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Neato Magneto

The"BIG" magnet

Now that you've seen where the magnetic field of a magnet is, what do you think the magnetic field of the earth looks like? Here is a "false color" picture of Earth's magnetic field. The picture was taken from an orbiting NASA satellite. A "false color" picture is where something you can't see is given a false color so you can see where it is. The something you can't see is Earth's magnetic field. A map of Earth has also been inserted into the picture so you can see where Earth is. The picture is looking down at the North Pole of Earth.

How do you think Earth's magnetic field will compare to your magnet's magnetic field?

Can you compare and contrast Earth's magnetic field with your magnet's magnetic field? Write some ways they are alike and some ways they are different. Remember, the color in the photograph is NOT the color of the magnetic field, but is put in to show you where the magnetic field is. The magnetic field itself is invisible.

The magnetosphere is the magnetic field that surrounds Earth. It helps to protect us by deflecting some very harmful particles that are ejected from the Sun. This magnetic field extends thousands of miles into space and is pear-shaped.

How do you think Earth's magnetic field will compare to your magnet's magnetic field?

Can you compare and contrast Earth's magnetic field with your magnet's magnetic field? Write some ways they are alike and some ways they are different. Remember, the color in the photograph is NOT the color of the magnetic field, but is put in to show you where the magnetic field is. The magnetic field itself is invisible.

There are plenty of pictures and information on the magnetosphere on the Internet. Put in the word “magnetosphere” and voila! Read up!

 

MAGnificent facts!

  • Because the Earth is surrounded by a huge magnetic field, it acts like a giant magnet with two opposite poles.
  • The magnetic field of Earth is similar to what you'd see when you sprinkle iron filings on a piece of paper over a bar magnet.
  • Earth's magnetosphere is the largest of any planet in the solar system.
 

Try It!

Click on the picture of Earth's Magnetosphere to dowload the .pdf file for this activity.

Directions:

  1. Cut the area around the picture.
  2. Make sure you don’t cut the picture or the tab.
  3. Color the picture.
  4. Fold the picture on the lines so that they face each other.
  5. Tape the tab to the bottom of the page.
  6. When you are done it should look like a half of a box.

Image courtesy of NASA

 

Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.
Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 5th grade science core.


Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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