The Sun provides us with a lot of things, most significantly life. However, without one of the special properties of our planet, it would quickly destroy us. This is because the Sun emits “solar wind.” Of course, there’s no atmosphere in space, rather, this term defines charged particles moving at supersonic speeds out of the Sun towards Earth. So, how does Earth protect us from this onslaught?
Well, it actually has a dipole magnetic field surrounding it. This means it acts like a double sided magnet with a North and South pole. This field only provides 25-65 uT, but because most solar wind is comprised of beta or alpha particles and neutrons, it’s more than enough to keep us safe. How is it made? Well, the most common theory is the Dynamo Theory. This belief states that celestial bodies emit magnetic fields due to convection currents in the core of the object, spinning electrically conductive fluids in the mantle for long periods of time. Scientists have even linked plate tectonic movements to the reversing of Earth’s magnetic field, which happens every several 100,000 years or so. These poles similarly account for the usability of compasses.
The magnetosphere - where the field does its work - exists for several kilometers outside the atmosphere, and protects it as well from harmful particles. Thank God too! Our ozone can’t take much more!