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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.
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Imperial College

The Sun's Magnetic Field Polarity

Ulysses is a spacecraft that is traveling around the Sun. Ulysses is orbiting around the top and bottom of the Sun. No other spacecraft has ever done this...so Ulysses gets to measure things no other spacecraft ever has!

One thing Ulysses has been measuring is the Sun's magnetic field. It's like the Sun has a big magnet inside of it and Ulysses is measuring how strong that magnet is. This picture shows which direction the magnetic field of the Sun is pointing. Where it's blue, the magnetic field points in toward the Sun and where it's red it's pointed away.

The magnetic field of the Sun is very complicated, so don't worry if you don't understand everything. Even scientists are still trying to figure things out!

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 by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF