A Look at Neptune's Magnetosphere
The magnetosphere of Neptune is very much like that of Uranus, medium sized but still much larger than the Earth's. Like that of Uranus, is probably made in the middle and with ice, rather than with iron at the core.
Like Uranus, the magnetosphere of Neptune has an extreme tilt, almost 60 degrees. Because Neptune itself is not tilted however, the magnetosphere of Neptune has a more standard, but still completely unique structure.
Mathematical theory suggests that the rings of Neptune affect the motion of particles in this unique magnetosphere, and also are responsible for the presence of three small plasmaspheres instead of one large version!
Like Saturn, Neptune's magnetosphere produces aurora but very faint ones, as well as radio emissions and other waves, such as whistler waves, chorus and hiss.
"What is a Magnetosphere?"
How We Detect Magnetic Fields with Spacecraft
The Poles of Neptune
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Magnetospheres are generated with 1.) magnetic materials and 2.) with motions within the magnetic material. As long as a planet has these two ingredients scientists believe that it can generate a magnetic...more
Motions in the interior of a planet help carry heat from the inside to the outside. The drawing to the left illustrates a kind of global motion that is typical of motions in the atmosphere as well as interior...more
Have you ever seen a bar magnet? Bar magnets have two magnetic poles - north and south. The magnetic field around a bar magnet is called a dipole magnetic field. "Dipole" means "two poles". Bar magnets...more
If you had a quiz question in school that asked what year Neptune was discovered, you'd probably choose 1846. But Neptune wasn't discovered the way all the other planets in our solar system were. Astronomers...more
Neptune's atmosphere shows a striped pattern of clouds. This cloud pattern is very similar to that of Jupiter and Saturn. Neptune even has a Great Dark Spot similar to Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The history...more
This image shows the new Great Dark Spot of Neptune, which was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope. The image shown here, shows a "hole" in the clouds of Neptune in pink, in the northern hemisphere,...more
The giant planets have definitely changed since their formation. But how much remains to be seen. Most of the original air of the giant planets remains in place. (The earth-like planets lost most of their...more
This image shows some clouds known as "cirrus" clouds, extending for many kilometers across the face of Neptune. These clouds are very high up, for they can be seen to cast shadows on the lower clouds,...more