posted on Jan, 3 2011 @ 11:24 AM
The Interplanetary Magnetic Field is pointing South at the moment. An explanation of what that means for earth from Spaceweather.com:
If the IMF points south -- a condition scientists call "southward Bz" -- then the IMF can partially cancel Earth's magnetic field at the point of
Above: Earth's magnetosphere. From the Oulu Space Physics Textbook.
"When Bz is south, that is, opposite Earth's magnetic field, the two fields link up," explains Christopher Russell, a Professor of Geophysics and
Space Physics at UCLA. "You can then follow a field line from Earth directly into the solar wind" -- or from the solar wind to Earth. South-pointing
Bz's open a door through which energy from the solar wind can reach Earth's atmosphere!
Southward Bz's often herald widespread auroras, triggered by solar wind gusts or coronal mass ejections that are able to inject energy into our
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 5.8 nT
Bz: 4.2 nT south
or see a graphical representation of it here:
The line of green and red graphs that says "Bz" (currently all red)