Nasa Logo


+ Home
Solar Physics
       + Solar Cycle Prediction         + Magnetograph       + The Sun in Time       + The Hinode Mission      + The STEREO Mission

Slide Show page 7 for
The Sun in Time

sun_in_time_ssm.jpg (10439 bytes)

We study the Sun's magnetic field with an instrument called a vector magnetograph.  To understand what a vector magnetograph measures, we must first understand what a vector is.  A vector is simply a quantity which has magnitude and direction.  For instance, someone who says she has traveled at 55 mph (the magnitude) toward the northeast (the direction) has expressed a vector quantity.  

So,  to have all the information about a magnetic field, we need to know how big it is (its magnitude) and in what direction it's pointing.  The figure below shows iron filings distributed about a dipole (two poles) magnet.  The iron filings trace out the field of the magnet and demonstrate how magnetic field has a direction. 

fil_vec.jpg (37823 bytes)                                                               

Press Here for the Next Page

Press Here for the Previous Page

To return to Slide Show Index, click here.

To return to the Sun in Time home page, click here.