The Next Web

Why the moon’s early magnetic field might be responsible for life on earth

The habitability of a planet depends on many factors. One is the existence of a strong and long-lived magnetic field. These fields are generated thousands of kilometers below the planet’s surface in its liquid core and extend far into space – shielding the atmosphere from harmful solar radiation. Without a strong magnetic field, a planet struggles to hang on to a breathable atmosphere – which is bad news for life as we know it. A new study, published in Science Advances, suggests that the Moon’s now extinct magnetic field may have helped protect our planet’s atmosphere as life was forming around 4 billion years ago. Today, Earth has a strong global magnetic field that protects the atmosphere and low-orbiting satellites from harsh solar radiation. In contrast, the Moon does not possess either a breathable atmosphere or a global magnetic field. Global magnetic fields are generated by the motion of molten iron in the cores of planets and moons. Keeping the fluid moving requires energy, such as heat trapped within the core. When there is insufficient energy, the field dies. Without a global magnetic field, the charged particles of the solar wind (radiation from the Sun) passing close to a planet generate electric fields that can accelerate charged atoms, known as ions, out of the atmosphere. This process is happening today on Mars and it is losing oxygen as a result – something that has been directly measured by the Mars atmosphere and volatile evolution (Maven) mission. The solar wind can…Continue readingWhy the moon’s early magnetic field might be responsible for life on earth

Cool Things

Audeze Penrose Wireless Planar Magnetic Headset

You can complain all you want about the lack of exciting launch day titles on both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. The truth is, you’re probably still going to buy one or both before the holiday season is over. While you’re at it, you may as well pick up the Penrose Wireless Planar Magnetic Headset, a new gaming headset aimed at the next console generation. Touted to deliver a “legendary tier of gaming audio,” the headset uses planar magnetic drivers, bringing the popular audiophile technology to your console gaming setup. Whether you’re prefer putting your time into single-player campaigns, competitive multiplayer shooters, or those weird sports games that bleed your credit card dry with microtransactions, this thing should elevate the audio clarity and detail in your gameplay experience. The Audeze Penrose Wireless Planar Magnetic Headset uses the outfit’s proven 100mm planar magnetic drivers, which consists of a Fluxor magnet array, Fazor waveguides, and Uniforce voice coils. According to the outfit, that magnet array brings twice the power of other neodymium-based headphones drivers, while the waveguides and voice coils reduce the distortion to indiscernible levels. If you’ve ever listened to anything using planar magnetic headphones, then you already have an idea of what to expect hear in terms of sound: something way better than what you can get with traditional headphones. It has a closed over-ear design that, basically, isolates your ear from the rest of the world, ensuring you can get deeply immersed into whatever game world you…Continue readingAudeze Penrose Wireless Planar Magnetic Headset


Astronomers Are Uncovering the Magnetic Soul of the Universe

Anytime astronomers figure out a new way of looking for magnetic fields in ever more remote regions of the cosmos, inexplicably, they find them. Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research develop­ments and trends in mathe­matics and the physical and life sciences. These force fields—the same entities that emanate from fridge magnets—surround Earth, the sun, and all galaxies. Twenty years ago, astronomers started to detect magnetism permeating entire galaxy clusters, including the space between one galaxy and the next. Invisible field lines swoop through intergalactic space like the grooves of a fingerprint. Last year, astronomers finally managed to examine a far sparser region of space—the expanse between galaxy clusters. There, they discovered the largest magnetic field yet: 10 million light-years of magnetized space spanning the entire length of this “filament” of the cosmic web. A second magnetized filament has already been spotted elsewhere in the cosmos by means of the same techniques. “We are just looking at the tip of the iceberg, probably,” said Federica Govoni of the National Institute for Astrophysics in Cagliari, Italy, who led the first detection. The question is: Where did these enormous magnetic fields come from? “It clearly cannot be related to the activity of single galaxies or single explosions or, I don’t know, winds from supernovae,” said Franco Vazza, an astrophysicist at the University of Bologna who makes state-of-the-art computer simulations of cosmic magnetic…Continue readingAstronomers Are Uncovering the Magnetic Soul of the Universe