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

The galactic magnetic field.

  1. Dec 9, 2011 #1
    Here is a question for all you astronomers/astrophysicists. You already know our solar systems orbit takes us in and though our galaxy's magnetic field every few thousand years. All I want to know from you guys is how close are we in conjunction to the galactic magnetic field. Are we approaching, are we already "immersed" in it or have we already gone though it??? Peace!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2011 #2
    I've asked a lot of people this question and none seem to know the answer. Is this some kinda' secret,lol,lol.
     
  4. Dec 9, 2011 #3

    Dotini

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  5. Dec 9, 2011 #4

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know what conjunction means in regards to the magnetic field. Could you elaborate?
    Also, we are always "immersed" in the field. It permeates the entire galaxy after all.
     
  6. Dec 9, 2011 #5
  7. Dec 10, 2011 #6

    Dotini

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  8. Dec 10, 2011 #7
    "Are we approaching, are we already "immersed" in it or have we already gone though it"???.....Immersed = halfway through the galactic magnetic field or "in the middle" of the galactic magnetic field, on our way though the strongest part of it, I don't know how much clearer I can make it! Dotini, our solar system 's magnetic field does indeed protect us from "most" of the galactic cosmic rays but that's not to say it's impenetrable. Our galaxy's magnetic field protects everything in it from cosmic rays yet some still reach our solar system, and though the sun's magnetic field protects us further, some still reach the earth. The galactic magnetic field tends to channel and concentrate these cosmic rays in the strongest region (the middle) of it's disc shaped magnetic field. Before scientists could/would/did measure this part of the galactic magnetic field, the strongest reading they had anywhere in the galaxy, up till then, was 30,000,000,000 electron volts. When scientists did get to measure it (the middle) they found readings of 3.5 trillion electron volts(I may have been misinformed on this). Peace!!!!! P.S. To those that did, Thank You ever so kindly for the links. Now whether or not I'll understand them is a different story,lol.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  9. Dec 11, 2011 #8

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Again, this doesn't make any sense to me. I'm picturing a large disk magnet with us as part of the disk. Without knowing that much about it, I would assume that our galactic orbit doesn't take us far enough away from the disc to have a large change in field strength. Unless my understanding is incorrect, as I am assuming the poles are perpendicular to the disc rotation.
     
  10. Dec 11, 2011 #9

    Dotini

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is known that our solar system traverses the (4) arms of our spiral galaxy on roughly a 240 million year orbit. Studies show that in the spiral galaxy M33, magnetic field strength seems associated with the arms. So it seems sensible that as we move between arms of our galaxy, there might be some variation in our galactic magnetic field. What think?
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/11/scienceshot-may-the-magnetic-for.html [Broken]

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Dec 11, 2011 #10
    I will try my gist again. Look at our galaxy like a coin laying flat on a table. Now take a very thin and round piece of meat and place it between two slightly smaller in diameter round slices of bread with the "sandwich" representing the galaxy now flat on the table. The "meat" represents the galactic magnetic field with the meat being the strongest part of the field and the bread representing the galactic magnetic field weakening the further away it gets from the meat with the poles emanating above an below the "meat". For the sake of my laughable explanation we'll say the sandwich is six inches in diameter. Now, to give our solar system a location....a bug finds the sandwich and crawls onto it, first the meat( the galactic magnetic field extends beyond the galaxy, just like the meat extends beyond the sandwich) and then the bread. Once on the bread the bug travels an inch and then burrows halfway into the top slice of bread. On a galactic scale the bug represents our solar system. Now look at the galaxy on edge. Our solar systems orbit around the galaxy bobs up and down and through the galactic magnetic field and, if traced, would look like a sine-wave. Halfway through every up down oscillation we go through the "meat" which is the strongest part of the galactic magnetic field, thus going from one pole to another. We all know there is "no friction at all" in outer space so regardless of how weak the galactic magnetic field is it must have some influence on "any" dipole magnetic field within it otherwise it would be the other way around with our solar systems magnetic field influencing the galaxy and I don't think that is very likely. Lol, I see you sitting there, after reading this, with this really, really quizzical, eyes and nose squished up, look on your face not knowing whether to "ignore this dummy" or get mad at his stupidity,lol. Peace!!!!! P.S. I am not a scientist. I am just an uneducated philosopher so please forgive any shortcomings where my knowledge is concerned, lol. Thanks!
     
  12. Dec 11, 2011 #11
    Great link Dotini, Thank You very much for that!! I believe the spinning super-massive black-hole at our galaxy's center, and the flat( not spherical) magnetic field that is produced because of it's spinning, has, on a cosmic scale, more to do with anything going on in our galaxy than everyone thinks because, after watching the impromptu, spur of the moment, "salt in a bag" experiment carried out by one of the astronauts on the I.S.S., I think a sort of magnetism first causes things to attract until enough "stuff" is there for gravity to take over. Here on earth we can create and experiment with spherical magnetic fields but I don't think we can yet re-create a flat disc shaped magnetic field, like the one our galaxy's spinning super-massive black-hole produces, so therefore we can only speculate or theorize until we can. I believe scientists do not yet know enough about the galactic magnetic field to say, with certainty, how it affects, or doesn't affect, "any magnetic field" in our galaxy. In order for me to really explain my self I would have to be sitting face to face but I can't have any visitors for another fifteen years or until they deem me cured(sane),lol,lol,lolllll!!!!Peace!!!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. Dec 11, 2011 #12

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Korben, using your delicious analogy, I don't think the solar system ever moves out of the "meat". I'm not sure though.
     
  14. Dec 13, 2011 #13
    I didn't know our solar system was always in the strongest part of the galactic magnetic field. So I wonder what makes our solar system change it's directional orientation from "up" to "down" every 52,000 years? I have also learned my description of how "our solar systems orbit would look like a sine-wave" is not correct. Apparently it resembles a corkscrew or the threads on a bolt. I think I read this in one of the links given in this thread. There has to be someone out there that can give us some idea. If we are permanently in the "meat" then the sway held over our solar systems orbit must indeed be gravity. Everyone knows of our suns 11 year sunspot cycle. Well, some think Jupiter's barycenter is the most influential where the solar maximum and minimum cycles are concerned but why is this upcoming 2012 cycle ( this is supposed be the most active sunspot/mass coronal ejection cycle we've ever experienced) going to be so much more active than previous sunspot cycles. The last powerful m.c.e.(sometime in the 1800's)caused some telegraph outposts to catch fire and this is a known fact so what are in for in 2012. Peace!!!!!
     
  15. Dec 13, 2011 #14

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    To my knowledge this does not happen. The solar system always stays at the same orientation.
    Edit: Or are you referring to the direction of the Sun's magnetic field?

    Yes, since our path around the galaxy ins't a perfect circle then we would have a helical motion, aka a corkscrew.

    Of this there has never been any doubt.

    I believe it is simply part of the normal cycle of the Sun. There is more than just the 11 year cycle. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  16. Dec 13, 2011 #15
    Sorry for quoting you again but I would like to clear something up just for me. So our solar systems orbit goes nowhere near either pole of the galactic magnetic field? Can our galaxy undergo a pole shift and if it could/did, what, if any, effect would it have on our solar system? Peace!!!!!
     
  17. Dec 14, 2011 #16

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I just found this paper: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1012/1012.2932v1.pdf

    Apparently, we don't know the layout of the galactic magnetic field. There are a few possibilities of which they show two, a dipole and a quadrupole arrangement. In any case the strength of the galactic field is so miniscule that I doubt it would have effectively no large scale effect on our solar system. It's strength is REALLY tiny.

    So, to answer your original questions, we don't know.
     
  18. Dec 14, 2011 #17
    Drakkith, Thank You Ever So Much for your patience with me. I must say, you are very, very forgiving when it comes to others idle curiosity or just plain lack of info or knowledge. I would also like to let you know the link you provided is, for me, the most, best information on the galactic magnetic field to ever cross my path. Again, Thank You. The link you've given me should answer all of my questions and even if it doesn't answer all my questions I know I can safely say some will be. When, and if, I do learn something, or if a new question arises, I will be back to verify any new
    knowledge I have acquired. Peace Brother!!!!!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: The galactic magnetic field.
  1. Magnetic fields (Replies: 4)

Loading...