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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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NASA

IMF

IMF stands for Interplanetary Magnetic Field. It is another name for the Sun's magnetic field.

The Sun's magnetic field is enormous and is carried by the solar wind. The solar wind and magnetic field are twisted into a spiral by the Sun's rotation. All the planets reside within this field, which is why the Sun's magnetic field can be called interplanetary.

Eventually the solar wind and IMF encounter the interstellar magnetic field and plasma of interstellar space. The boundary between space dominated by the Sun (or the heliosphere) and interstellar space is called the heliopause.

Last modified June 3, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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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