Sun|Trek Adventures Solar Surface Hot Solar Atmosphere Magnetic Sun Flowing from the Sun
Sun Earth Connection Solar Spacecraft Earth and Beyond The Sun as a Star
  solar surface & below
Beneath the surface On the surface
Sunspots Suns magnetic field
Sunspots Energy Chain
Up Arrow
  the Sun's magnetic field
Down Arrow
  what is a magnetic field?
  what are magnetic field lines?
  the Earth's magnetic field
  what's the Sun's magnetic field like?
  the Sun's dynamo
  what does the dynamo do?

the Sun's dynamo


To understand the magnetic field of the Sun, it is useful to think about how a dynamo works. What’s a dynamo? It’s a device that turns movement into electricity.


You may be familiar with the use of a dynamo on a bicycle - the movement of the cycle is used to generate the electricity to power the lights. How does this work? When a wire is moved across a magnetic field, the electrons in the metal wire begin to move and an electric current flows through it. A small amount of kinetic energy is transferred into electrical energy.

But does the Sun’s dynamo work like that of a bike? The principle is the same, but there are no wires and certainly no one is pedalling!

The Sun's Dynamo

The link between magnetism and electricity was first discovered by Michael Faraday.


Michael FaradayAs well as being a brilliant scientist, Faraday was also a very good lecturer. He gave the first Christmas Lectures for young people at the Royal Institution.

Famous scientists still give these lectures, which can be seen on television between Christmas and New Year.



The dynamo effect is the opposite to that used in electric motors where an electric current flows through a wire in a magnetic field, which makes the wire move. Electric motors are very useful for many household objects (washing machine, hair dryer, food mixer….)

Where can you see the effects of a natural electric current? - A bold of lightening, just like the one in this photograph!



Sun|trek homepage | Sun|trek Adventures | Solar Surface & Below | Hot Solar Atmosphere | Magnetic Sun | Flowing From The Sun

Sun/Earth Connection | Solar Spacecraft | Earth & Beyond | The Sun our Star | Factary | Gallery | Hot News | Contact Us