Magnetic fields are everywhere. Anything made of anything will have or be affected by one, from stars and planets right down to the building blocks of matter. Electricity depends on it to function and even people generate their own–albeit very weak–fields.
Using computer animations and narrations in the NASA labs at UC Berkeley, this short illustrates what we would see if magnetic field were visible to the naked eye.
Caused by the rotation of its solid iron inner core against its constantly moving and liquid outer core, the Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful charged particles the sun is constantly emitting. Without it, the atmosphere would be stripped from our planet and we would be bombarded by deadly solar radiation.
Using radio receivers set to 20hz, this video interprets a solar storm hitting our upper atmosphere and translates it directly to a visual medium. As the storm progresses, more complex patterns arise and interact.
The Aurora Borealis and Australis are caused by these charged particles from the sun being guided along the magnetic field lines (which emerge from the planet’s poles) which then collide with the atoms in our upper atmosphere producing light. Usually only visible in the extreme North or South, this footage taken from the International Space Station shows them in a whole different light.