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The pink lines in the image represent the magnetic field lines of the Earth.
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Basic Facts About the Effects of Magnetic Fields on Charged Particles

Magnetic fields can cause particles to move in these three ways:


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Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Basic Facts About Spiral Motion

Protons and electrons can't move across magnetic field lines very easily. So sometimes these particles are are forced to spiral around them. Electrons cirle the field line in one direction, protons in...more

Basic Facts About Bounce Motion

Some particles do move along the field lines of the Earth. The crowded magnetic field lines near the poles cause particles to "reflect" and move back the same direction the from which they came. They bounce...more

The comet's interaction with interplanetary space, part 2

The magnetic field of the sun (the IMF) is distorted in passing over the comet, taking a long time to slip around the sizeable ion cloud which forms the comet coma. The stretched magnetic field lines form...more

How Does the Earth's Magnetic Field Protect Us From Space Radiation?

Dangerous particles don't hit the Earth's surface because they are forced by the magnetic field to move around the Earth. Particles do enter at the funnels over the poles or they gain entry far downstream...more

Magnetosphere

A magnetosphere has many parts, such as the bow shock, magnetosheath, magnetotail, plasmasheet, lobes, plasmasphere, radiation belts and many electric currents. It is composed of charged particles and...more

Charged Particle Motion in Earth's Magnetosphere

Motions within Earth's metallic core generate the planet's global magnetic field. This magnetic field extends beyond Earth's surface and atmosphere into the space surrounding our home planet. The interaction...more

AU

AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is a useful way to measure the distances in interplanetary space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For reference,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA