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No. 70: Jul-Aug 1990

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Tilted Planetary Magnetic Fields

The axis of the earth's magnetic field is tilted about 11 away from our planet's axis of rotation. This tilt is embarrassing to the reigning "dynamo theory," in which the axes of the magnetic field and rotation are presumed to be aligned. The situation is even worse with some the other planets; viz., Uranus with 60 and Neptune with 47. Jupiter's tilt is 10, while Saturn's is only 1. Clearly, something is awry.

Two possibilities are: (1) The dynamo theory is incorrect; or (2) The magnetic fields measured by spacecraft are actually combinations of central, dynamocreated, dipole fields, which are aligned with the axes of rotation, and "other" dipole fields originating in the outermost portions of the planetary cores. If the latter solution to the dilemma is correct, we must account for the origin and disposition of these "other" dipoles.

(Eberhart, J.; "Straightening the Magnetic Tilts of Planets," Science News, 137:294, 1990.)

Reference. The anomalously titled magnetic fields of planets are cataloged in The Moon and the Planets. For details on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #70, JUL-AUG 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987