|Ice Skaters on Pigeon Lake, Bobcaygeon.|
Photo credit: Fred Thornhill,Reuters, through
National Geographic, with gratitude.
|Jackie Godard snapped this at Lake of Bays|
We all know that the moon affects our tides – in fact, if you have the right instruments, you can actually measure the tide in a cup of coffee – but as with most things, it goes both ways.
Earth's magnetic field creates a protective bubble known as the magnetosphere, which surrounds the planet and shields us from solar wind—a rush of charged particles, or plasma, constantly streaming from the sun. Without this, we’d all be in serious trouble.
As the solar wind pushes on Earth's magnetic bubble, the planet's magnetosphere stretches, forming what's called the magnetotail. This brings us phenomena like Northern Lights. But it does a lot more – it reaches beyond the orbit of the moon, and it's always pointed away from the sun. Meanwhile, we see a full moon when the lunar orb is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun—and therefore within the magnetotail.