I'll assume that compared to the size of the ISS, the geomagnetic field is uniform over a small region. In that case, could that magnetic field be measured inside the ISS? To illustrate the question:

uniform magnetic field around cylinder

If we consider a cross-section of a module on the ISS (a cylinder), what does the magnetic field look like inside?

It seems the wall is made of a layer of ceramic-fiber or kevlar mesh material between the exterior thin aluminum sheet (2mm) and the aluminum pressure hull (3mm). [ref1, ref2], so the surface is a conductor.


The answer is a clear yes (which you can see directly in measurements of the magnetic field taken inside the ISS).


Since Aluminium is not ferromagnetic this makes sense. It would still be interesting to understand the "shape" of the magnetic field inside the region outlined above.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It'll look extremely noisy. All that electric equipment generates its own magnetic field, but now with much stronger spatial variations. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 28 '17 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ The fields from all the stuff on the ISS can be huge compared to Earth's rather small field (~30,000 nT). Even spacecraft buses produce significant enough fields that they need to be removed when making magnetic field measurements in space plasmas. $\endgroup$ – honeste_vivere Nov 17 '17 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @honeste_vivere, Why would it be different from the interference from electronics / electrical appliances in a normal home vs. the small magnetic field of the Earth? The data I linked above (measured inside the ISS) shows a pretty clean curve without "huge" disruptions. $\endgroup$ – Massagran Nov 25 '17 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I am sure they can measure it I am just saying that the induced fields from geomagnetic storms etc. are quite small compared to the fields generated by the station and instruments on board. $\endgroup$ – honeste_vivere Nov 26 '17 at 15:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.