The Real Reason Earth Is Considered A Giant Magnet

Do you ever feel drawn to facts about planet Earth by some seemingly invisible force? As it turns out, that's probably because Earth itself is a massive magnet hanging around the solar system like a child's artwork dangling from a fridge (via USGS). This might sound hard to believe, but every day, you get up and walk around on a giant magnet that is both spinning and rotating and, to top it all off, creating an electrical current.

If you think the world as a magnet is weird, you need only imagine it without this magnetism and see how freaky that might be. After all, this magnetic field is the force that powers our compasses and tells us which direction to go (via Live Science). Instinctively, animals also use it for the purpose of navigation (via Business Insider). To that end, if the world were not a giant magnet, everyone and everything on it would effectively be wandering around lost.

Earth is considered a giant magnet because it generates its own magnetic field

According to How It Works, the inner core of our planet is composed of solid iron, which is then surrounded by liquid iron, rendering it a giant magnet. Much like the magnets on your refrigerator, the temperature of this iron plays a vital role in generating the electrical current that permits Earth to exert a magnetic field (via USGS).

In turn, that magnetic field's power is harnessed to operate tiny magnets all over the world. We know those tiny magnets as the compasses that guide our way. On a larger scale, you might envision this magnetosphere piercing through space, tens of thousands of kilometers away from our planet. Here, it serves to protect us from things like charged particles in solar winds and ultraviolet radiation (via Geophysics Center, National Earth System Science Center).

Given the importance of Earth's magnetism, you're likely breathing a sigh of relief to learn that you are living on a giant spinning magnet as it is circling through space. Alas, at a scorching 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, our planet's core is too hot to remain permanently magnetized, meaning this feature is temporary and could fade out at any time.