Check Your Compasses Here

 

The European Space Agency now has three satellites, presumably in polar orbits, called Swarm, that are mapping the Earth’s magnetic field.

The data, seen in the animation above, varies quite a bit, leading once again to the perennial question “Will the Earth’s magnetic field be flipping soon?”

By flipping is meant that the North pole becomes the South Pole and vice versa.  If it happens, you’ll have to repaint the N and S markings on your personal compass.  No word on how such a reversal would affect birds that perennially migrate, using the Earth’s magnetic field, along with some magnetite in their brains.

The other question is “If this transition takes some time, would we humans lose some protection from energetic cosmic and solar wind particles intent on mutating our collective DNA?”

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Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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