Video: Magnetic field update

Jun 20, 2014

This animation shows changes in Earth's magnetic field from January to June 2014 as measured by ESA's Swarm trio of satellites.

The protects us from and charged particles that bombard Earth, but it is in a permanent state of flux. Magnetic north wanders, and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so that a compass would point south instead of north. Moreover, the strength of the magnetic field constantly changes – and it is currently showing signs of significant weakening.

The field is particularly weak over the South Atlantic Ocean – known as the South Atlantic Anomaly. This weak field has indirectly caused many temporary 'hiccups' (called Single Event Upsets) as the satellites are exposed to strong radiation over this area.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Earth’s ever-changing magnetic field. Credit: ESA/Dot2Dot


Explore further: Video: Earth's wandering magnetic field

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Swarm reveals Earth's changing magnetism

Jun 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —The first set of high-resolution results from ESA's three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.

Swarm's precise sense of magnetism

May 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —Although they were launched only five months ago, ESA's trio of Swarm satellites are already delivering results with a precision that took earlier missions 10 years to achieve.

The solar wind breaks through the Earth's magnetic field

Jun 10, 2014

Space is not empty. A wind of charged particles blows outwards from the Sun, carrying a magnetic field with it. Sometimes this solar wind can break through the Earth's magnetic field. Researchers at the Swedish ...

Satellite's magnetic mapping mission

Dec 12, 2013

A scientist from the University of Liverpool will play a leading role in the European Space Agency's (ESA) satellite mission to study the Earth's geomagnetic field.

Swarm launch postponed

Oct 31, 2013

The launch of ESA's magnetic field mission from Plesetsk, Russia, has been postponed by about a week.

Recommended for you

NKorea launch pad expansion 'nearing completion'

9 hours ago

A U.S. research institute says construction to upgrade North Korea's main rocket launch pad should be completed by fall, allowing Pyongyang (pyuhng-yahng) to conduct a launch by year's end if it decides to do so.

Mars, Saturn and the claws of Scorpius

15 hours ago

Look up at the night sky this week and you'll find Mars and Saturn together in the west. Mars stands out with its reddish colouring and you might just be able to detect a faint yellow tinge to Saturn. ...

User comments : 0