Full Moon Electrified by Earth's Magnetic Tail

“When the moon is full, it develops a strong electric field near the surface as it swings through Earth’s magnetic tail,” according to this article by Andrew Fazekas in National Geographic.

18 Nov 10 – The Earth’s magnetic field (the magnetosphere) surrounds the planet and shields us from the charged particles in the solar wind.

The solar wind (the electric current flowing from the sun) squeezes the earth’s magnetic lines of force on the upwind side, and extends them on the down-wind side. Like a gigantic magnetic teardrop, the lines extend more than 40,000 miles into space on the daytime side of the earth (the side facing the sun) and more than 150 million miles on the nighttime side. This forms what is called the magnetotail.

Fine particles of dust on the moon's surface can actually float off the ground when they become charged by electrons in Earth's magnetotail. Credit: NASA

See larger image

“The magnetotaill reaches beyond the orbit of the moon, and is always pointed away from the sun,” says Fazekas. (See NASA illustrations of how the moon and the magnetotail interact.)

Anyone can tell when the moon is inside the magnetotail. Just look: “If the moon is full, it is inside the magnetotail,” says Tim Stubbs, a University of Maryland scientist working at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “The moon enters the magnetotail three days before it is full and takes about six days to cross and exit on the other side.”

“The origin of this electric field remains a mystery,” said study leader Yuki Harada, a graduate student at Kyoto University in Japan.

Earth's magnetic field responds to the solar wind much like an airport wind sock: It stretches out with its tail pointing downwind. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center- Conceptual Image Lab

See magnetospheric substorm animation

“We think it may be related to the properties of the plasma and magnetic field in the Earth’s magnetotail, and also the interaction between the moon and surrounding plasmas.”

See entire article:
Thanks to Piers Corbyn for this link

See article from NASA about this phenomenon:

If outside forces can create an electric field on the moon, then why couldn’t outside forces create an electric field on Earth, which would in turn create a magnetic field?

After all, you can’t have an electric field without a magnetic field. Nor can you have a magnetic field without an electric field.

Remember, electrotelluric currents are coursing through the earth at this very moment.

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