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Name: Mick
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Country: Australia
Date: Winter 2012-2013


Question:
I had a look in the archives and could not find any immediate answers. I was wondering the so called approximate average voltage just outside our atmosphere in space? I understand it will spike when gamma rays are emitted from our sun and other galaxies. Also what would the voltage charge be? I understand it is a microwave of space but free electrons? Protons? I would presume they would bond to create a stable neutron? Does a north and or a south pole of a magnet attract these particles?

Replies:
Hi Mick,

Thanks for the good question. I do not know what the voltage is in the outer atmosphere--I would need to do some research and look it up. However, if you are daring, you can make a ballpark estimate.

I would expect the charged particles to be protons, electrons, and some charged gases such as He+ and H2+. (Some of the charged gases give rise to aurora borealis and its southern counterpart.)

No, protons and electrons would not combine to form a neutron, but would form a hydrogen atom. If a neutron was formed, it would decay to a proton and electron within about 10 minutes or so.

Magnets (and magnetic fields) do not typically attract charged particles, but instead deflect them. This deflection gives rise to the van Allen radiation belts surrounding Earth.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks Jeff Grell


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