Volume 4 Issue 5

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Page 30 | Abby's Magazine - Named for German mathema cian Carl Frederich Gauss, the gauss is a unit of magne c field measurement. O en abbreviated as G when referred to in official publica ons and in scien fic formulas, one gauss is understood to equate to one Maxwell per square cen meter. The essen al idea behind this measurement is to be able to quan fy the amount of magne c flux density within a magne c field. Along with being an excellent mathema cian, Gauss was also renowned as a top German physicist. While inves ga ng the phenomenon of the crea on and manipula on of magne c energy, Gauss developed his formula for the measurement of changes within a magne c field, including the iden fica on of a base unit that would help to iden fy the degree of flux present at a given me and under specific condi ons. As is true with many scien fic discoveries, his name came to be the common name for that iden fying unit. A gaussmeter, also known as a magnetometer, is a device used to measure the strength and direc on of a magne c field. Small, hand-held versions are available and the user can carry it with him to monitor magne c fields as he walks. The device may also be referred to as an electromagne c field detector, or EMF detector for short. The device has several scien fic uses and is popular among paranormal researchers. Two types of gaussmeters exist: scalar and vector. The scalar gaussmeter measures the strength of the magne c field present in the area around the device. The vector gaussmeter measures the direc on of the magne c field depending on where the device is and which direc on it's poin ng. A gaussmeter may combine both of these technologies. Using a gaussmeter is a fairly simple process. The screen provides a reading of how strong the magne c field is and may indicate the direc on it's coming from. If the person holding it walks closer to the magne c source the reading will rise; it will lower if the person walks away from the source. Mul ple sources can create conflic ng readings, however, and may require more advanced technology to determine where the sources are coming from. Changes in the magne c field depend on where the user is and the strength of the Earth's magnetosphere in that par cular area. The sun interacts with areas of the magnetosphere differently and the strength of the signal can fluctuate with the sun's ac vity. Certain natural materials, such as specific rocks or rock forma ons, may also interfere with the gaussmeter's reading. Today, gaussmeters serve a number of uses. They are a valuable tool in space explora on for learning more about the magne sm of foreign planets and other bodies in space. Here on Earth, they can detect certain landscape forma ons and for this reason are used in geophysics to get an idea of how the land is laid out. Certain magnetometers can also detect hidden items such as shipwrecks and are at work in metal detectors used both by beachcombers hun ng for lost items in the sand and by security teams to detect guns or other weapons. The magnetometers are gaining popularity in cell phones as well. A phone u lizing this technology can point out direc ons to the user much like a compass does. It also may be used to let the user interact with the phone without actually touching it. Though s ll in the beginning stages of development, a magnet can be used to interact with the magnetometer in the phone. The magnetometer can pick up informa on about how the user is turning or moving her hand and then the phone responds to these movements. By Jessica Reed, Edited by Heather Bailey What is a Gaussmeter? What is Gauss? By Malcolm Tatum Edited by Bronwyn Harris What is Gauss? It is important to make the dis nc on that a gauss relates only to the rate of flux within the magne c density of a field. A separate unit of measurement, known as the oersted, is employed when the intensity of the magne c field is the subject under considera on. While similar in nature, each unit helps to provide different informa on about the func on and form of the field under considera on. The gauss can be u lized in the measurement of the flux density of just about any material that is understood to possess a magne c field. For example, a magnet made from iron and of a size that would fit into a hand would probably have a unit measurement of 100 gauss. In comparison, a large industrial size electromagnet would most likely account for a measurement of roughly 15,000 gauss. The method for determining the measurement is considered to be so accurate that physicists can even use the gauss to calculate a measurement for various stars, based on informa on about the magne c field related to the star.

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