Monopole ’83 pp 125-136 | Cite as

Galactic Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Monopoles

  • Eugene N. Parker
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSB, volume 111)


Magnetic fields are associated with astronomical objects, from planets and stars to galaxies and clusters of galaxies. In contrast to magnetic fields, strong electric fields are absent throughout most of space. The free electrons reduce electric fields essentially to zero in the frame of reference of the local matter. Exceptions are cold planetary atmospheres and the thin isolated shear planes produced by the dynamical nonequilibrium of strained magnetic fields. The general absence of free electrons in the terrestrial atmosphere is attested by such phenomena as lightning and the free motion of the air across the geo-magnetic field. The occasional shear planes in planetary and stellar magnetic fields induce such high electric current densities as to accelerate the local electrons to large velocities, producing the aurora, the stellar flare, and the X-ray corona. Apart from these fascinating exceptions, however, electrical potential differences are limited to the thermal energy of the local electrons.


Magnetic Monopole Gaseous Disk Galactic Magnetic Field Dynamo Effect Monopole Mass 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene N. Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics Enrico Fermi InstituteUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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