How Earth's magnetic field saved the planet from being fried billions of years ago

Contributed by
Mar 18, 2016

If not for our planet’s fairly unique magnetic fields, the planet would’ve likely been deep-fried billions of years ago — meaning no life on earth for us.

Space reports that a new Harvard study focused on the young, sunlike star Kappa Ceti has revealed just how volatile a star can be in its early formation. The star, which is very similar to our own sun, is also very young at just 400-600 million years old. Researchers have been watching the star to determine the effect it has on the immediate area, and learned it is causing massive solar flares millions of times stronger than the most powerful solar flares we’ve ever recorded here.

Basically, following the theory that our sun grew up in the same way, the study posits that our sun did pretty much the same thing billions of years ago — blasting the closest planets with damaging, deadly solar radiation. So what kept Earth from getting blasted? Our planet’s strong magnetic field, which deflected enough of the solar radiation to still keep our planet a viable place for life to develop. Without it, Earth would almost certainly never have evolved to feature humans. Or, you know, we’d have evolved as fire people (or something).

So, how could Earth have turned out had it not had its magnetic field? We’d be not-living on a planet much like the barren rock Mars, which lost (or never had) a strong magnetic field billions of years ago.

So pour one out for the magnetic field — and be glad our sun has finally grown up.

(Via Space)