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Science in Seconds - Magnetic Fields

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Science in Seconds Know Everything RUMOURS – Magnetic Fields Rheanna Sand: Ah, magnetic fields. One of my favorite science topics, and one of my favorite bands. Of course, one is an abstract, nebulous force, not easily explained, and the other is a mathematical description of the influence in electric current on magnetic material. We've all seen magnetic fields in action. There's one that seems to confuse and worry a lot of people. Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, surrounds the entire planet. But some fear that one day the magnetic poles will instantly switch places, wreaking havoc on navigation systems and forcing Canadians to admire the aurora australis, rather than borealis. One thing is correct about that statement: the magnetic poles will switch! ...eventually. Geologists can tell by going down through the layers of rock, and examining the orientation of magnetized fragments, that approximately every few hundred thousand to a million years, the magnetosphere undergoes a pole reversal. And the last reversal to happen was about 780,000 years ago. But fearing this reversal event is silly: Even if the process were to start today, it would take hundreds, or even thousands of years to complete. The magnetic field arises from the flow of molten iron in the Earth's core. And while it's considered fast in geological time, it's nowhere near fast enough to be any concern to us, our grandchildren or our grandchildren's grandchildren. One day, if we haven't destroyed ourselves, there may be people who experience the messy, disordered magnetosphere in flux. Those folks may be at risk for more cancers or random gene mutations from solar wind particles making their way to Earth. But it's safe to say it most definitely will not be you. Courtesy of Science in Seconds – All rights reserved Only for educational/non-profit purposes. (Translators are invited to put their name here)

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Science in Seconds
Director: Science in Seconds
Views: 50
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Dec 19, 2011

If you've ever wondered how our little planet stayed so lovely over billions of years, it's not botox - it's the magnetosphere! Also known as Earth's magnetic field, this phenomenon lets us pitiful humans use a compass for navigation, enjoy the northern lights, and not suffer what we imagine would be painful solar wind showers.

But some people are afraid that the Earth's magnetic field is going to switch poles, causing armageddon, judgement day, and painful solar wind showers all at once. Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, but could there be something to this rumour?

Watch and find out!

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