# Thread: Is there a difference between the distance of magnets...

1. Hello venerable scientists and science enthusiasts of theScienceForum,
I have been pondering the nature of matter and the mechanism for its motion through space for a while now and realized I require a lab or very expensive, industry-grade equipment to test some of my hypotheses and that is why I come here in case any graduate/phd students happen to come across this post.

I would like to know if anyone has measured on nano-meter scales the distance between 2 flat, cylindrical magnets (with holes in the middle so a plastic rod may hold them in position, suspended in air) positioned to repel each other vertically and horizontally. I am just curious to see if gravity has any discernible effect on the em force and not simply 'get cancelled out' by the much stronger em force.
If positioned vertically, there will be a downward gravitational force applied to the system and if horizontal, there should be no gravitational force interrupting the system (unless you consider the slight curve of the equipotential surface of the gravity potential due to the curvature of the earth.

I know mathematically the em force vector should cancel out the weak gravity force vector however I would like to check this experimentally with modern laser-precise measurement tools.

Thank you!

2.

3. Assuming a relatively frictionless surface (or completely frictionless) you will immediately notice the role that gravity plays when comparing a vertical arrangement to a horizontal arrangement like you have described.

4. Ah, thank you for the video link, it's made me remember that superconductors can be suspended anywhere in a magnetic field and I will have to rethink my hypothesis, but I'd like to rephrase my first post because I forgot to mention that the arrangement I'm trying to describe is with magnets emitting normal magnetic waves without superconducting material introduced and they are repelling each other just enough to not be repelled back further (the magnets are at the edge of the other's magnetic field).
To try and illustrate, they would look something like:
|| and

and because gravity warps space and is not just a force, I'd like to see if is closer together than ||.
I must research quantum levitation first, however, as there are ways to bend and distort a magnetic field and so thinking of warping space on top of warping fields is a matter of a whole other dimension ;] no puns intended.
Thank you!

5. What makes you think that magnetic fields terminate at some point?

See: Plane of planetary rings, moon orbits, solar systems, galaxies with large central bodies (black holes).

6. Well even if they don't they wouldn't be measurable past a certain point so it doesn't matter. What makes you think they don't terminate? Max Planck discovered that energy is quantized and have limits therefore it is natural to assume and be confident that fields are limited as well. But I put forth the original question to try and understand this zero-point field interaction and appreciate your help and the community's help. Let us discover the truth together and accelerate our knowledge of reality for all mankind

7. I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The part that confuses me is
have limits therefore it is natural to assume and be confident that fields are limited as well
Can you explain that in more depth?

8. Originally Posted by IndecentRed
What makes you think they don't terminate?
Maxwell's equations tell us that electromagnetic fields extend asymptotically into infinity - they never terminate. You are right though that at some point their field intensity/flux becomes too small to be measured, so beyond a certain point the presence of the field can be neglected.

9. What accounts for the planes on which objects tend to settle into orbit, if not magnetic fields?

10. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
What accounts for the planes on which objects tend to settle into orbit, if not magnetic fields?
Gravity.

11. Why would gravity cause objects to orbit along specific planes, that are perpendicular to the magnetic poles of the object that they orbit around?

12. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Why would gravity cause objects to orbit along specific planes, that are perpendicular to the magnetic poles of the object that they orbit around?
Where did you get that idea ? The magnetic poles are not in general perpendicular to the orbital plane, except perhaps by sheer coincidence in some cases.

13. Like planets, solar systems, and galaxies?

14. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Like planets, solar systems, and galaxies?
Any body at all. For example, the magnetic poles on Earth are not perpendicular to its orbital plane. Or consider Uranus - its axis of rotation is offset by over 97 degrees from its orbital plane, and the magnetic poles are also offset by a large amount.

So no, this is not a general rule at all.

15. I don't think you understood me, sorry. The moon is more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the earth, the rings of jupiter, saturn, uranus, and neptune are all more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to their poles. All of the planets are more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the sun, a galaxy's intersterllar disc is more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the black hole. This can't be coincidence.

16. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
I don't think you understood me, sorry. The moon is more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the earth, the rings of jupiter, saturn, uranus, and neptune are all more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to their poles. All of the planets are more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the sun, a galaxy's intersterllar disc is more or less on a plane of orbit perpendicular to the poles of the black hole. This can't be coincidence.
Sorry now, but I don't understand how that is in any way connected to magnetism...? Is that not what we are talking about ?

17. I'm not saying it necessarily is connected to magnetism. I mean, it's observational evidence, but it's not exactly a rigorous proof. But the effect is undisputably real. So I'm just wondering what else could possibly have that effect?

18. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
I'm not saying it necessarily is connected to magnetism. I mean, it's observational evidence, but it's not exactly a rigorous proof. But the effect is undisputably real. So I'm just wondering what else could possibly have that effect?
Just think of spinning things. Our solar system is believed to have formed from a spinning dust cloud. The effects of angular momentum combined with gravitational effects of dust cloud consolidation accounts for the coplanar arrangements of planets with the sun of our solar system. The conservation of angular momentum keeps things spinning.

A planets magnetic field however is believed to be attributed to convection currents associated with a liquid core. For example the earths magnetic field is theorised to be generated by the motion of convection currents in the outer liquid core. The convection currents are not simply associated with the earths spinning (coriolis effect) but also due to hot liquids rising and cold liquids descending. As a result, they may generally align perpendicularly to the planets orbital spin but can vary significantly around this alignment as does the earth's. :-))

EDIT: But remember while isolated systems tend towards equilibrium, the solar system is not an isolated system. Erratic orbits can be attributed to gravitational disturbances which disrupt temporarily equilibrium states. As Markus points out Jupiter's moons are considerably outside what would be regarded as an equilibrium state. Jupiter of course has a massive gravitational attraction and it is not hard to imagine that it's moon's would frequently be victim to disturbances such as asteroid impacts and comet collisions etc. to disrupt the trend towards an equilibrium state of an isolated system.

19. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
I'm not saying it necessarily is connected to magnetism. I mean, it's observational evidence, but it's not exactly a rigorous proof. But the effect is undisputably real. So I'm just wondering what else could possibly have that effect?
I am still not sure what you mean - all orbits being perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the central body is quite simply not true. Consider for example the orbits of the Jovian moons :

File:Jupiter moons anim.gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As you can see they are not in the same plane, and not in any sense perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

20. Citing an edge case isn't really a disproof. Those moons could have come from anywhere along any trajectory initially. They look like they are all in the process of settling into a perpendicular orbit to me. It's not like an object that comes in at an angle that makes it orbit in such a way as to be passing over the north pole and then the south pole should suddenly snap into a perfectly perpendicular orbit. I'm pointing out the blatantly obvious fact that all orbiting objects have a tendency to settle toward an equilibirum which is perpendicular to the magnetic poles. Trying to refute that obvious effect is like saying that ice doesn't melt into water at room temperature because you have a piece of ice in your hand that isn't liquid yet.

21. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
So I'm just wondering what else could possibly have that effect?
Conservation of angular momentum.

22. Originally Posted by Implicate Order
Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
I'm not saying it necessarily is connected to magnetism. I mean, it's observational evidence, but it's not exactly a rigorous proof. But the effect is undisputably real. So I'm just wondering what else could possibly have that effect?
Just think of spinning things. Our solar system is believed to have formed from a spinning dust cloud. The effects of angular momentum combined with gravitational effects of dust cloud consolidation accounts for the coplanar arrangements of planets with with sun of our solar system. The conservation of angular momentum keeps things spinning.

A planets magnetic field however is believed to be attributed to convection currents associated with a liquid core. For example the earths magnetic field is theorised to be generated by the motion of convection currents in the outer liquid core. The convection currents are not simply associated with the earths spinning (coriolis effect) but also due to hot liquids rising and cold liquids descending. As a result, they may generally align perpendicularly to the planets orbital spin but can vary significantly around this alignment as does the earth's. :-))

This is a lot to consider and very interesting. Can it explain just how near perfectly the rings of saturn or similar rings are aligned... or galactic discs, or the relative flatness of the plane of orbit the planets around the sun inhabit? I mean... it's pretty strange. Why not a more eccentric set of orbits, like we see with jupiter, or even more pronounced than that? Why do all galaxies with black holes have such flat discs? Not a single galaxy that has a disc that orbits around the poles...?

23. Can you show me why, Strange? I get angular momentum. Why does it all start spinning that way to begin with? Why does it flatten out? Why does it flatten out on that perpendicular plane? This question is going to be really left field: Is there any evidence that a majority of orbits follow the right hand rule, or that orbits counter to that show any evidence of a force slowing their orbit (as though the magnetic field is trying to push them to orbit in the other direction)?

24. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
This is a lot to consider and very interesting. Can it explain just how near perfectly the rings of saturn or similar rings are aligned... or galactic discs, or the relative flatness of the plane of orbit the planets around the sun inhabit? I mean... it's pretty strange. Why not a more eccentric set of orbits, like we see with jupiter, or even more pronounced than that? Why do all galaxies with black holes have such flat discs? Not a single galaxy that has a disc that orbits around the poles...?
Sorry Ninja. I was in the process of editing my comment and have added a small section that may help clear up some of your thoughts. It relates to the fact that isolated systems trend towards an equilibrium state but given that the solar system is not isolated, disruptions to this trend frequently occur. :-))

25. I suppose if gravity is pulling toward, and the mass of dust is spinning, it would tend "bulge" in the middle, and the build up of effects could cause these orbits. Hrmmm. Could a magnetic field still have some sort of assisting force in all that? Hmmmm. Or does angular momentum pretty much account for all of it? Do magnetic fields even have an effect like that with an orbiting object?

26. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
I'm pointing out the blatantly obvious fact that all orbiting objects have a tendency to settle toward an equilibirum which is perpendicular to the magnetic poles.
That isn't blatantly obvious. Many planets don't have significant magnetic fields. Of those that do, not all are aligned with the axis of rotation. Of those that are, that may be only temporary.

I think you need to provide some data to support this "obvious" fact. After all, science is all about objectively investigating the "obvious" and frequently finding that is is wrong. Common sense is a really lousy guide to how the universe works.

Any claim supported by "logic", "common sense" or "obvious" can usually be dismissed as worthless (it may be right but then again it might not).

27. The whole though occurred to me while looking at magnetic field lines, and it seemed like if there was an equilibrium point in those field lines, it was perpendicular to the poles. The angular momentum does make perfect sense.

28. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Could a magnetic field still have some sort of assisting force in all that?
Possibly, in really extreme situations like black holes and neutron stars. But in general the magnetic fields are far too weak. You can't even feel the magnetic field of the Earth right here on the surface (it can just about move a really light piece of metal on ow-friction bearings). The Sun's magnetic field is even weaker.

29. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Can you show me why, Strange? I get angular momentum. Why does it all start spinning that way to begin with? Why does it flatten out? Why does it flatten out on that perpendicular plane? This question is going to be really left field: Is there any evidence that a majority of orbits follow the right hand rule, or that orbits counter to that show any evidence of a force slowing their orbit (as though the magnetic field is trying to push them to orbit in the other direction)?
Imagine a dust cloud in a vacuum where isolated particles of varying size are moving fairly chaotically. While they are generally chaotic there may be a slight net spinning movement of this entire assemblage. As gravitation takes effect and consolidates this dust cloud, the spinning and reduced area increase the effect of the net movement to create an increasing bias with increasing rotation. All the time the total angular momentum of the assemblage is conserved. Often an analogy is used with a spinning ice skater whose arms are initially outstretched but as the arms are brought close to the body the spin acceleration increases. The same analogy can be used to understand why the dust cloud's spin under gravity intensifies whilst angular momentum is conserved.

Now imagine that that mass of dust is gravitationally bound like a plado ball of stuff. As the spin intensifies the plado ball extends in a directional perpendicular to its spin. Lots' of analogies here but I hope it helps. Now that we have an elongation to the dust cloud and a centralised mass beginning to consolidate, we must note that the dust cloud is not strictly isomorphous. Some aggregates in the dust cloud will *have more mass* than others. These aggregates will tend to have local gravitational effects to defeat the total collapse of the dust cloud towards the central region. Once these aggregates further congolmerate you could imagine how the sun and the planets arise from this relationship.

There would be some great astrophysics types on this forum that would have a better job explaining this stuff to you. Anyway, hope this helps. :-))

30. That 's a good point, not all magnetic poles are aligned with the axis of rotation. I thought that those were sort of transitional though, and that they always settle back in to that. Statstically though, aren't the majority aligned? And aren't the majority of orbits perpendicular to the rotational axis and magnetic poles? If that is the case, and I am pretty sure it is, that makes any example to the contrary an edge case. Angular momentum definitely has a stronger bid here, I sort of forgot it while staring at, and pondering magnetic field lines.

31. That was an excellent explanation, Implicate, and I navigated myself onto the same page. I feel silly for having ignored that in my ponderings.

32. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
That was an excellent explanation, Implicate, and I navigated myself onto the same page. I feel silly for having ignored that in my ponderings.
No probs Ninja. BTW you are in excellent hands with Strange and Markus and many others on this forum. :-))

33. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Statstically though, aren't the majority aligned? And aren't the majority of orbits perpendicular to the rotational axis and magnetic poles? If that is the case, and I am pretty sure it is, that makes any example to the contrary an edge case.
why would you be pretty sure when you have no evidence?

34. Hello everyone, sorry for being away for a bit, I was off being confounded by my own question and now have even more than what I started off with! That's usually how it goes when asking the right questions eh? at least I know I'm on the right track then. :]
Glad to see my original post sparked some interest though!

To Ninja, not all celestial bodies orbit the sun on the same plane
http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net...olarsystem.jpg from Orbit of Plutoand the moon doesn't have one plane of orbit
http://www.physics.unlv.edu/~jeffery..._orbit_002.png
The orbits of bodies in general seem to be on the same plane because the equators of the larger masses are where the mass is greatest on those bodies.
An example: jupiter's rings rotate around jupiter's equator because over millions of years those rocks were attracted to the center of mass along their orbits around Jupiter.
Think 2 dimensionally and from a side-view of Jupiter.

\  . '
'| ' , -
/ . ' .

\ - -
'| -,-, -
/ - -

\ . ,
'| ----- The rocks are attracted to the protruding equator of Jupiter
/ ' '

(Edited to better format my illustrations!)

Also, the planets and sun exert their own pull on each other on their orbital plane, slightly forcing each others' equators to protrude (warning though! we have sort of a chicken-and-egg problem here. What 'pulled' first, the planets or their equators? There must be one or two astronomers peeking in to this thread for the answer!)

Back to the original topic though, now on top of a laser and a set of high grade neodymium magnets, I think I'll need a particle accelerator to add to my wishlist of equipment to my imaginary lab for my thought-experiment! To measure a magnetic field you observe the emf it induces on an electric field/current (coils! round, and round we go, where we'll stop, magnets will know!), meaning it moves electrons. If the magnetic field is too weak at some point (immeasurable) then it will be observable by the stationary electron courteously doing the measurement for us (thank you volunteer-electron! your efforts and patience will be duly noted in our textbooks and you will be loved and renowned by all future physics students :] ). Much to think about, much to mull over. I thank you for your responses but I will likely not respond as I come up with a new hypothesis integrating superconductors! to my previous one (credit to Velexia). I bid the community adieu and leave you with this homage to science and a great melody to boot! Symphony of Science - the Quantum World! - YouTube Good morning

35. Originally Posted by Strange
Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Statstically though, aren't the majority aligned? And aren't the majority of orbits perpendicular to the rotational axis and magnetic poles? If that is the case, and I am pretty sure it is, that makes any example to the contrary an edge case.
why would you be pretty sure when you have no evidence?
How is our entire solar system, our moon, all of the large planetary rings, and every galaxy with a black hole no evidence?

36. As pointed out that has precisely nothing to do with magnetic fields, it's due to gravity and angular momentum, therefore it is not evidence for your claim.

37. Originally Posted by IndecentRed
To Ninja, not all celestial bodies orbit the sun on the same plane
http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net...olarsystem.jpg from Orbit of Plutoand the moon doesn't have one plane of orbit
http://www.physics.unlv.edu/~jeffery..._orbit_002.png
Those are pretty damned close. Reality is complex, so there are bound to be variations.

38. Originally Posted by PhDemon
As pointed out that has precisely nothing to do with magnetic fields, it's due to gravity and angular momentum, therefore it is not evidence for your claim.
Sorry, what was my claim?

39. Maybe I misunderstood you but I though you were claiming that magnetic fields were somehow responsible for alignment of orbital planes.

Statstically though, aren't the majority aligned? And aren't the majority of orbits perpendicular to the rotational axis and magnetic poles? If that is the case, and I am pretty sure it is, that makes any example to the contrary an edge case

40. I was pondering it, but the case was made for angular momentum, and that seems to not only be a stronger effect that any hypothetical effect a magnetic field could have, but also there is the fact that not everything has a magnetic field (or at least relatively strong one). My only real claim is that there is a strong tendency for things to settle into a perpendicular orbit to the rotational axis, and I may have been a bit confused in assuming that of the things that have magnetic fields, they tend to line up more or less with that axis (except when disturbed for some reason or another).

::shrug::

41. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
How is our entire solar system, our moon, all of the large planetary rings, and every galaxy with a black hole no evidence?
Evidence of what? The magnetic fields being aligned with the axis of rotation? Please provide a numerical breakdown of the number of planets with magnetic fields, and their orientation. (I am not saying you are wrong - I have no idea - but you appear to be claiming certainty, and dismissing contradictory evidence, with no real basis.)

But, as the most likely reason for a magnetic field is dynamo-like effects, it wouldn't be surprising if they were generally aligned. SO I rather confused about what you are claiming....

Galaxies are very different. They have complex magnetic fields (because they are mainly plasma) and that may have an effect on their formation (because they are mainly plasma).
[1302.5663] Magnetic fields in galaxies

42. Let's just assume I am mostly confused, heh heh. That's an interesting read in that link by the way =) Thanks.

Check THIS out: http://vimeo.com/27247345

43. Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes
Let's just assume I am mostly confused, heh heh. That's an interesting read in that link by the way =) Thanks.
More background here: Magnetic Fields in Spiral Galaxies – Explained at Last?

44. i noticed these measurements could be made by observations made on stars: the Electron degeneracy pressure measured on a collapsing star should be able to provide me the measurements I seek

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