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The Earth's Main Field dominates over the interplanetary magnetic field in the area called the magnetosphere.
The magnetosphere is shaped somewhat like a comet in response to the dynamic pressure of the solar wind.
Back to top Yes, the magnetic field is different in different places.
In fact, the magnetic field changes with both location and time.
It is compressed on the side toward the sun to about 10 Earth radii and is extended tail-like on the side away from the sun to more than 100 Earth radii.
The magnetosphere deflects the flow of most solar wind particles around the Earth, while the geomagnetic field lines guide charged particle motion within the magnetosphere.
Back to top To measure the Earth's magnetism in any place, we must measure the direction and intensity of the field.
The Earth's magnetic field is described by seven parameters.
D is considered positive when the angle measured is east of true north and negative when west.
D and I are measured in units of degrees, positive east for D and positive down for I.
The intensity of the total field (F) is described by the horizontal component (H), vertical component (Z), and the north (X) and east (Y) components of the horizontal intensity.
The differential flow of ions and electrons inside the magnetosphere and in the ionosphere form current systems, which cause variations in the intensity of the Earth's magnetic field.
These EXTERNAL currents in the ionized upper atmosphere and magnetosphere vary on a much shorter time scale than the INTERNAL Main Field and may create magnetic fields as large as 10% of the Main Field.
At the north magnetic pole, the north end of the dip needle is down; at the south magnetic pole, the north end is up.