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  what is a magnetic field?
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what is a magnetic field?


Put simply, a magnetic field is the region around a magnetised object where a magnetic force can be felt. Think of it as the football pitch around two sets of goal posts. The goals are the north and south poles and the pitch is the area, or field, around those poles.

Football Pitch   Reminder

Why are magnetic fields so important on the Sun?


Magnets will attract any other magnetic material, but they will also affect anything with an electrical charge. Since most of the material in the Sun is ionised, the movement of material in and around the Sun is controlled by magnetic fields. That's why pictures of material in the Sun's atmosphere look so similar to our diagrams of a magnetic field.


Here is a spectacular movie from the satellite TRACE, which sees the ultraviolet light from the hot ionised gas in the solar atmosphere. Can you see how big the Earth is in comparison to the Sun?

Image of the Sun
You can see more movies in our Gallery
[Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]



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