Archive for magnetic field

Birds can see The magnetic fields

Posted in 2018, animals, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 5, 2018 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Researchers have long suspected that birds can see magnetic fields.

Now, two new studies (one examining zebra finches and the other looking at European robins) have identified a specific protein that gives them this uncanny sense.

Both single out Cry4, a light-sensitive protein found in the retina. This raises the interesting possibility that birds can see geomagnetic storms–not only by watching auroras as humans do, but also by witnessing the underlying unrest of Earth’s magnetic field.

Learn more about this research from ScienceNews

A high-speed stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field today & Strange Sunset

Posted in 2016, astronomy with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2016 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


GEOMAGNETIC STORM TODAY: As predicted, a high-speed stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field today. Since it arrived on Sept. 27th, the stream has sparked G1- and G2-classgeomagnetic storms and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle.

NOAA forecasters say the storms could intensify on Sept. 28th as the stream reaches peak speeds in excess of 700 km/s. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras. Free: Aurora Alerts

“I can’t get enough of these lights,” says Katarina Srsenova, who took this picture last night in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park

More photos are pouring in. Browse the gallery for the latest sightings:

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THIS SUNSET….Yesterday at sunset, Mila Zinkova was looking west from Pacifica CA when “something strange happened,” she reports. The sun split into multiple layers and a green flash appeared. But, that wasn’t the strange thing.

Temperature inversions above the ocean surface frequently distort the setting sun off the Califonia coast. “Take a closer look at the picture,” urges Zinkova. “Where did that vertical pillar of light at the bottom come from?” Scroll down for the answer:

“It’s the spout of a whale,” she explains.

In the complete video she recorded, multiple spouts can be seen grazing the bottom of the miraged sun. “Of course the sunset was unusual not because of whales, but because of some very complex temperature inversions in the atmosphere. While the lowest sun was setting, producing green flashes, the upper suns were not in a hurry to leave. They kept disappearing and reappearing.”

Just another evening on the California coast…. Turn up the volume and watch it again.

The global magnetic field is Changing

Posted in 2016, astronomy with tags , , , on May 13, 2016 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


The global magnetic field has weakened 10% since the 19th century.

A new study by the European Space Agency’s constellation of Swarm satellites reveals that changes may be happening even faster than previously thought. In this map, blue depicts where Earth’s magnetic field is weak and red shows regions where it is strong.

Earth’s magnetic field protects us from solar storms and cosmic rays. Less magnetism means more radiation can penetrate our planet’s atmosphere.

Indeed, high altitude balloons launched by routinely detect increasing levels of cosmic rays over California. Perhaps the ebbing magnetic field over North America contributes to that trend.

As remarkable as these changes sound, they’re mild compared to what Earth’s magnetic field has done in the past.

Sometimes the field completely flips, with north and the south poles swapping places. Such reversals, recorded in the magnetism of ancient rocks, are unpredictable.

They come at irregular intervals averaging about 300,000 years; the last one was 780,000 years ago. Are we overdue for another? No one knows.


Immense cracks in our planet’s magnetic field can remain open for hours

Posted in 2016, astronomy with tags , , on May 3, 2016 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Above: An artist’s rendition of NASA’s IMAGE satellite flying through a ‘crack’ in Earth’s magnetic field. [more]

Cracks in Earth’s Magnetic Shield

Immense cracks in our planet’s magnetic field can remain open for hours, allowing the solar wind to gush through and power stormy space weather.


Link to story audioListen to this story via streaming audio, adownloadable file, or get help.

Dec. 3, 2003:  Earth is surrounded by a magnetic force field–a bubble in space called “the magnetosphere” tens of thousands of miles wide. Although many people don’t know it exists, the magnetosphere is familiar. It’s a far flung part of the same planetary magnetic field that deflects compass needles here on Earth’s surface. And it’s important. The magnetosphere acts as a shield that protects us from solar storms.

According to new observations, however, from NASA’s IMAGE spacecraft and the joint NASA/European Space Agency Cluster satellites, immense cracks sometimes develop in Earth’s magnetosphere and remain open for hours. This allows the solar wind to gush through and power stormy space weather.




Korean astrophotographer O Chul Kwon captured this amazing aurora borealis in Northern Canada

Posted in 2014, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , , , on August 12, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI



This amazing aurora light show was snapped near the town of Yellowknife, known as one of the world’s finest Northern Lights watching destinations.

Sunspot AR2130 is directly facing Earth and it has a complex ‘delta-class’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares

Posted in 2014 with tags , , , , , on August 4, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI



The question is, will this stubbornly-quiet sunspot actually erupt? NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on August 4th.Solar Flare alerts: text, voice

Is Earth’s magnetic field getting weaker?

Posted in 2014, astronomy with tags , , on June 23, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI



Dramatic dips spotted across the Western Hemisphere could damage satellites

Esa’s Swarm satellite constellation reveals data on Earth’s magnetic field

The results, presented in Denmark, show the field is weakening in places

The Western Hemisphere, in particular, is dramatically getting weaker
But other places, including the east coast of Africa, are becoming stronger

This is seen by some as a sign the magnetic field will soon reverse
And areas of different intensity can also be harmful to other satellites

The three satellites also accurately tracked the magnetic North pole

Earth’s magnetic field is a protective shield for our planet from cosmic radiation, but it’s also somewhat of a mystery – scientists aren’t sure why it moves and changes in intensity.

And now the first set of high-resolution results from Esa’s three-satellite Swarm constellation reveal that the field is actually getting weaker, albeit by a small amount.

Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.


Esa’s Swarm constellation of satellites have measured changes in Earth’s magnetic field from January to June 2014. These changes are based on the magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core. Shades of red represent areas of strengthening, while blues show areas of weakening, measured in nanoteslas

Dogs Align Themselves to Earth’s Magnetic Field When Pooping

Posted in 2014 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Dogs seem to do their business wherever they feel like it, sometimes in very unfortunate places like neighbors’ yards and kids’ sandboxes. But scientists now say it isn’t random: dogs actually align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field before dropping a doody.

An ability to sense the orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field has been detected in migratory animals such as birds, whales and bees. They are thought to use it for navigation. But this study is the first to find such “magnetosensitivity” in dogs. The researchers spent two years gathering the necessary data (i.e., watching 5,582 pee breaks and 1,893 defecation stops) in Germany and the Czech Republic. After ruling out the influence of wind, time of day, and sun angle, the researchers found that the only factor that played a role in determining how and where the dogs popped a squat was the Earth’s magnetic field.

Canine Compass

When the field was stable, dogs preferred to squat along the North-South axis and actively avoided the East-West axis. That’s without the influence of leashes, fire hydrants or fences.

The researchers don’t know if the 70 dogs in the study actually “felt” the magnetic pull, according to the paperpublished in Frontiers in Zoology. But the scientists base their conclusion on the fact that during periods of instability in the Earth’s magnetic field, when the sun’s magnetic field and solar winds vary its orientation, the dogs no longer showed a preference for the North-South axis.

Next time you take Fido for a walk, bring a compass and see if the results hold true.

Image credit: Aquir/Nejron Photo/Shutterstock

South Africa in pole position for magnetic shift

Posted in 2013 with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2013 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Cape TownEarth’s magnetic field is undergoing significant shifts, and South Africa has front row seats to observe the changes.

Satellites and magnetic observatories have recorded stirrings in the magnetic field – some areas weakening, some strengthening – which suggest that our planet is headed for a reversal of its magnetic poles in the next few hundred years.

If that happens, compasses which usually point north will point south. Animals which use the magnetic field for navigation such as birds, whales and sharks will find it difficult to migrate along their usual routes. Our magnetic navigation systems will have to be recalibrated.

And while South Africans won’t be able to watch the aurora visible over the equator during the pole switch, we are in a prime position to monitor the process because we are situated between the two areas of greatest change in the magnetic field.

Just south-west of Cape Town is the region where the largest decrease was recorded by satellites between 1980 and 2001: -8 percent. And not too far east of South Africa is the region in the Indian Ocean where the largest increase was recorded, of +3 percent.

At the magnetic observatory in Hermanus, one of four in the country, the geomagnetic field has decreased by more than 20 percent since 1941.


The Strong Magnetic Field Around Our Galaxy’s Black Hole By Bill Andrews

Posted in 2013 with tags , , , , on August 15, 2013 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


A special kind of star named PSR J1745-2900, at left in this illustration, helped astronomers learn that a strong magnetic field exists in the area surrounding the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Credit: Ralph Eatough/MPIfR

Even though they’re among the most compelling topics to study, black holes are still mysterious to astronomers. Since its discovery nearly 40 years ago, the black hole at the center of our galaxy has eluded most close scrutiny because (unsurprisingly) black holes emit so little light.

Luckily, a recently discovered star near the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy is now helping scientists learn about these cosmic conundrums’ eating habits.

A Special Kind of Star


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