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This figure was made by Geza Erdos of the KFKI in Budapest. It shows the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field as Ulysses traveled from the south pole to the north pole.
Click on image for full size
Imperial College

The Sun's Magnetic Field Polarity

This image shows the magnetic field polarity that Ulysses measured while traveling from the South pole to the North pole of the Sun. Blue values represent regions where the magnetic field pointed toward the Sun, red where it pointed away. Green lines represent the boundaries between the two hemispheres.

You can better understand this if you imagine the Sun having a huge bar magnet inside of it. If the positive end of the magnet was at the north pole of the Sun, magnetic field lines would come from the north pole of the Sun (pointing away like in the picture) and would loop around to the south pole of the Sun (pointing in toward the Sun like in the picture).

Scientists are still working to better understand the magnetic field of the Sun.

Last modified October 3, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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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