Science: No Magnetic Field?

The sun is generally supposed to have a magnetic field more powerful than that of the earth. The scientific reasoning: the lines in the sun's spectrum seem to show the "Zeeman effect," splitting in two like the lines in a laboratory light source affected by magnetism. But Dr. Martin A. Pomerantz of the Bartol Foundation had long doubted the sun's magnetic field. Last summer he set out to disprove the theory by the apparently far-fetched method of catching cosmic rays with sounding balloons near the earth's north magnetic pole.

When a cosmic ray (an electrically charged particle from outer space) approaches the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!