Magnetic Fields and Highly Condensed Objects


IT has become conventional in astrophysics to accept the widespread presence of magnetic fields, but not to worry much about their origin. Because of the very long time scales for ohmic decay in most objects it is usual to ascribe the present magnetic field to a field that existed at earlier epochs. By repetition of this process one can trace the fields back to the beginning of a big-bang universe—for example, one attributes the magnetic fields of stars to that which existed in the gas cloud from which the stars condensed, the fields in such clouds to the galaxy containing them, the field of the galaxy to the universe, and the latter to the first moment of time. Then one need no longer trouble oneself with the problem, which is convenient because the problem is otherwise awkward: a voltage 1014 V would have to be applied across the galaxy for 1010 yr in order to build a galactic field of 10−5 G.

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HOYLE, F. Magnetic Fields and Highly Condensed Objects. Nature 223, 936 (1969).

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