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
The Sun's Magnetic Field Polarity
This image shows the magnetic field polarity that Ulysses measured while traveling from 80 degrees South to 80 degrees North during 1994-1995. The measurements have been mapped onto a sphere corresponding to appropriate solar latitudes and longitudes. Blue values represent regions where the magnetic field pointed toward the Sun, red where it pointed away.
The North and South pole switch magnetic direction or polarity every 11 years. This reversal follows the sunspot cycle and is thought to be due to dynamo processes occuring in the solar interior. Green lines represent the boundaries between the two hemispheres. Agreement between actual measurements and predicted models is good, though some discrepancies exist. Work is ongoing on this topic.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. This property implies that the force of magnetism has a direction. As shown in the diagram to the left, the...more
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST is credited...more
Driven by a recent surge in space research, the Apollo program hoped to add to the accomplishments of the Lunar Orbiter and Surveyor missions of the late 1960's. Apollo 11 was the first mission to succeed...more
Apollo 12 survived a lightning strike during its launch on Nov. 14, 1969, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended to the surface, while Richard Gordon...more
Apollo 15 marked the start of a new series of missions from the Apollo space program, each capable of exploring more lunar terrain than ever before. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 reached the Moon...more
NASA chose Deep Impact to be part of a special series called the Discovery Program on July 7, 1999. In May 2001, Deep Impact was given the "go" from NASA to start with mission development. Deep Impact...more
The Galileo spacecraft was launched on October 19, 1989. Galileo had two parts: an orbiter and a descent probe that parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo's primary mission was to explore the Jovian...more