magnetic field

17 Stories

Scientists Can Now Control Mouse Minds With Magnets

And that could have huge implications for humans

(Newser) - Scientists at the University of Virginia were able to control the brains of living mice using magnetic fields, essentially harnessing the power of mind control, according to a study published this week in Nature Neuroscience. Researchers created a synthetic gene—dubbed Magneto, obviously—that is sensitive to magnetic fields and... More »

Eureka! Navigation Clue Found in a Worm's Brain

Scientists discover first-ever magnetic sensor in an animal

(Newser) - A tiny find in a worm-sized brain could give scientists a far greater understanding of how animals use the Earth's magnetic field, reports. In a lab at the University of Austin in Texas, certain hungry worms were found to move down in gelatin-filled tubes, perhaps in their... More »

Our Magnetic Poles Could Swap Sooner Than We Thought

But it's nothing to worry about, experts say

(Newser) - Earth's magnetic field is weakening at 10 times the rate experts thought it was—and that could mean a reversal of the magnetic north and south poles could be coming sooner than expected. But don't panic just yet: Scientists are talking in terms of some 2,000 years,... More »

Dogs Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Poop

When off a leash, they align themselves accordingly

(Newser) - Early contender for line of the year in a genuine scientific study: "Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the north-south axis under calm MF conditions." MF, in this case, referring to the Earth's magnetic field. That's right: When dogs poop, they position... More »

Sun Ready to Flip Its Magnetic Fields

It's part of a regular 11-year cycle

(Newser) - Sun feel a little off to you these days? Congratulations on being finely attuned to the inner workings of the solar system. The sun is in the process of reversing its magnetic fields, and the full process should be complete before the year is out, reports . It may... More »

Pigeons Have Their Own GPS

Study shows how they navigate using Earth's magnetic field

(Newser) - It's no wonder pigeons are renowned for their sense of direction: Their brains function like biological GPS units, say two researchers. As Nature explains, scientists already knew that pigeons used the Earth's magnetic field to get around, but the new study shows for the first time how specific... More »

Ancient Asteroid May Explain Moon's Magnetic Mystery

Collision resulted in magnetized rock, say scientists

(Newser) - One of the moon's oddest anomalies is how parts of its crust have a magnetic field and others don't. But now scientists say they have a relatively simple theory for this inconsistency—a 120-mile-wide asteroid that smashed into the moon's south pole 4.5 billion years ago... More »

Solar Storm No Biggie, but Brace Yourself...

...because more are expected as sun nears peak of 11-year cycle

(Newser) - Turns out space weather forecasts can be as unreliable as terrestrial ones. The solar storm that hit us yesterday was much weaker than expected, and the world's power grids, satellites, and telecommunication systems did not experience problems. "I think we just lucked out," the director of Boston... More »

Solar Storm 'Hitting Us in Nose'

Storm slammed into Earth this morning, could cause disruptions

(Newser) - While most of us were busily counting sheep or howling at the nearly-full moon last night, plasma and charged particles produced by Tuesday night's massive solar flares were hurtling toward the planet at 4 million mph, reports . This material, the largest coronal mass ejection (CME) in five... More »

Human Eye May Have Magnetic '6th Sense'

Light-sensitive human protein acts as 'compass' when present in flies

(Newser) - The human eye may be an even more amazing thing than we realize, capable of acting as a compass by sensing the Earth's magnetic field, new research suggests. Cryptochrome, a protein believed to give animals like migratory birds and sea turtles their ability to navigate, is present in the... More »

Real 'Thinking Cap' May Not Be So Far Off

Magnetic pulse boosts learning, study shows; headgear next?

(Newser) - A magnetic pulse directed at a certain area of the brain may enhance learning and memory, the Telegraph reports. Canadian researchers subjected volunteers to a test that required they track a dot moving on a computer screen with a joystick, and volunteers who received stimulation fared much better. More »

Huge Holes Found in Earth's Magnetic Shield

The Earth is in for a wild geomagnetic ride

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered two large and unexpected holes in the magnetic field that protects the Earth from solar winds, reports The leaks won't pose any risk to health, but increased disruption to satellites and electrical systems can be expected when the cycle of solar storms reaches its next... More »

You Heard? Headphones, Pacemakers Don't Jibe

Headsets may interfere with heart devices

(Newser) - Headphones used with digital music players may interfere with pacemakers and internal defibrillators, scientists discovered in research contradicting reports from the US government. “Exposure of a defibrillator to the headphones can temporarily deactivate the defibrillator,” the lead researcher said. Draping the headphones over the chest caused hindrance in... More »

Mercury Is Shrinking

Messenger spacecraft reveals planets core still molten

(Newser) - The planet Mercury is shrinking, the LA Times reports. Data from NASA’s Mercury Messenger spacecraft reveal that the planet’s diameter has shrunk by a mile over its history, probably because its core is cooling. Messenger flew in for a close-up in January, and scientists are now piecing together... More »

'Magnet Molecule' May Guide Bird Migration

Inner compass guides journeys, researchers believe

(Newser) - Migrating birds may rely on a special molecule discovered in their eyes that allows them to  perceive the Earth’s magnetic field lines as a kind of road map, new research shows. The molecule may help birds navigate much the same way humans follow lines to stay on a highway... More »

Solar Lull May Trigger Ice Age

Global warming still dire despite sluggish sun, study says

(Newser) - Solar activity, which usually runs in 11-year cycles, has been so sluggish of late that space weathermen are worried we might be entering a mini-ice age. They expected to see sunspot activity pick up about last March, to peak in 2012; if the sun stays this sluggish for another year... More »

Über-Precise Atomic Clocks Are Half-Past a Revolution

Smaller, cheaper, and mysterious

(Newser) - Forget the Swiss—the world's best clocks sit in a Colorado lab where a team of scientists is shaping them into über-precise gadgets with broad-reaching implications on medicine, navigation, and surveillance. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has built a clock the size of a grain of rice... More »

17 Stories