Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 70: Jul-Aug 1990

Issue Contents

Other pages











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