1
$\begingroup$

Shouldn't the earth have an over all small positive net charge? Cosmic rays in the form of light or high energy particles can ionize atoms, when that happens the electron and the positive ion recoils and the electron gets a whole lot more velocity than the positive ion. Meaning the electron had an easier time escaping earth, and the ones that don't will have a lower average density because of higher orbits, of this causes earth to have an over all positive charge, then the electric field grows until this effect is balanced with the electric fields potential, so that the charges are as easily ejected in the form of ions and the form of electrons. Wouldn't this mean that depending on the background ionizing radiation the earth will have a certain equilibrium positive charge?

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

There are other effects at play. In particular, solar wind provides protons and electrons which can be attracted by bodies with a charge. If the earth were to develop a negative charge, more protons would be attracted to it than electrons, and the charges would neutralize.

In theory there is some equilibrium balance that is not quite perfect. This SE question suggests that the whole of the Earth and atmosphere actually has a very tiny negative charge, on the order of -1C (which is a really small charge, given how big the Earth is)

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I’m quite sure the earth doesn’t have an over all negative charge, i don’t really take peoples opinions or hear say to seriously, it would be nice with some sort of measurement to reference. The charge neutrality principle is a bit too weak to answer this question. If the sure the universe should be neutral on avrage, but the earth is a system that can be effected by many things and if the atmosphere/crust is negative there is still no reason that the over all charge of earth is either or, although i don't see how it can be negatively charged as a whole. Please give me an answer if you know it $\endgroup$ – Jorgen2108 Dec 19 '19 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Jorgen2108 If you follow the links, you can read for yourself and work through the math yourself. The complication that article focused on was the Van Allen belts, which might be of interest to you. If not, it offers a page of references to explore $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Dec 19 '19 at 20:42

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.