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Earth's Magnetic Field Reversal: When Will Happen And Consequences!

Earth’s Magnetic Field Reversal: When Will Happen And Consequences!

What Really Happens When Earth’s Magnetic Field Flips?
The Earth has a magnetic field that, like a magnet, goes from the north pole to the south pole. This field is caused by complex processes inside of the Earth’s molten core. This magnetic field is much more important than you think. Not only does it help us find north with a compass, it also protects us and all our technology from dangerous cosmic radiation. Many animals depend on it for their migrations and dogs apparently align themselves along a north south angle when they poo* . Like all magnets, the Earth’s magnetic field has a north and south pole, so what would happen if they would flip?
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First, let’s lay down some definitions. The Earth rotates around its geographic north Pole, this pole would take massive amounts of energy, akin to a giant asteroid, to move and generally stays where it is. In a globe, the geographic north pole is marked by the top part of the stick that connects the globe to the mount. The bottom part is the south pole of course.

The magnetic poles are the two places where the magnetic field is vertical to the Earth’s surface. Near the geometric north pole the field will point vertically down, and near the geometric south pole the field will point vertically up. This means that your compass needle would not point forward on the north pole, but downwards toward the ground. On the south pole it would point straight up into the sky. Due to historical shenanigans the magnetic south pole is actually at the geographical north pole and vice versa. This is because we once decided that the north-part of a magnet on a compass, points to the geographic north pole. Since opposite sides attract, that means that the magnetic south pole is at the geographical south pole.

Unlike their geometric counterparts, the magnetic poles are wandering points. This has to do with the fact that our Earth’s core is not a solid bar magnet, but rather a very dense magnetic liquid. Changes in this liquid affect the shape, strength and orientation of the magnetic field, which can have some major effects for us.

Direct measurements of the magnetic field have been ongoing for over 4 centuries now, and in this time we have mapped the path of the magnetic north pole very accurately. It wanders around a lot, but it has always stayed close to the geographic north pole. A flip would require the magnetic pole it to move down past the equator, towards the other pole, so that a compass would now point south instead of north.

However, if we go back much further in time then we can see that the magnetic field has flipped 183 times in the last 83 million years. That means that we should have one flip roughly each 450000 years. However, these same measurements indicate that the last flip happened around 780000 years ago. That is almost twice as long as the average, which implies that we are long overdue for the next flip. Perhaps it is already happening!

How do scientists know this, you might ask. For the last 400 years we could measure it the location of the magnetic poles directly. The rough process is to compare compasses on different locations and triangulate the location of the poles. But before that we did not have the technology nor the knowledge to measure these things. The way that we managed to find out the location of the magnetic poles further back is by observing particles that were somehow ‘frozen’ into place during a certain time and point to the position that the poles had when they were still mobile. If we find a 1000 year old magnetic particle that has not moved since then, we can tell where the poles are based on its orientation. The scientists basically look for very old compasses.

The most popular source for these particles are cooled volcanic flows, which have very accurate measurements but of course do not happen on a continuous basis. Alternatively scientists look for these frozen particles in sedimentary deposits on ocean floors. These stack in a continuous process, but the problem there is that it is very hard to date the layers of sediment accurately. A new and very promising method of determining the past magnetic field is based on the observation of stalagmites. These are rock structures that are formed over the course of thousands of years by a constant dripping in a cave. Magnetic particles that float around in the cave get caught by the drop and become part of the structure.

This method is very promising because stalagmites form in a very controlled manner and are easy to date, it is a destructive process however and we have a limited amount of them.

#InsaneCuriosity #Earth’sMagneticField #WhatWillHappen


The Power Of Neutron Stars!

The Power Of Neutron Stars!

We know how terrifying and powerful black holes can be, but what comes second place in terms to it in terms of overall awesomeness? Join us today as we learn about neutron stars!

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One of the most popular outer space entities that pop culture love to revolve about is the black hole. We’ve seen various movies, TV programs, even some songs talk about how magnificent and mysterious they are. But what if black holes aren’t the only objects that we should be amazed with?

Of course we have a lot of picks for that matter, but the particular thing we would talk about today is the star that ranks number 1 in the universe in terms of density: the neutron stars.

Okay, astro fans, I can hear you argue and say “No, black holes are the densest objects in the universe!” But let me tell you this: remember how black holes work? They are effectively stars that collapsed to an almost zero volume, which results in their enormous gravitational force. If they effectively are dimensionless, can we really say that they are “objects”?

We can’t be really sure, and that’s something that only philosophy can answer, but while we’re here at the subject of definitions and what we actually know for certain, let’s just say the one we can categorize as the densest object, quote-unquote, is the neutron star.

And no, a neutron star is not a subatomic particle which grew to the size of the star. It isn’t also a bunch of neutrons agreeing to somehow collectively come together to form a humongous star. Although we can effectively say that a neutron star is like a giant atom, we’ll get to that later.

For now, I want to discuss how neutron stars are born and why they are like Phoenixes: how from the ashes of their old corpses, they rise up and fly with their new, replenished lives!

I know you already know this if you’re an astro buff, but to some of our viewers out there who are new, first of all, welcome! We hope we spark your curiosity more through our videos!

Anyway, stars were discovered to follow some kind of lifecycle, just like us living beings on Earth. They too, get born, have a childhood phase, then grow to adulthood, then also die, after certain circumstances.

A star’s usual routine involves fusing hydrogen into helium. Quite honestly, in its lifetime, that’s all it ever does. Now, as we know from basic nuclear physics, when we fuse atoms together, it creates energy. The energy that the fusion in the star creates is countered by the gravitational force towards its center, effectively keeping the balance and preventing it from collapsing towards its center. As long as this goes on, everything is good and well at a star’s life.

But of course, like all lives, stars experience a tipping point in theirs.

Remember how stars burn hydrogen to fuse to helium? Well, eventually, stars run out of hydrogen to fuse, so they fuse helium instead, forming elements such as carbon and oxygen. The energy pushes out the borders of the star causing it to move to its giant phase, until the pressure from electron degeneracy collapses the core of the star, and expelling its outer layer leaving a white dwarf.

For heavy mass stars, a number of times larger than the mass of our own Sun, the story is different.

The same as earlier, when the star runs out of hydrogen to fuse, it begins to fuse heavier elements. The difference this time is that the collapse caused by gravity is so extremely strong, way stronger than what we described earlier, that the fusion goes to Neon, to Oxygen, to Silicon, then finally to Iron.

As this happens, the outer layer of the star begins to fatten up faster as time goes by.

When the core of the star is finally iron, fusion can no longer take place, as iron is stubborn this way. We can imagine at this point, there is no more energy resulting from fusion. So what if that happens? The own weight of the star collapses in itself, effectively crushing it to the size of up to around a 10 kilometer radius. It’s like compressing the star to about the size of Malta!

Now, we know how subatomic particles don’t want to get near each other, right? We can practically say that an atom is made of empty space. However, the strength of the gravitational force that occurs when a heavy mass star collapses crushes this space in between, merging the protons and electrons together to form neutrons, with some neutrinos in excess.

But the extravaganza of energy doesn’t end there! See, neutrons hate being compressed towards one another, too. Just like protons and electrons. The collapse can only occur up to a certain moment where the neutrons form a lattice-like structure, the crushing in stops. By the way, this sudden halt is what we call neutron degeneracy pressure.

#InsaneCuriosity#NeutronStars #HowTheUniverseWorks