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Some animals can detect magnetic fields, whichhelps them orientate themselves and navigate. Animals which can do this include pigeons, bees, Monarch butterflies, sea turtles and certain fish.

The earth's magnetic field

In the picture below, you can see a representation of the earth's magnetic field which is very similar to the magnetic field of a giant bar magnet likethe one on the right of the picture. So the earth has two sets of north poles and south poles: geographic poles and magnetic poles .

The earth's magnetic field is thought to be caused by flowing liquid metals in the outer core which causes electric currents and a magnetic field. From the pictureyou can see that the direction of magnetic north and true north are not identical. The geographic north pole , which is the point through which the earth's rotation axis goes, is about 11,5 o away from the direction of the magnetic north pole (which is where a compass will point). However, the magnetic poles shift slightly all the time.

Another interesting thing to note is that if we think of the earth as a big bar magnet, and we know that magnetic field lines always point from north to south , then the compass tells us that what we call the magnetic north pole is actually the south pole of the bar magnet!

Interesting fact

The direction of the earth's magnetic field flips direction about once every 200 000 years! You can picture this as a bar magnet whose north and south poleperiodically switch sides. The reason for this is still not fully understood.

The importance of the magnetic field to life on earth

The earth's magnetic field is very important for humans and other animals on earth because it protects us from being bombarded (hit) by high energy charged particles which are emitted by the Sun. The stream of charged particles (mainly positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons) coming from the sun is called the solar wind. When these particles come close to the Earth, they become trapped by the Earth's magnetic field and cannot shower down to the surface where they can harm living organisms. Astronauts in space are at risk of being irradiated by the solar wind because they are outside the zones where the charged particles are trapped.

The region above Earth's atmosphere in which charged particles are affected by Earth's magnetic field is called the magnetosphere. Relatively often, in addition to the usual solar wind, the Sun may eject a large bubble of material (protons and electrons) with its own magnetic field from its outer atmosphere. Sometimes these bubbles travel towards the Earth where their magnetic fields can join with Earth's magnetic field. When this happens a huge amount of energy is released into the Earth's magnetosphere, causing a geomagnetic storm. These storms cause rapid changes in the Earth's magnetosphere which in turn may affect electric and magnetic systems on the Earth such as power grids, cellphone networks, and other electronic systems.

Aurorae (pronounced or-roar-ee)

Another effect caused by the Earth's magnetic field is the spectacular Northern and Southern Lights, which are also called the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis respectively. When charged particles from the solar wind reach the Earth's magnetosphere, they spiral along the magnetic field lines towards the North and South poles. If they collide with particles in the Earth's atmosphere, they can cause red or green lights which stretch across a large part of the sky and which is called the aurora. Because this only happens close to the North and South poles, we cannot see the aurorae from South Africa. However, people living in the high Northern latitudes in Canada, Sweden, and Finland, for example, often see the Northern lights.

This simulation shows you the Earth's magnetic field and a compass.

run demo

Summary

  1. Magnets have two poles - North and South.
  2. Some substances can be easily magnetised.
  3. Like poles repel each other and unlike poles attract each other.
  4. The Earth also has a magnetic field.
  5. A compass can be used to find the magnetic north pole and help us find our direction.

This video provides a summary of the work covered in this chapter.

Khan academy video on magnets

End of chapter exercises

  1. Describe what is meant by the term magnetic field .
  2. Use words and pictures to explain why permanent magnets have a magnetic field around them. Refer to domains in your explanation.
  3. What is a magnet?
  4. What happens to the poles of a magnet if it is cut into pieces?
  5. What happens when like magnetic poles are brought close together?
  6. What happens when unlike magnetic poles are brought close together?
  7. Draw the shape of the magnetic field around a bar magnet.
  8. Explain how a compass indicates the direction of a magnetic field.
  9. Compare the magnetic field of the Earth to the magnetic field of a bar magnet using words and diagrams.
  10. Explain the difference between the geographical north pole and the magnetic north pole of the Earth.
  11. Give examples of phenomena that are affected by Earth's magnetic field.
  12. Draw a diagram showing the magnetic field around the Earth.

Questions & Answers

can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
ninjadapaul
20/(×-6^2)
Salomon
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
ninjadapaul
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
ninjadapaul
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
Salomon
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
Salomon
I got X =-6
Salomon
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
ninjadapaul
oops. ignore that.
ninjadapaul
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
ninjadapaul
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
hello
Sherica
im all ears I need to learn
Sherica
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
Tamia
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Kim
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Al
y=10×
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
yes
Asali
I'm not good at math so would you help me
Samantha
what is the problem that i will help you to self with?
Asali
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Physics - grade 10 [caps 2011]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 14, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11298/1.3
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