What Three Planets in the Solar System Have the Strongest Magnetic Fields?
A planet’s magnetic field forms a sort of shield that repels particles and energy away from the planet, protecting the surface. Not all planets have a magnetic field, and those that do can have fields of varying strength, determined by currents and the magnetic materials available.
Jupiter has the strongest magnetic field of any planet in the solar system. Its core — believed to be comprised of liquid metallic hydrogen that conducts the necessary electrical current — along with the magnetic particles Jupiter contains, creates a magnetic field. The strength of the planet’s magnetic field causes the particles trapped within the field to produce radio waves, which its many moons help amplify into space.
A planet’s magnetic field doesn’t have to align with its axis, but it generally does. Saturn’s deviates from its axis by only 1 degree. Its polarity is opposite that of Earth, meaning that if someone held a compass on Saturn, the arrow would point south instead of north. Its magnetic field is almost 600 times that of Earth’s magnetic field, and its center — made of liquid hydrogen that moves quickly around a rocky core — conducts the electricity needed for a magnetic field.
One of the ways Uranus differs from most of the other planets in the solar system is that its poles are on its sides, resulting in no changing of days and nights on the planet. Because of this, the magnetic field surrounding Uranus closely aligns with its equator, instead of its poles. This results in a wobbly movement in the field. It has also taken an odd shape, complete with a long tail that turns along with the planet.
Earth’s magnetic field has change several times in the past, which can result in a reversal of Earth’s poles, with the North pole switching to the Southern Hemisphere, and the South pole switching to the Northern Hemisphere.
Such a change would cause Earth’s magnetic field to weaken substantially, allowing cosmic rays to reach Earth’s surface and possibly cause mutations. This has not been a problem in past field fluctuations, but it is possible.