reversing .... what would be the best way to prevent the impending doom, how would you stop the reversal?
  18. May 29, 2008 #17
    Re-introduce lead baised paint :p
  19. Jun 1, 2008 #18
    destari, ulysees and carlos, thank you for replying. i don"t mean to be cryptic but this time of year i begain to get busy , because of storm season, so it takes up most of my time but i"ll try to be somewhat clearer. i need to say,at frist, that i was taught that a charge must move before a magnetic field could be formed and with that in mind i looked at the earth and thought it should apply here as well. meaning that the earth"s magnetic field lags behind the rotation of the earth and also rotates at a slower speed . it takes several weeks for the lagging manetic field to travel from the cape verde islands to the west indies, this is based on the time it takes storms to travel that distance. anyway, time delay would produce relative motion at some rate. and the field would act like a charge vaccum, cleaning up and building up as it goes. this to me made sense. gavity guru.
  20. Jun 1, 2008 #19
    As a matter of interest I can tell you what a geophysics lecturer told me on the subject of preventing a magnetic field reversal ... Apparently, if we set up a large chain of exercise bikes around the equator and used them to generate a current, this would stop the field from reversing ... How this works exactly I must admit I do not know ....

    What? The Earth's field approximates a dipole, over long periods the poles of the dipole drift and occasionally flip in what is known as a magnetic field reversal. Otherwise the magnetic field remains pretty stable; there are external influences, such as magnetic storms (which have nothing to do with storms in the meteorological sense), and local objects such as wires which will cause local deviances from the dipolar field. [If you want to get advanced there are actually non-dipolar features in the earth's magnetic field which have been observed to drift westwards (very slowly), these features interestingly enough seem to correspond with areas of very low seismic velocity at the very base of the mantle.]

    My point being ... the magnetic field does not travel along with the weather (certainly not in the sense of an anomaly in the magnetic field travelling - which to me would be the only meaningful interpretation of what you said), perhaps you could clarify what you mean and provide a reference to back it up.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  21. Jun 1, 2008 #20
    Just to ask, what would happen if some form of strong electric current passes through the magnetosphere? Or what about bringing a substance with strong magnetic properties in contact with the magnetosphere at the poles?
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