Stories tagged magnetic field

Aug
27
2008

Cow pointing north: Maybe THIS is why you always see animals on weather vanes
Cow pointing north: Maybe THIS is why you always see animals on weather vanesCourtesy Leo Reynolds
Researchers in Germany used Google Earth to examine hundreds of aerial images of cattle herds at rest and found that 2 out of 3 cows tended to align their bodies north-south. It seems that no one has really ever noticed this before, which is a little shocking. On the other hand it's nice to know that science still has some basic observations left to be made.

At first I was a bit skeptical. As a kid I'd heard that you could tell if it was going to rain depending on whether cows were laying down or not, which is a silly tale for sure...so maybe this was a similar situation? How would cows sense the Earth's magnetic field anyways? Actually, lots of animals can sense the earth's magnetic field:

Most of this research is still under-way and new discoveries may give us different explanations about how animals sense the Earth's magnetic field. Yet, it is certain that all varieties of creatures, cows included, seem to be able to sense the Earth's weak yet significant magnetic field.

What about you? Can you feel North?

The Earth’s magnetic field seems to be weakening in some places. This can allow high-energy particles from space to enter the atmosphere, where they can wreak havoc on electronic communications. It may also be a prelude to a flip in the Earth’s polarity, with the north and south magnetic poles switching places. Santa Claus may have to move as a result.