This section is intended to be a discussion of magnetism on the large scale, not limited to the magnetic field of the earth (although that will be its primary focus). Perhaps this section should be title "megamagnetism".
Start on the surface. The earth's magnetic poles are near but not on the geographic poles.
|The south magnetic pole is currently about one hundred kilometers north of Canada in the Arctic Ocean.||The north magnetic pole is currently about one hundred kilometers north of eastern Antarctica in the Pacific Ocean.|
work your way down into the earth
- magnetic axis and geographic axis aren't aligned
- gradual drift of magnetic field
- source of geomagnetism is convection of charged outer core
- inner core is hotter than Curie temperature
- inner core spinning faster than earth
- field reversals on a time scale between human and geologic, something like the time scale between ice ages, but episodic not periodic
Then work your way out into space.
The effective reach of a celestial body's magnetic field is known as its magnetosphere. The earth's magnetosphere is compressed on one side and stretched out on the other by the solar wind. It extends about ten earth radii towards the sun and a thousand away from it.
- current sheet comes from the downwind portion of the magnetosphere
- van allen radiation belts
Real-time space weather information from the Space Weather Prediction Center of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). What's the weather like in space right now?
|Space weather is described by fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field and the density, speed, and temperature of the solar wind. Values in the red indicate a geomagnetic storm is underway.||The Planetary K Index shows the overall deviation of the earth's magnetic field. Values in the red (Kp > 4) indicate a geomagnetic storm is underway.|
|Current auroral activity in the northern and southern hemispheres. If you're located under a bright green portion of the auroral oval (and it's nighttime and the sky is clear) chances are good you can see the aurora if you go outside.|
keep going out to the sun, then work out from the sun to the edge of the solar system
- sunspots are magnetic storms, sunspots always occur in pairs
- termination shock
- bow shock
end with the galactic magnetic field