Mercury's magnetic field is tilted. That means its magnetic poles and geographic poles are not in the same place.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image
The Magnetic Poles of Mercury
Mercury has a magnetic field. Its field is weak. Earth's magnetic field is tilted, and so is Mercury's. That means Mercury's magnetic poles are not in the same place as its geographic poles.
Mercury has a global magnetic field like Earth's. Earth's magnetic field is about 100 times stronger than Mercury's field. Scientists think swirling motions in the planet's molten iron core create Mercury's magnetic field. Mercury has a very large iron core. The core fills about 2/5ths of Mercury's volume. Earth's core fills less than 1/5th of Earth's volume.
Mercury's magnetic field is tilted. It is not lined up with the planet's spin axis. It is tilted about the same amount as Earth's magnetic field and as Jupiter's magnetic field. The fields of Uranus and Neptune are tilted a lot more; Saturn's field is tilted a lot less. Since Mercury's magnetic field is tilted, its magnetic poles are not located in the same places as its geographic poles.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
Mercury is the only inner planet other than the Earth that has a significant magnetic field (220 nT). This field, along with the planet's high density and small size relative to the Earth, indicates that...more
Some planets are tilted so their North and South Poles are not straight up and down. Earth is tilted a bit - about 23°. Uranus is tilted a lot - more than 90°. Mercury, on the other hand, is hardly tilted...more
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. As shown in the diagram to the left, the force of magnetism is illustrated by lines, which represent the force....more
Uranus has a strange magnetic field. The magnetic poles of Uranus are not at all close to the geographic poles of Uranus. The main magnetic field of Uranus is tilted 59° away from the planet's spin axis....more
Mercury has a magnetic field. Its field is weak. Earth's magnetic field is tilted, and so is Mercury's. That means Mercury's magnetic poles are not in the same place as its geographic poles. Mercury has...more
Mercury has almost no atmosphere. The planet's small size means that its gravity is too weak to hold down a normal atmosphere. There is a very thin atmosphere around the planet. Mercury's thin atmosphere...more