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The pink lines in the image represent the magnetic field lines of the Earth.
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Basic Facts About the Effects of Magnetic Fields on Charged Particles

Magnetic fields can cause particles to move in these three ways:


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Basic Facts About Spiral Motion

Sometimes protons and electrons are forced to spiral around magnetic field lines. Electrons cirle the field line in one direction, protons in the opposite direction....more

Basic Facts About Bounce Motion

Some particles do move along the field lines of the Earth. They bounce back and forth from one pole of the Earth to the other....more

How Does the Earth's Magnetic Field Protect Us From Space Radiation?

Dangerous particles from the Sun don't hit the Earth's surface. They are forced by the Earth's magnetic field to move around the Earth. You can think of the Earth's magnetic field as a big shield from...more

The comet's interaction with interplanetary space, part 2

The magnetic field of the sun (the IMF) is distorted in passing over the comet, taking a long time to slip around the sizeable ion cloud which forms the comet coma. The stretched magnetic field lines form...more

Charged Particle Motion in Earth's Magnetosphere

Motions within Earth's metallic core generate the planet's global magnetic field. This magnetic field extends beyond Earth's surface and atmosphere into the space surrounding our home planet. The interaction...more

AU

AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is an easy way to measure large distances in space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For really big distances, we...more

The Spiral of the IMF

The solar wind is formed as the Sun's top layer blows off into space. It carries magnetic fields still attached to the Sun. Streams appear to flow into space as if they are spiraling out from the Sun,...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