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This is a view of the Earth's magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size
Aris Multimedia Entertainment, Inc. 1994

The Moon's Magnetosphere

Unlike the Earth, which has a protective shield around it called the magnetosphere, the surface of the moon is not protected from the solar wind. This picture shows the magnetosphere surrounding the Earth, with the Earth a small object in the center.

A planet's magnetosphere is provided through its magnetic field. To create a magnetic field, a planet or moon must have magnetic material such has iron, which is warm enough to move around to form currents within the planet.

Over time planets and moons freeze completely through. It is possible that the moon has little magnetic field because it's iron core has frozen solid. Further exploration of the Moon through missions such as Lunar Prospector will help scientists figure out what happened to the Moon's magnetic field.


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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The Earth's Magnetic Field

The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The Earth's magnetic field reaches 36,000 miles into space. The magnetic field of the Earth is surrounded in a region called the magnetosphere....more

The Magnetic Field

The force of magnetism causes material to point along the direction the magnetic force points. As shown in the diagram to the left, the force of magnetism is illustrated by lines, which represent the force....more

How do we know what the inside of a Planet or Moon is like?

You may wonder how it is that scientists know what the inside of a planet is like. The interior of a moon or planet can be closely determined from spacecraft navigation data when a spacecraft passes by...more

The Lunar Atmosphere

People used to think that moons such as the Earth's moon or the moons of Jupiter had no atmosphere whatsoever. Now, however, measurements have shown that most of these moons are surrounded by a *very*...more

The Co-Formation Theory

The co-formation theory explains the origin of the moon as an object which formed out of the primitive solar nebula at the same time and roughly the same place as the Earth. As shown in this picture, while...more

The Moon's Magnetosphere

Unlike the Earth, which has a protective shield around it called the magnetosphere, the surface of the moon is not protected from the solar wind. This picture shows the magnetosphere surrounding the Earth,...more

The Many Names for the Full Moon

Sometimes, in the fall, you may hear people call a Full Moon the "Harvest Moon". That's because farmers can stay in their fields late, after sunset, harvesting their crops by the bright light of a Full...more

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