Magnetic field

The magnetic field of a planet is generated by electric currents flowing in a molten metal core as a planet rotates. Because Mercury rotates slowly (59 times more slowly than Earth), it was not expected to have a magnetic field. However, Mariner 10 found that Mercury does have a weak magnetic field, about 1 per cent of that of Earth.

The magnetic poles coincide with Mercury's rotational poles.

Figure 4.8 Mercury has a weak magnetic field.

In 2011 the Messenger space probe will go into orbit around Mercury and part of its mission is to map Mercury's magnetic field.

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