The magnetic north pole has casually wandered 685 miles across northern canada, but right now its racing 25 miles a year to the northwest. This could be a sign that were about to experience something humans have never witnessed before a magnetic polar flip. When this happens, it could affect much more than just your compass right now. On the surface of the planet um, it looks like its just a bar magnet right. Our compasses are just are just you know, pointing toward one pole at a time because theres, a dominant two pole, dipole system, but sometimes earth doesnt, always just have a single magnetic north and south pole. Evidence suggests that, for hundreds to thousands of years at a time, our planet has had four six and even eight poles at a time. This is what has happened when the magnetic poles flipped in the past, and when it happens again, it wont be good news for humans. Now you might think that eight poles must be better than two, but the reality is that multiple magnetic fields would fight each other. This could weaken earths protective magnetic field by up to 90 percent during a polar flip earths. Magnetic field is what shields us from harmful space radiation, which can damage cells, cause cancer and fry electronic circuits and electrical grids with a weaker field in place. Some scientists think this could expose planes to higher levels of radiation, making flights less safe. This could also disrupt the internal compass in many animals which use the magnetic field for navigation even more extreme.

It could make certain places on the planet too dangerous to live, but what exactly will take place on the surface is less clear than what will undoubtedly happen in space satellites and crude space missions will need extra shielding that well have to provide ourselves without it. Intense cosmic and solar radiation will fry circuit boards and increase the risk of cancer in astronauts. Our modern way of life cease to exist. We know this because were already seeing a glimpse of this in an area called the south atlantic anomaly turns out the direction of a portion of the magnetic field. Deep beneath this area has already flipped scientists, say thats. One reason why the field has been steadily weakening since 1840.. The hubble space telescope and other satellites often shut down their sensitive electronics as they pass over the area and astronauts on the international space station report. Seeing a higher number of bright flashes of light in their vision thought to be caused by high energy cosmic rays that the weaker field cant hold back since experts started measuring the anomaly a few decades ago, it has grown in size and now covers a fifth of Earths surface, with no signs of shrinking anytime soon. This is so extreme that it could be a sign where on the brink of a polar flip – or we may already be in the midst of one, but scientists remain skeptical, mainly because the last thing the post reversed was 780 000 years ago.

So its not. We dont have an oil record turns out. 780 000 years is over double the time that earth usually takes between flips. Since the last mass extinction there have been uh, there have been reversals roughly every 300 000 years. So what gives well scientists havent figured it out. Yet its unnerving to think that our modern way of life, banking, the stock exchange missile tracking gps, relies on the outcome of something we can neither predict nor control. One study went so far as to estimate that a single giant solar storm today could cost the u.s up to 41.5 billion dollars a day in damages and thats what the earths magnetic field at its current strength, its frightening to even imagine the devastation a storm would Bring to an earth with a magnetic field, only 10 percent, as strong as it is now. We may not be able to stop a polar flip, but we can at least start to take measures to minimize the damage. The first step figure out whats, going on with this wacky field on the hunt, are the european space agencys swarm satellites that are currently collecting the most precise data on the strength of earths magnetic field right now they could be our greatest hope for solving this riddle.