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The IMF is represented by the blue arcs in the picture above. This picture shows the spiral nature of the IMF.
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IMF

The Sun acts like it has a big magnet in the middle of it. We call this the Sun's magnetic field.

The Sun's magnetic field has a fancier name, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). This just means that the Sun's magnetic field is so huge that it passes all of the planets. Can you imagine a bar magnet that is so huge and powerful that it reaches all the way out to Pluto?! The Sun's magnetic field does hit a boundary way past Pluto called the heliopause.

The magnetic field of the Sun is carried by the solar wind which comes out from the Sun. The solar wind and magnetic field are twisted into a spiral by the Sun's rotation.

Last modified June 3, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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