What is the origin of the magnetic fields we observe in the universe? Dr. D. Russell Humphreys, research physicist at ICR, has developed an explanation for the magnetic fields of earth, other planets in the solar system, stars, galaxies, and even the cosmos itself. On the basis of Scriptures that imply that the original created material of earth was water, Dr. Humphreys proposed a number of years ago that when God created the water, the spins of its hydrogen nuclei were at first aligned in one direction. That would produce an initially strong magnetic field for each object in the cosmos. With time, the energy and intensity of these fields decreased due to random motions and cosmic events.
The major source of magnetic fields in most materials is atomic electrons, whose rapid spins produce strong fields. However, the 10 electrons in a water molecule group themselves into pairs, with opposite spins in each pair. That cancels out any large-scale effect of their magnetic fields. But protons and neutrons generate tiny magnetic fields of their own, about a thousand times smaller than the magnetic fields of electrons. Just as in the case of the electrons, the 8 protons in an oxygen nucleus group themselves into pairs with opposite spins in each pair. The 8 neutrons do likewise. So an oxygen nucleus makes no contribution to large-scale magnetic fields. But the single protons of the hydrogen atoms in a molecule of water are far away from each other, so they interact only weakly.
Normally, the spins of the hydrogen nuclei throughout the water point in random directions and cancel out their overall magnetic field. But what if God created the hydrogen nuclei with all their spins pointing in the same direction? In that case, the tiny magnetic fields of the hydrogen nuclei would come into existence instantaneously along with the water as God created it, adding up to a large overall magnetic field for each concentration of mass. Normal electromagnetic events would then conserve the magnetic field by an electric current in the planet's core as God transformed the water to other materials. After 6,000 years of decay, these magnetic fields would decrease in intensity. For example, the strength of earth's magnetic field would have declined to what we observe today, considering energy losses from magnetic reversals during the Genesis Flood.
Dr. Humphreys extended his theory to the other planets of the solar system, the sun, and the moon a few years ago. The theory explains the observed magnetic field strengths of those bodies as well. It also correctly predicted the field strengths of Uranus and Neptune measured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, as well as magnetizations of surface rocks on Mars. Finally, the Messenger spacecraft mission to Mercury will be testing his fourth prediction from this year through 2011.1
In an upcoming paper submitted to the August 2008 International Conference on Creationism entitled "The Creation of Cosmic Magnetic Fields," Dr. Humphreys improves his theory once again and applies it to updated solar system data, meteorites, and the larger moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Then in a brief survey, he applies it beyond our solar system to ordinary stars, magnetic stars, white dwarf stars, pulsars, "magnetars," galaxies, and the cosmos itself. The theory appears capable of explaining the magnetic fields of all heavenly bodies for which we have magnetic data. In contrast, the origin of cosmic magnetic fields is still a great mystery to uniformitarian theorists.
1. Please see Dr. Humphreys' article "Magnetic Message from Mercury," published February 5, 2008, on the Creation Ministries International website, www.creationontheweb.com.
* Dr. Vardiman is Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of Research.
Cite this article: Vardiman, L. 2008. Cosmic Magnetic Fields. Acts & Facts. 37 (4): 6.