Why is Earth like a big magnet?


Quick Answer

The Earth has a huge magnetic field around it, which allows it to act like a big magnet. The Earth's magnetic field extends far into space and is known as the magnetosphere.

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Full Answer

According to Nasa, the Earth's magnetic field is as a result of the Earth's rotating molten nickel-iron core. Like a magnet, the Earth has a north pole and a south pole. However, the position of these switches every 250,000 years. Even though it may not be immediately apparent, the Earth's magnetic field affects daily life in various ways. Interference from the magnetic field may cause disturbances in radio signals. It is also what powers compasses. Some birds and animals use the Earth's magnetic field as migratory guides.

The magnetosphere is vital to life. It helps to act as a shield to the solar winds; deflecting over 98 percent of the flares, cosmic particles and radiation from the Sun. This is important because if the magnetosphere was suddenly switched of, it would leave the Earth exposed to cosmic rays, which would likely lead to mutations among other things. Without the magnetosphere, the Earth would be increased danger of losing its atmosphere, which is what many scientists believe happened to the planet Mars.

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