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Name:  Van D.
Status:  other
Age:  30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
Given the earth has a North and a South pole but the system is more complex than a bar magnet. Can any parallel be drawn to one pole being largly positive in charge and the other negative? Are there any overall, magnetic "attract or repel" principles at work? What would happen if we (theorically) split the earth and put the two ends together?


Replies:
Magnetism, unlike electricity, does not have individual positive and negative charges. When charges move in a circular path, like electrons orbiting an atom, they produce a magnetic field with a pattern like that of the earth or a bar magnet. The field passes up through the orbit and down around the outside of the orbit. The end is North and one end is South. Most physics books have an excellent picture of poles as they relate to the magnetic field.

When two magnets are brought together, opposite poles are attracted. A larger magnet can be pictured as many smaller magnets lined up end-to-end. All North poles point in one direction. All Souths point in the opposite direction. If we split the earth in two and join the ends, the earth will still have its magnetic field. It will still be many smaller magnets lined uo end-to-end.

Kenneth Mellendorf



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