Magnetosphere: what planets have magnetic fields? A magnetosphere is created around a planet by its magnetic field. The magnetosphere’s size is dependent on the strength of the magnetic field. The larger planets will mainly contain a magnetosphere. These four planets are Jupiter, Earth, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Mercury.
How Is A Magnetosphere Created?
A magnetosphere is created with particles carrying a charge and will cover the atmosphere surrounding a planet and be attracted to the North and South poles. These charged particles will collide as the planet spins creating a magnetic field.
As the planet is spinning, its internal magnetic field will also interact with particles being produced by the sun. This current of particles is called the solar wind. Depending on how strong the planet’s internal magnetic field, the solar wind can distort the shape of the magnetosphere.
The magnetosphere of Jupiter has a higher strength than the other planets. Jupiter’s magnetosphere extends from the planet to form a magnetosphere tail. It has been estimated that the magnetosphere of Jupiter has twenty thousand times more strength than any of the other planets.
The magnetosphere is created by the particles from the solar wind, but the strength of Jupiter’s magnetosphere is also created particles from one of its moon. The moon of Jupiter called Io is volcanic in nature, and it releases particles that also contribute to the very large magnetosphere of Jupiter. The magnetosphere of Jupiter is also influenced by the solar wind. Before 2007, it was thought that the largest magnetosphere belonged to Earth. However, the exploration proved that the magnetosphere of Jupiter is large enough to engulf the Sun.
Though not as large as Jupiter, the magnetic field of Earth is created by the movements inside of the core of the Earth causing the internal magnetic field. However, the magnetosphere of the Earth is more influenced by the solar wind that extends from the Sun. This creates an interplanetary magnetic field. It is a moving current of protons that can travel at 400 to 800 km/s as it leaves the Sun. This solar wind will also contain electrons creating an opposing charge. The size of Earth’s magnetosphere extends to 64,000 km outwards from the Earth. It was first discovered in the late 1950s by NASA when scientists wanted to know in regards to a magnetosphere: what planets have magnetic fields.
The magnetosphere of Saturn is caused by the same core internal magnetic field that is similar to Jupiter’s magnetic field. However the magnetosphere of Saturn is smaller than Jupiter’s magnetosphere and cannot be compared to the magnetosphere of Earth. Both Jupiter and Saturn have a moving layer of hydrogen in metal form in the cores of the planet that is responsible for the internal magnetic field. The reason the internal magnetic field of Jupiter is larger than Saturn’s is due to the planet Jupiter having more hydrogen in its core than Saturn.
Neptune, Uranus, and Mercury
Magnetosphere: what planets have magnetic fields? Neptune, Uranus, and Mercury also have magnetospheres, but none of these planets have the same layer of moving hydrogen that is present within Jupiter and Saturn. However, hydrogen is distributed throughout the planets, and this produces the internal magnetic field, which acts along with the solar wind to produce a magnetosphere.
Web Source: Stanley W. H. Cowley. (1996). Earth’s Magnetosphere.Earth in Space. 8 (7), 9. Available: http://ion.le.ac.uk/education/ magnetosphere.html
Web Source: NASA Ames Research Center. “Magnetosphere.” 2005. Available: http://sec.gsfc.nasa.gov/ popscise.jpg
Web Source: NASA Ames Research Center. “Magnetospheres.” 2010. Available: http://science.nasa.gov/ heliophysics/focus-areas/ magnetosphere-ionosphere/