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1971, Phys. Earth Planet. Interiors 4, 229—232.

North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam

THE RELATION OF ANGULAR MOMENTUM AND MAGNETIC FIELDS:
SCHUSTER’S HYPOTHESIS REVISITED

JAMES W. WARWICK
University of Colorado, Boulder, Cob. 80302, U.S.A.

Almost 80 years ago, Arthur Schuster (SCHUSTER, ratio of angular momentum and dipole moment of the
191 2)* suggested that every large rotating mass might be Earth to that of Jupiter. By “correct” I mean the value
a magnet. He was puzzled by the origin of the Earth’s I have spent about ten years trying to establish from
magnetism and had excluded the possibility that the interpretations of Jupiter’s radio emissions, which
Earth was a permanent magnet or carried simple cur- provide the only observational basis.
rent loops in its interior. His argument against current In fact, I had heard of Schuster’s hypothesis many
loops was based on the rapid rate of decay of their years before when I selected my doctoral thesis topic.
magnetic intensity on geological time scales. The same At that time, H. W. Babcock had just discovered the
case, of course, could be made today and is the princi- magnetic field of 78 Virginis. But I was concerned about
pal argument in support of the self-exited dynamo the strange abundances of rare earths in Ap stars, not
theory of the Earth’s field. This difficult theory now the origins of their magnetic fields.
holds the attention of all researchers on the origin and Babcock’s discovery was indirectly made possible
properties of astronomical magnetism. Parenthetically through Schuster’s hypothesis, which led George
I may comment that one can only hope that this at- Ellery Hale to construct the great 100 inch telescope
tention is merited. Dynamo theory has not yet success- on Mt. Wilson. HALE (1915) said: “It is not improbable,
fully predicted any cosmical fields. Its use today rests as Schuster has suggested, that every star, and perhaps
on the assumption that no alternative theory corre- every rotating body of whatever nature, becomes a
sponds more closely to observations, magnet through the fact of its rotation. It is hoped that
It has long since ceased to be fashionable to carry the 100 inchreflector will enable this test for magnetism
out science as hypothetically as Schuster did. Never- to be applied to certain stars.”
theless, the very recent observational development of Babcock’s discovery stimulated Blackett to review
solar system magnetism, and to a lesser extent of other Schuster’s work. But Blackett had only three objects
astronomical objects, permits a far richer substantia- on which to confirm the hypothesis. These were the
tion of Schuster’s hypothesis than was possible for him. Earth, the Sun, and the star 78 Virginis. Blackett used
My concern with it began only in June, 1969. I had THIESSEN’S (1946) value of the Sun’s polar magnetic
been asked to prepare a monograph on particles and field strength, 53 G, a value that today is considered
fields connected with the planet Jupiter. During this one or two orders of magnitude too large. He initially
task I discovered a two-line derivation of the strength assumed that the Sun’s moment of inertia corresponds
of Jupiter’s magnetic dipole moment, by MoRoz to a uniformly dense sphere of radius equal to the ob-
(1967). Without an explicit reference to BLACKETT’S served solar radius. Combined with the observed
(1947) prior and identical treatment, Moroz derives a surface angular velocity, this value leads to almost one
value of Jupiter’s magnetic dipole within 10% of what order of magnitude too large an angular momentum.
I will term the “correct” value, merely by equating the In all honesty I have to admit that the distribution of
* Schuster refers to a lecture he gave at the Royal Institution in angular momentum through the Sun is in fact unknown.
1891 as the first statement of the hypothesis. Nevertheless, the ratio of L/M for the Earth and the

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230 JAMES W. WARWICK

Sun are today by most astronomers considered to be Jupiter’s radio emission, are convincing, we today have
about what Blackett assumed, even though he used an actual field measurements by magnetometers transport-
obviously excessive value of the polar field strength. ed to the vicinity of the Moon, Venus and Mars. The
Blackett further pointed out that the ratio of angular first Mariner fly-bys of Venus and Mars failed to detect
momentum to dipole moment for the spinning electron planetary magnetic fields. These provide upper limits
is much too small to fit Schuster’s hypothesis. The non- of the dipole moments consistent with Schuster’s
dimensional ratio G+m/e = 4.9 x 10—22; this is the hypothesis. For Mars, only the first American fly-by
ratio of the electron’s gravitional mass to its charge in (Mariner 4) carried a magnetometer. As fundamental
electrostatic units. He noted that this is also the ratio a quantity as the magnetic field should be measured by
of the two Schuster constants, for massive astronomical all vehicles passing close to the surface of planets.
objects and for the spinning electron. The measurements of the Moon’s magnetic field are
Blackett’s advocacy of Schuster’s hypothesis was more complete because more vehicles have gone there.
criticized by Babcock on the basis of his observations The Russian lunar impacter Luna 2 carried a magneto-
of variable stellar magnetic fields: “The discovery that meter from which it appears that the Moon’s surface
the magnetic field ~ HD 125248 not only varies but magnetic field is less than 20 to 30 ~ (DOLGINOV et al.,
reverses its polarity in a regular cycle with a period of 1961). The American orbiter Lunar Explorer 35 has
about nine days~’~ has raised serious doubts concerning been the basis for a more sensitive upper limit to the
the suggested fundamental nature of the empirical lunar field, namely only a few gammas (NESS, 1969).
proportionality between magnetic moment and angular However, the last manned vehicle on the surface of the
momentum” (BABCOCK, 1948). Babcock believed that Moon (Apollo 12) carried a magnetometer which
magnetic stars whose polarity reversed were magnetic measured a field of 35 y (DYAL, 1970). This field, if it is
oscillators (SCHWARZSCHILD, 1949) and not rotating poloidal on the scale of the entire Moon, is consistent
stars. He also had found a number of magnetic stars with Schuster’s hypothesis. But in that case it is in-
with irregular variations. These served to strengthen consistent with the lunar orbiter upper limit, 1—4 ?.
further the argument against Schuster. The various unmanned lunar landers have not trans-
There are two comments supportive of Blackett that ported magnetometers to the surface of the Moon.
should now be made. The first follows Blackett’s Clearly they would have been of extraordinary value.
remark on the effects of convective motions that modify These two field measurements near the Moon imply
a dipole field and produce complex observed fields. that the magnetic field measured by Apollo 12 is strictly
Although this point of view would have been remote in local, within a few hundred km of the Apollo 12 land-
Schuster’s day, now we can consider the hypothesis ing site. This interpretation is the best one in the sense
only in combination with the laws of hydromagnetics. that it accepts the deductions from observations by
Even in the short interval since Blackett’s paper, that both Explorer 35 and Apollo 12.
consideration has strengthened enormously. The second However, the interactions of the Moon with either
point concerns the polarization reversals in magnetic the solar wind or with the geomagnetic tail are not well
stars. It is abundantly clear that magnetic stars are understood theoretically. The variable spatial and tem-
above all else rotators, rather than oscillators in the poral response to the Moon of the solar wind field and
Schwarzschild sense (see WOLFF, 1967). Their magnetic magnetospheric tail fields are involved. Twill not review
dipole axis and their rotational axis do not coincide, these.
And, as Blackett implies, this obliquity relates to the From the point of view just of Apollo 12, on the other
general problem of hydromagnetic convection, rather hand, it seems that only an extraordinary field could
than to the failure of Schuster’s hypothesis. manifest itself in no other outstanding selenological
Blackett in 1947 had already suggested, exactly as features, such as surface composition or topography or
Moroz has done, a magnetic dipole moment for the gravitational pecularities of the landing site. In any case,
planet Jupiter scarcely different from the value I have the riddle of this Apollo 12 magnetometer measure-
inferred observationally within the last ten years. ment can be resolved in lunar landings that carry
Whether or not this inference, or the interpretation of magnetometers to other points on the surface of the
RELATION OF ANGULAR MOMENTUM AND MAGNETIC FIELDS 231

TABLE 1 -

Angular momentum L and magnetic dipole M for various objects
3) L/M Source for M
Object L (erg) M (G . cm
Moon 1.5 x1036 <6x102’ >2.5 x1014 DOLGINOV eta!. (1961)
Mars 1.5 x iO~ <8 x 1023 >2 x 10” Mariner 4 (no magnetopause at
13000 km; B>30 ~‘)
Venus >8x1023 >4x1014 Mariner 5 (no magnetopause,
10000 km; B>80 7)
Earth L~=6x104° 8x102’ 7xl014
Jupiter 4x10’5 4x103° 1 x101’ WARWICK (1963), 10 G polar field
Sun L® = 1.7x1048 M 32 5x10’~ 1 Gpolarfield
Ap star 102L 0 = 3.5x10 3M
0 72 5 x 10
1060 0 4x1012
I x 1014 Surface field = 2000 G
Milky
Pulsar Way
prediction: Surface4x10
field = 1013g
~) Lg,~,zy 1010(stars) x2 x 1033(g) x 1044(cm2) >< 6.28
= x ~ x 10 15(s) = 4 x l0~~
erg
Mgata,y= 106(G)x 1066(cm’) 1060 G ‘cm3.
=

Moon. This must be an urgent experimental require- Schuster’s hypothesis, although it should be emphasiz-
ment for the next missions. ed that these fields are by no means measured, or non-
The Moon is an important magnetic object in still controversial and free of interpretational bias. Pro-
another sense. Unlike the larger planets or the stars, phetically, Blackett’s paper discusses magnetic fields of
the Moon is possibly or even probably solid to its core. the order ofmagnitude of 1 MG in white dwarfs. These
Hydromagnetic theory, however relevant to larger now appear to be eminently reasonable and essentially
objects in the universe, may be irrelevant to lunar confirmed in terms of present views on pulsars.
magnetic fields. Even this point could be debated, of I summarize these results in table 1. For each object,
course. Nevertheless, it may be that the moon is as the table presents an angular momentum, a magnetic
large a thoroughly solid object as we have to deal with dipole moment and a reference or rationalization of the
in astronomy, the largest value of angular momentum adopted numbers, In the case of the Moon, I have used
to which hydromagnetic theory is irrelevant. If so, the the upper limit field established by Luna 2 rather than
moon provides the arena for a critical test of Schuster’s the Explorer 35 values. I derived this table in its origi-
hypothesis. The Apollo 12 field strength, taken by it- nal form in July 1969, well before Apollo 12 measured
self, confirms it for the Moon. Explorer 35 disproves it. the lunar field. I therefore let the table stand as it was
It appears to be too important a question than should rather than insert the Apollo 12 measurements as if
be answered by the complex and, if! may gauge from they were a poloidal field typical of the Moon at large.
the discussion between Ness and Sonnet at this sym- The Sun presents a more difficult problem since its
posium, even controversial Explorer 35 data interpre- surface field is the convolution of the poloidal field,
tation. tangled by hydromagnetic convection. Should we adopt
In the most recent decade, magnetic fields in the the field of perhaps 100 G typical of the calcium net-
Milky Way also have been measured, by radio astro- work (HOWARD, 1967) or should we adopt the broader
nomical techniques. It is possible to estimate the angu- scale polar field, perhaps 1 G, measured by the classic
lar momentum of the galaxy and compare it with these Babcock experiments (BABCOCK and BABCOCK, 1955)?
interstellar magnetic fields. Hydromagnetic convection Until the deconvolution of the convective process is
surely plays a critically important role in determining meaningful theoretically, this sort of exercise will be
the observed galactic field topology and strength. difficult to say the least. On the other hand, if we seek
Nevertheless the galaxy confirms the hypothesis sur- (as Blackett did) only order-of-magnitude agreement
prisingly well. with Schuster’s hypothesis, then it is obvious that the
Finally, one dares to suggest that the pulsar magnetic Sun agrees. The table adopts a nominal polar field
fields proposed by Gold and others are consistent with strength of 1 G.
232 JAMES W. WARWICK

In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that Schuster’s BLACKETr, P. M. S. (1947), Nature 159, 658—666.
BLACKETF, P. M. 5. (1952), Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London A 245
hypothesis apparently is satisfied to within three (897), 309—370.
decimal orders of magnitude for objects whose mag- DOLGINOV, SH. SH., YE. G. YEROSCHENKO, L. N. ZHUZGOV and
netic dipoles extend over about 39 decimal orders of N. V. PUSHKOV (1961), Geomagnetizm i Aeronomiya 1, 21—25.
DYAL, P. (1970), reported in “The citizen”, Sci. Am., January,
magnitude. This should provide a challenge to astro- ~,. 49, 50.
physical theory on the origins of magnetism in rotating HALE, G. E. (1915), Ten years’ work of a mountain observatory,
bodies. Whether the challenge points toward the foun- Carnegie Inst. Wash. PubI. (Gibson, Washington, D. C.).
HOWARD, R. (1967), Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 5, 1—24.
dations of physics or toward the more specific self- MoRoz, V. I. (1967), Fizika planet (Moscow); English Transl.:
excited dynamo theory seems unclear as of now. The Physics of planets (NASA Tech. Transl. F-51 5, 1968).
Moon appears to be the most promising place to NEss, N. F. (1969), Lunar Explorer 35. In: K. S. W. Champion,
P. A. Smith and R. L. Smith-Rose, eds., Space research 9
straighten this point out. (North-Holland, Amsterdam) 678—703.
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SCHWARZSCHILD, M. (1949), Ann. Astrophys. 12, 148—160.
BABCOCK, H. W. (1948), Astrophys. J. 108, 191—200. THIESSEN, G. (1946), Ann. Astrophys. 9, 101—119.
BABCOCK, H. W. and H. D. BABCOCK (1955), Astrophys. J. 121, WARWICK, J. W. (1963), Astrophys. J. 137, 41—60.
349—366. WOLFF, S. C. (1967), Astrophys. J. Suppl. 15 (134), 21—59.